SoulCycle cranks up the music and the intensity

This indoor-cycling class features energetic music and instructors.

AS CORINNE BAILEY RAE crooned, “Nobody said it was eaaaa-sy” (in “The Scientist”), I knew she wasn’t singing about me sweating my way through an indoor cycling class. But I needed the motivation, so I took the lyric to heart.

I had been on my bike for about 30 minutes. We were riding in darkness, and I was tired. I also knew, in all honesty, I could keep going. So I put my head down and did.

And therein lies the alchemy of SoulCycle. The indoor-cycling fitness behemoth, which started in New York, has opened a studio in Bellevue, where you can get a taste of its hyper-branded mix of the latest music, energetic instructors spouting inspiration, tight riding quarters and an intense workout.

Bellevue SoulCycle

While the combination of the above can feel over the top, it is designed to get you to work harder than you want to. If all that were stripped away, I might not even show up voluntarily for an indoor cycling class. I am their target, and an easy one, apparently.

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Class started with loud music, as we took our resistance up just enough and pedaled to the beat to warm up. Our teacher, Earl, quickly had us up off our seats, and bending our elbows to warm up our upper bodies. It felt more like a dance party than a cycling class. After a couple of songs, I felt confident I could get through class without too many issues, though I occasionally had trouble pedaling to the beat.

But then Earl pumped up the music and our pace. We took down our resistance and went as fast as possible, while still seated. I lost the beat with the crazy pace, and suddenly, he had us stand up, still pedaling as fast as possible. Now I was really sweating, and starting to pant as well.

For one round, he had us crank up our resistance for a hill, and we soon were working slowly and hard. As tough as this was, I still preferred it to racing along. Sometimes, I had trouble keeping up with the song, so I rode at my own pace, admiring riders who were able to stay on the beat with Earl.

Soon enough, we sat up straight, slowed down our legs and grabbed 3-pound arm weights. We worked biceps, triceps and shoulders, all still to the beat. At this point, I was dragging, so sometimes I didn’t keep up, and I didn’t care. I noticed others were dropping their arms to rest, too, which made me feel better.

By the time arms were done, I was ready for cool-down. But first, we had a couple more songs, one in darkness with Bailey Rae, and then a final, harder push to “Million Voices” by Otto Knows. Earl encouraged us to ride harder, told us to listen to the spin of the wheels, forget what’s outside and dig in. I don’t know whether it was the music or the SoulCycle special sauce, but I dug in for the last song, and it felt good, even.

Unlike other indoor-cycling…

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