I always enjoy my trips to Los Angeles; there's the weather and, as long as I'm not working, it gives me time to catch up with friends. But most importantly, I get a firsthand look at all the new and improved fitness trends. Maybe it's because people on the West Coast are healthier than East Coasters, or maybe it's just because the weather is so nice that people have to be health conscious year round and don't have the luxury of a cold winter to cover up and disregard the healthy lifestyle until spring. Regardless of the reason, the West Coast, and California in particular, tend to be the center of the newest fitness trends and diets.
Since being named one of the "25 Fittest Men in the World" by Men's Fitness Magazine, it has been both a blessing and a curse. For some strange reason, random strangers tend to challenge me a lot at the gym (which gets very annoying) but, also, many of my friends ask my opinion on various fitness and diet-related topics. Though I know that the West Coast tends to lead the way in the health and fitness industry, I also know that, for every true workout and diet trend, there are a dozen or so workout and diet gimmicks that don't work. However, because they are utilized by "celebrities," everyone in America seems to give it a try. There is a reason why the fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar business.
So, my most recent trip to LA was like the others: I worked, caught up with friends, and observed some new and interesting fitness trends at Equinox in West Hollywood. While grabbing a bite with my friend, Brett Gursky (who is also a Jersey boy) we discussed some film projects and, then, he went on to tell me about these new workout classes he's been taking called SoulCycle. Of course, he raved about the classes and eagerly encouraged me to take just one class, saying that I, too, would be a believer. This wasn't the first time I have heard someone praising the SoulCycle experience, but my schedule didn't allow me to take a class while in LA; so, I decided to take a class in New York to finally see if it was as life changing as everyone says it is. Honestly, I was skeptical because I have read about and even tried nearly every so-called "fitness trend," and I have taken spinning classes before. I assumed SoulCycle was just another spinning class... I couldn't have been more wrong.
I signed up for SoulCycle at their Noho center and, from the moment I walked in the door, it was unlike any gym, cross-fit center or workout facility I have ever visited before. Right away, I got the feeling that it was going to be so much more than just a workout. After I was instructed and set up on my bike, Madison, our instructor, gave the first-timers some positive words of encouragement; then it began. Madison was so much more than an instructor; she was a spiritual guide who led us on, not only the most intense physical workout I have ever had, but an inner journey at the same time. She wasn't yelling motivational phrases towards the class but, instead, was guiding everyone on a complete physical and mental workout.
The workout itself combines cycling with weights and, at the same time, provides a spiritual aspect or inner growth, but it is nearly impossible to sum up a class in one sentence. I'm not embarrassed to admit that there were many times during the 45-minute class when I had to take breaks. I can say with certainty that SoulCycle is everything I heard it was and much more.