SNL Put Its Own Spin On An Average SoulCycle Class and It’s Downright Hilarious

SNL

SoulCycle promises a full-body workout via “indoor cycling reinvented.” It’s been labeled a cult, obsession, and even therapy, so it comes as no surprise that Saturday Night Live had to put its own spin (pun fully intended) on the cycling phenomenon.

In a recent sketch, SNL takes its audience inside a SoulCycle class held specifically for prospective instructors on a mission to prove their energy levels. ICYDK, instructors at SoulCycle are infamous for motivating large groups of people through uplifting sayings and encouraging words. While some are masters at the art and could probably author a self-help book, others are, well, just not built for the task—which is exactly what SNL pokes fun at in this sketch. (Related: SoulCycle Meets Broadway with New “Hamilton”-Inspired Classes)

The prospective instructors include comedian Bowen Yang, who plays Flint (“like the water,” he says in the sketch), a cycling enthusiast auditioning to become the newest SoulCycle instructor in “White Harlem.” Flint says he’s all about living life with no regrets and would have totally saved Abraham Lincoln from dying if he’d been there at the time. (Related: Woman Sues SoulCycle After Being “Shamed” for Slowing Down)

Next up is Stranger Things’ David Harbour as Deacon, a man who has “an addiction to pushing himself” and lost his leg because a lumberjack thought it was a tree trunk.

Actress Heidi Gardner plays Trix, a woman who was bullied in high school because she was “too tall,” “too pretty,” and wasn’t a model—”yet,” she adds in the sketch.

Last but not least, Kate McKinnon plays Kyle, a woman who got into cycling after being kicked out of Scientology for being “too lazy.”

Watch the sketch below to see the hilarity go down in its entirety:

Have you ever watched a group of people emerge from a SoulCycle class? Most are drenched in sweat, some are laughing, others are crying (hey, it happens)—and ultimately they look like they just rocked a badass workout.

But if you’ve never set foot in one of these bright yellow studios (95 nationwide, and counting), you may be wondering: What the heck goes on in there? So many people are obsessed with the workout, but what is it actually like?…

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What is a SoulCycle class, exactly?

“SoulCycle is an indoor cycling class that features high-intensity cardio, muscle-sculpting strength training, and rhythm-based choreography,” says Sam Jade, SoulCycle senior instructor.

But unlike other spin classes you may have tried at your local gym, SoulCycle sessions are designed to give you a mental boost, in addition to a physical one. “It’s much more than just a workout, it’s a powerful mind-body experience,” says Jade. ” Classes are set in a dim, candlelit studio where riders can surrender to the rhythm of one-of-a-kind playlists, and get lost in the energy of the room.”

And speaking of those playlists…music is a big part of what makes SoulCycle unique, says Roxie Jones, SoulCycle instructor. “SoulCycle is heavily influenced by the beat of the music—we encourage everyone to ride on the beat together,” she says. A lot of the class consists of doing choreography out of the saddle (bike seat), to the rhythm of the music.

“The vibe is incredibly uplifting,” says Jade. “Together we move, ride, push toward the finish line, and celebrate our accomplishments. The goal of every SoulCycle class is for riders to emerge feeling like the best version of themselves.”

What kind of workout can you expect?

Each class consists of cardio and strength training (including a specific arm-toning series with weights done while sitting on your bike), all centered around rhythm-based choreography, explains Jade.

At every studio nationwide, you can take SoulCycle’s core 45-minute indoor cycling class or a longer 60-minute class called SoulSurvivor. Some studios also offer SoulActivate, a more challenging 45-minute class that focuses on high-intensity intervals and uses heavier weights in the strength series.

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Does the workout lead to serious results?

Of course, results vary from person to person, and depend on the amount of effort you put into each workout. But SoulCycle delivers a combo of cardio and strength training, so you can expect to improve your cardiorespiratory fitness as well as your muscle tone.

Plus, research does indicate that indoor cycling is one of the top calorie-burning exercises, and can torch, on average, 568–841 calories per hour.

Looking for a low-impact cardio workout you can try at home instead? Try this routine:

Do you have to be an experienced cycler to take class?

Absolutely not—SoulCycle is open to all fitness and spinning experience levels. “SoulCycle can be adapted to any rider’s abilities,” says Jade. You’re in control of the resistance level on your bike, and it’s easy to adjust, as needed, to get a great workout at your own pace.

But if you’re feeling wary, “remember that you learned to ride a bike when you were seven years old!” says Victoria Brown, SoulCycle senior instructor. You can sit down at any time, “and you’ll be in a mostly dark room, so no one will even notice as you’re getting the hang of it.”

What do you need to know for your first class?

Before you hop on a bike for the first time, ask a team member to help adjust your bike to the right height and handle-bar distance (trust: this makes a BIG difference during your ride). They can also teach you how to “clip-in” your spin shoes too. Once class starts, just remember not to put pressure on yourself, and approach the workout with an open mind, says Jade.

There are three positions you’ll need to know during class:

  1. First Position: Seated in the saddle, with your hands resting in the center of the handlebar.
  2. Second Position: Either in the saddle or standing, with hands at the back corners of the handlebars.
  3. Third Position: Out of the saddle, with your hips pushed back over the seat and hands toward the tops of the handlebars.

