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Target hosted a pop-up shop along with a complimentary SoulCycle experience in the iconic Foster White Gallery to energize the start of 2016 for all Seattleites. (Image: SoulCycle)

Finding My Soul with SoulCycle

This past weekend, Target gave Seattleites access to three days of SoulCycle classes at the Foster White Gallery for free and it was amazing. I was lucky enough to get an early invite to the event and at first, I was a bit hesitant. I questioned if I was in shape enough (or even hip enough) to subject myself to something called SoulCycle. I decided that even if I wasn't in SoulCycle shape, I needed to check out that hot new workout.

I signed up for the first class of the day on Saturday morning and headed downtown early to check out the scene. I was honestly a bit nervous as I haven't been on any kind of a bike in a very long time. Once upon a time, I rode my bike from Seattle to Portland (STP) but it has been a few years since my feet were clipped into any sort of bike (road, mountain or spin).

The SoulCycle website explains the workout as "indoor cycling re-invented." It is 45 minutes of intensive cycling combined with hand weights and core work for a full-body experience. The music is pumping and has a great beat to keep your legs pedaling.

The candlelit room filled with bright, yellow bikes and chipper staff lured me into a false sense of security. I was quickly asked which bike I was assigned too and sighed a breath of relief that I had snagged one in the back row instead of right in the front, like I had originally been assigned. Rosie helped me get my bike adjusted to just the right height and filled me in on the SoulCycle program. There are three main handle bar positions which the instructor calls out along with hand weights located beneath the bike seat. I may have underestimated the amount of pain that the 2 pounds weights could impart.

I had some extra time before my class so I checked out the Pop-Up Shop by Target filled with some pretty snazzy workout gear. I always feel like I've found this super awesome deal when I get workout clothing from Target. In fact, most of my workout wardrobe is made up of clothing from Target. It's long wearing and a great price.

I chatted with some friends and then we headed into the bike area for our workout. We gave each other some hesitant smiles and clipped in. Our instructor, Lindy had come up from the San Francisco studio and was pumped with enthusiasm. In fact, I didn't know someone's legs could go as fast as hers did on the bike. She brought some great energy to the workout and had us high-fiving our neighbors throughout the session. I loved the community spirt of the intense workout.

There were a few moments where I wasn't sure if I was going to make it. I, however, did not fall off my bike, nor did I fling my hand weights at any of the other participants. Those were my greatest fears for the class. I loved the darkened room lit by candlelight as it allowed me to just focus on the workout and not on anyone else. OK, I may have been intently focused on the very pregnant lady within my line of sight at the beginning of class but even my thoughts of, "if she can do this, then I can do it" drifted away as I immersed myself in the session. The sweat pouring down my back and the roar of the room full of bikes was amazing. Halfway through the class, Lindy had us grab our hand weights and it got intense. The first few arm moves felt so easy and then the weights began to grow heavier and heavier until I felt like I was trying to bicep curl 50 pound weights while cycling. As the class came to a close, Lindy asked us to envision the finish line and to think about what was awaiting us at the end. She suggested that we think about our family members waiting at the finish with a sign but I, instead, preferred to think about donuts.

As I stumbled out of class, I wasn't sure that I wanted to do that ever again but I haven't been able to stop thinking about the workout all weekend. I've talked about SoulCycle to everyone and am now stalking their studio locations to plan workouts around future trips. My fingers are crossed that SoulCycle will set up shop soon in Seattle. We're a city of fitness lovers who need some SoulCycle in our lives.

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