By Richard Coca
I know what you might be thinking: Why are ‘SoulCycle’ and ‘frat parties’ in the same sentence? Prior to my first SoulCycle experience, I too would have asked the same sentence. In fact, I probably would have laughed at the idea of myself going to the popular indoor cycling class. This all changed when Grind editor Jackie O’Neil ’21 invited me to a SoulCycle class. It was after that 45-minute session that I realized that SoulCycle and frat parties have a lot more in common than you’d expect.
Both SoulCycle and frat parties are dark, hot and sweaty.
According to the official SoulCycle website, their classes are more than a workout; they’re an experience. Once you walk into one of their locations, the center of this experience occurs “in a dim, candlelit studio.” What they don’t tell you on the website is that it’s also very hot and sweaty in there. You would also think there would be better air circulation, but if there were windows in the studio, I am more than confident that they would also fog up — just as they do in any fraternity.
There are way too many unnecessary remixes.
The reason why SoulCycle sells itself as an experience is that during the workout, you are supposed to “surrender to the beat of the music and get lost in the energy of every other rider.” I am a big proponent of listening to music while working out. However, the music itself may not be to everyone’s taste. As soon as you hear what you think is one of your favorite songs, you’ll begin to become disappointed to the tune of a poorly-remixed track. The peak of my SoulCycle experience was when Fergalicious started playing and no one knew the lyrics when prompted by the instructor. To be fair, at least at frat parties, at least some dancers will sing along with you.
The restrooms are interesting, to say the least.
Between the location entrance and the studio lies a locker room with restrooms. You can’t take pictures in there, or else I would have visual evidence for you. In any case, the restrooms in fraternities are also interesting. There’s never toilet paper and the sink might be acting up, but at least can you take pictures in there. That is, you can take selfies if you do it quickly enough — you don’t want to make all seven thousand people in line wait too long.
People are yelling at you.
If you make people wait in line too long, you might be yelled at in a frat party. If you can’t keep up with the instructor, you’ll definitely be yelled at in SoulCycle. You must keep up unless you’re willing to risk being singled out and shouted at with motivational wisdom.
You can hurt yourself.
Being a first-timer, I didn’t know how to latch my shoes to the cycle and thus committed many no-no’s in attempting to figure it out. Also, if you push yourself too hard with not enough resistance, it’s quite easy to hurt yourself on the bike, fall off and get hurt. In this sense, this experience is quite similar to frat parties, where you can get hurt if you fall off a tabletop or trip on the curb on the way there.
You leave feeling different but in a similar type of way.
Until you personally experience these two types of workouts, you won’t really understand this point. Your soul enters one way and leaves feeling another type of way. Either way, they’re both decent ways to burn off a few calories.
Contact Richard Coca at richcoca ‘at’ stanford.edu.