One of the most challenging parts of your first class will likely be finding the rhythm. “I encourage people to sit if they can find the pace better and turn it up more sitting down,” says Jones. “Once you can hit the rhythm 100 percent, then try coming up out of the saddle.”

And be sure to listen to the form cues! Your instructor will likely call out reminders about how to position your body during class, but here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:

  • Engage your core: Your lower back, abs, and glutes should be activated and engaged at all times.
  • Don’t rely on your arms: When standing, keep your chest up and don’t lean forward into the handlebars.
  • Keep your hips back: Work to pull your hips back over the saddle when you’re standing. This engages the back side of your body, working your hamstrings and booty.

And, most importantly, “Do your best to just have fun,” says Brown. “It takes a minute to learn to ride to the beat and begin to get the hang of it, don’t be frustrated if you don’t get it on the first try—no one does!”

What should you wear to SoulCycle? And do you need your own spin shoes?

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: You’re going to sweat in a SoulCycle class…like, a lot. As such, it’s important that you wear “breathable, sweat-wicking tops and bottoms that fit closely to the body,” recommends Jade.

Here’s some great options to choose from:

If you prefer to bring your own shoes, awesome! (Here’s a helpful guide to the best spin shoes if you’re in the market for a pair.) But it’s certainly not necessary, since SoulCycle offers shoe rentals for $3.

And, don’t forget to bring a water bottle—hydration is key!

How much does SoulCycle cost?

Class rates vary depending on region, but you can expect them to run you anywhere from $28 to $40. Your first class comes at a discounted rate (in NYC it’s $25 versus $35, for example), and you can also buy a series of classes in bulk for a slightly better deal.

What makes SoulCycle stand out?

Okay, so beyond the sweaty workout and awesome tunes, why the heck are people so obsessed with this fitness studio?

“SoulCycle is just as efficient as it is joyful—it’s an experience that transforms our riders’ relationship to exercise and serves as the best part of their day,” says Jade.

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Brown says the studio also stands out because of its community. “Community is number one. Come in, sweat, and make friends.”

“The SoulCycle community is open, welcoming, and inclusive of all Souls who choose to ride with us,” Jade adds. “Our studios are a space for riders to come as they are and celebrate who they are so they can emerge feeling stronger and inspired.”

Kristine Thomason Fitness & Wellness Editor Kristine Thomason is the fitness & wellness editor at Women’s Health, where she edits, writes, and helps oversee the food and fitness sections of the website and magazine.

And boy, did they break often. After “Weekend Update,” the sketches descended into chaos. Aidy Bryant joined Chance in cracking up during “Choir Fashion,” a hilariously specific breakdown of the frumpy attire teenagers are forced to wear in show choir. Chance’s laughing at Kenan Thompson’s tormented cries of “the mooooon” in the sketch “Dance Rehearsal” nearly broke new cast member Bowen Yang.

Most spectacularly, “Love at First Sight,” a tricky sketch involving harnesses that lifted Chance and cast members Cecily Strong and Beck Bennett into the air, led to fits of giggles from the actors during a sequence in which they ad-libbed while apparently waiting for a harness to be attached to Bennett. Normally, such a scenario would’ve been awkward, but the sketch had already become more about the bizarre maneuvering than about the premise. Earlier in the scene, Chance and Strong had encountered a mishap when they flew in the wrong direction. Rather than let the error get in the way, the duo leaned into it, playing up the ridiculousness of the sketch’s technical ambition. It reminded me of 2018’s “Girlfriends Game Night,” in which the host, Bill Hader, attempted to operate a motorized wheelchair without moving a muscle, only to push Melissa Villaseñor across the set—a move that drew more laughs than any of the jokes. Obviously, messing up on live TV shouldn’t be the goal of SNL, but when it happens to an adaptable host, a mistake can turn a faltering sketch into something memorable.

That said, a game host doesn’t always yield a successful episode. Luckily for Chance, the collection of sketches that made it to air shared a similar sensibility; most of them were remarkably dark in their humor, lending the episode a thematic cohesiveness. (The Halloween peg helped, too.) Aside from the opening pair of sketches—the first a spotlight for Chance’s now-recurring character, the embattled sports announcer Lazlo Holmes, and the second about a courtroom presided over by Chance’s impatient Judge Barry—nearly every subsequent sketch involved a dose of gallows humor. A digital short advertising after-school snacks had a bloody twist. A Halloween-themed sketch in which ghosts recounted their deaths featured Chance as a spirit who died because of a literally shocking fetish. A trailer for a film called Space Mistakes poked fun at how easily people perish in movies about astronauts.

But if the nutty energy heightened the absurdity of most of the sketches, it also unfortunately helped to cover up some off-color jokes. The Judge Barry sketch saw Chance’s character deem a male exotic dancer—Yang in a long wig and a crop top—immediately guilty before asking for a case involving “normal people.” Chance’s amused reaction to Yang’s outfit drew more audience laughs, and then the actor Jason Momoa dropped in and flubbed a line in an admittedly funny way (“certified paraplegic—legal”), so the moment passed. Later, during a “Weekend Update” segment, Michael Che clumsily compared Kanye West’s changing style to Caitlyn Jenner’s transition. The audience groaned, and Che’s co-host, Colin Jost, barely tried to save it, but the next several sketches worked to distract from the misstep.

Saturday night live workout

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