Are Workout Classes Worth It?

By: Caitlin R. (’20)

You’ve probably heard of fitness fads like spinning classes, hot yoga, and other exercises made into classes in fun, artsy environments. People who go to these classes claim to be addicted and praise them to no end. And, while there’s probably some truth to these allegations of greatness, classes like SoulCycle and Bikram Yoga come with a high price tag. A 45 minute SoulCycle class is $32, while a 90 minute Bikram Yoga class is $25. Although these classes are definitely fun and beneficial, are they really anything more than normal fitness classes made to look trendy?

SoulCycle sells itself as, “a 45-minute indoor cycling class that features high-intensity cardio, muscle-sculpting strength training, and rhythm-based choreography. But it’s so much more than just a workout — it’s a powerful mind-body experience. We ride together as a pack in candlelit studios to the rhythm of one-of-a-kind playlists. We’re coached by magnetic instructors, who support us, coach us and push us to reach our personal bests. We sweat, reach, and recover, together.”

This is an enticing message, one that lures in the hundreds of people daily. I’ve talked to many different people who have tried SoulCycle and received some mixed messages. Some hated it, some thought it was okay, and some are hooked and go regularly. I fall somewhere before the last category; I’ve attended their classes three times now.

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SoulCycle class

I was skeptical at first, but I turned out to love my first experience at SoulCycle. Upon walking in, I was greeted by a cluster of twenty-something girls in stylish leggings, sports bras, and seemingly perfect headbands. I felt a little out of place, considering my friend and I were obviously they youngest ones there, but once the class started, I realized why people are so dedicated to Soulcycle. The 45 minute class consisted of a group of fifty or so people bunched up close together in a dark, hot room. The music was blasting, the instructor was yelling encouraging mantras, and everyone was sweating (a LOT). That might sound like torture to some, but in the moment I just wanted to pedal to the beat like everyone else. I left the room feeling exhausted, sweaty, but overall very accomplished. I understood how people could become addicted to this class, but sadly, you can only really become addicted if you’re willing to spend the money to do so.

I’ve never tried hot yoga personally, but I have some friends who’ve tried it. From what I can tell, they enjoyed it, but for a good workout it’s not really worth the price. Bikram Yoga claims “Hot Pilates com­bines car­dio and mus­cle ton­ing in a heated room. The high inten­sity inter­val train­ing keeps your heart rate up, help­ing you burn fat. The Pilates prin­ci­ples sculpt you body, cre­at­ing long lean mus­cle mass. The heat loosens up the mus­cles quickly, and the humid­ity makes you sweat — ele­vat­ing your heart rate, boost­ing metab­o­lism, and pro­mot­ing detoxification.” The room is heated to a whopping 95 degrees; I can see why hot yoga may be appealing to some, but I personally feel that I could get just as good of a workout in a normal temperature room.

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In conclusion, while SoulCycle, hot yoga, and other trendy workouts may be fun, rewarding, and motivating, it’s probably best to stick to working out normally (in our amazing Crystal gym!) and try these places every once in a while for fun.

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