What 100 “Soul Cycle” Rides Really Feels Like

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I completed my 100th ride at Revolution Studio. And what may seem like a “balloons and confetti” accomplishment to some was in reality a very difficult journey. Over the course of the last seven months, many of my friends questioned why I shell out $185 every month to WORK OUT. Yes, it’s a lot of money, especially for someone like me, who doesn’t MAKE that much money. But I decided back in January that I would put my health and fitness first this year, and a monetary commitment was part of the process for me.

While I’m extremely proud of the milestone (literally), the power I found in the saddle is a power I’ll carry with me in everything I do. Almost every morning, I didn’t want to get out of bed, drive to the studio, and voluntarily sweat my butt off. Especially in the first few weeks, physical obstacles could have been a great excuse to stay under the covers. My butt hurt — a kind of hurt I imagine only happens to horseback riders and cyclists — the kind that aches in your bones and goes beyond muscle fatigue. My arms were sore from the targeted exercises and even bad form in the beginning.

Then, after the saddle soreness wore off, mental challenges took its place. The unique thing about spinning is that it exists to push your boundaries. Revolution instructors were not shy about that — they frequently reminded us we should be gassed after each song, and most times, I was dying. I had 100 opportunities to decrease the weight under my feet or bike a little slower than the pace, but I CHOSE not to quit, even when my body wanted to. The thing I love most about spinning classes is the environment that encourages growth — mentally, physically, and emotionally. Each workout, there were 20–60 other people in the same room, working as hard as me, while cheering me on. How could you not better yourself in that environment? That, to me, was worth a chunk of my paycheck.

Like I said, the power I found in the saddle is a power I’ll carry though everything I do. I discovered myself in that painfully small seat. Thousands of handlebar pushups and tricep presses calloused my hands. Some of my leggings will never be the same, both from sheer volume of sweat and the stench of countless workouts. Still, I discovered a strength I haven’t felt since competing in high level sports, and I missed that.

If you’re curious about the physical results of 100 rides, I lost more than 30 pounds and two jean sizes in half a year. It doesn’t look like a lot on my tall frame, but I was determined to do it correctly — with whole foods and occasional rewards, usually in the form of trying new restaurants. So many great things have happened in the last seven months — My roommate and I travelled across the country for our favorite band’s last concert, I booked the biggest adventure of my life so far, my business reached new milestones, I completed the Whole30, I made new friends and restored relationships with old ones, and the list goes on.

100 rides taught me that I can do whatever the heck I set my mind to and MORE. Bring on the next challenge.