Indoor cycling has long been the sport of choice for cardio fanatics. In the summer, riders can easily head outside but when the weather is less than ideal (which is a majority of the time) an indoor cycling class fits the bill!
With the opening of SoulCycle in Bellevue this month (we tried it for Workout Week), exercisers have even more choices from Flywheel to Community Fitness and other gym classes for all their indoor cycling desires.
Representing Seattle Refined, I recently took Flywheel and SoulCycle classes head to head to see which studio provides a more booty shaking workout. I sweated, I rode and I came to some exhausted conclusions.
My first stop was at Flywheel in South Lake Union. I used ClassPass to sign up and my shoes were waiting right at the front door when I arrived. A very nice Flywheel staff person helped set up my bike which was smartly located in the front of the room. The bikes are arranged stadium style around the instructor which means there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Once the class was settled and towels acquired, my instructor got down to business and turned down the lights in the room.
The 45-minute long class started out fast and strong. The instructor, Abbey, brought great energy to the room even as she was pushing us to go faster and harder. Riders around me started breathing heavily as we were directed to push our RPMs up past 105. A various points in the class, Abbey would flash a stats board on the screens above her head and encourage riders to compete against each other. As a competitive rider, I loved seeing the stats as a starting to catch a cold rider, I loved the dark room which allowed me to modify without being self conscious.
Sweat was literally pouring down my body and I was feeling booty-shaking by the end of the 45 minute session. I especially enjoyed the arm weights that were used for the last song of the class. Indoor cycling classes can sometimes leave me feeling lopsided so the addition of the arm weights made me happy.
I asked Flywheel what makes them so awesome and Marnie Oshan, Northwest Marketing Manager was happy to answer my question.
“Flywheel’s 45 (or 60) minute, high-energy classes include intervals, climbs and descents to deliver a full-body workout, targeting glutes, quads, hamstrings and of course, the heart, giving the rider an intense cardio and fat burning workout.” she said. “ In addition to the physical benefits, each unique class offers a mental release. Taught in a dimly-lit studio, each rider feels comfortable while they ride allowing them to mentally escape and feel transported, challenged, inspired and ultimately elated!”
I know I felt elated when I left class and was ready to tackle the day. I also liked that my ride data was available to me. I love data and seeing improvement so this was right up my alley.
My next stop was to SoulCycle in their newly opened Bellevue location. The studio was a beacon of light on a cold, rainy January morning. Once the doors opened, I could feel the good energy vibes pulsating throughout the studio. For your first ride, shoes are provided for free but are $3 a ride after.
The studio was packed with riders and the studio manager helped me arrange my bike. I chatted with my bike neighbor who admitted to having already been to the new studio a few times already.
Jenna our instructor quickly got us pedaling and the music was pumping. Like Flywheel, the music was a bit loud for my taste and the instructor a wee bit hard to hear. I pedaled through though. In SoulCycle, the idea is for the entire class to choreograph their moves together so we were encouraged to ride as one.
The studio was bathed in candlelight which made for a delightful glow. It also meant that when I decided to stay on my bike seat while everyone else was out of the saddle, my modifications couldn’t be seen. Jenna guided us through the ride with inspirational words while also encouraging us to push past our mind’s limitations. I was fascinated with her amazingly long hair in addition to her energy throughout the ride. Halfway through class, I was trying to remember if SoulCycle classes are 45 minutes or 60 minutes. I began praying they were only 45 minutes as I was sweating profusely.
We rode on and for the last portion of the class were guided through arm movements using hand weights that were under our bike seats. I had two-pound weights but there were options for one, three and five pounds. Class ended with stretching and inspirational words from our instructor. I left the class feeling physically depleted but mentally ready to conquer my day.
I asked SoulCycle about what made them different from other indoor cycling studios and had to whole heartily agree with their words.
“SoulCycle doesn’t just change bodies, it changes lives,” said Gabby Etrog Cohen, SVP of Brand Strategy and PR. “Riders have shared stories about how SoulCycle helped them overcome personal tragedies, difficult relationships, illness, and so much more. The combination of the physical with the mental and spiritual gives riders a deeper strength that pushes them to reach their goals.”
I left the class on cloud 9 and as I drove back to Seattle, I could feel my body humming. SoulCycle doesn’t provide data on your rides and you don’t know what your bike’s Torq is set for. While I love data, there was something liberating about just riding and getting caught up in the energy of the room.
In the end, I can’t honestly say which studio has a more booty-shaking workout. I felt pretty booty-shaken at the end of both classes. Each studio has their own advantages and disadvantages.
For those who are looking for a more soulful vibe, I’d highly recommend SoulCycle. If you are someone who loves data, then Flywheel is the place for you.
Either way, you are going to get an amazing workout at either studio. I know I’ll be back to both for many more rides.
- Locations: 224 Westlake Ave N #100, Seattle, WA 98109 and 1032 106th Ave NE #124, Bellevue, WA 98004
- Amenities: Complimentary Towels and Indoor Cycling Shoes along with complimentary toiletries in the showers.
- Studio Vibe: The clean and spacious waiting area made for a great entry. The efficient check-in process was quick which left me ready to ride. There were clean locker rooms with showers along with lockers that lock using a personal number code.
- Cost: First class is $15. Then: One ride: $28, 10 rides: $250
- Class Session: 45 minutes or 60 minutes
- Bikes: Each attached to an individual computer showing Torq, RPM, Power, and “Score.” Weight bars/wands included on the bike (four-pound and two-pound).
- Location: 10470 NE 4th St, Bellevue, WA 98004
- Amenities: Full stocked showers and locker room.
- Studio Vibe: Efficient check-in but a tight waiting area. Lockers lock using a personal number code. Showers are fully stocked and the shoes were a perfect fit.
- Cost: First Ride is $20. Single Class is $28, 10 classes: $260; Shoes $3
- Class Session: 45 minutes (Soul Survivor: 60 minutes)
- Bikes: Nicer fit when compared to Flywheel or other cycling bikes; no data; hand weights on the back (options for one, two, three and five pounds)