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SoulCycle Instructor: Correct Form Will 'Change Your Body'

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Kaili will Soul you the way.
Kaili will Soul you the way.

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SoulCycle will launch their beginners program this weekend after acknowledging that the concept of heart-blasting cardio in a dark room kind of terrifies people. The cycling empire supplied top instructor Kaili Stephens to answer all of our burning SoulCycle questions: what to wear, what to eat beforehand, does anyone ever puke?

Read through the Q&A with Kaili after the jump, and if you're convinced to join the ranks, SoulCycle 101 still has a few bikes open at their West Village location (shoot an e-mail to to sign up for the three 60-minute Saturday classes, which costs $85 for the bundle).

How did SoulCycle 101 come about?

We really thought about how we could make SoulCycle really accessible to everyone. We definitely hear the buzz out there, like, "Ohmygod, it's a dark room, they do all those weird moves, but I hear it's super fun." People have heard such good things about it, but there's always those one or two reasons why they haven't been able to step foot in the door. We figured it's due to the fact that it's a brand new experience, and yeah, the lights are low and there are a number of signature moves that we do. What if we were able to bring that down and make it easy?

We had a Soul Basics class a long time ago, we also have Soul Teen classes. I teach a Teen class every Tuesday, and it's a bunch of 13 and 14 year olds who don't know how to hold their body in the right place. I get moms [of teen riders] who ask, "Can I ride with my daughter, too, just to learn?" And it's like, that's just for the kids, but how can we make this accessible for adults, too?

We tossed around the idea [of Soul 101] many, many, many times and we decided the time is now: we have new studios, tons of new riders every day, and we always hear from the new riders, "I just want to know if I'm doing it right." We want to make it less intimidating, more empowering, and give everyone the basic tools to have a really fun ride.

There are so many indoor cycling classes to choose from. Who is SoulCycle right for?


You don't need a certain attitude, mindset... goals?

Anyone. Anyone, anyone, anyone. As long as you are tall enough to sit on the seat and put your foot on the peddle.

Which is 4'11", as I learned from a sign in the lobby.

Yes [laughs]. But, really, anyone can find a SoulCycle class to suit them. We have a variety of instructors: personalities, musical tastes.

What should someone wear to their first SoulCycle class?

I like to wear 3/4 length tights, a classic jog bra, and a shirt that isn't too form fitting and isn't too loose. You don't want the sweat to glue you shirt to you.

What should you eat before a SoulCycle class?

I recommend something that's not too heavy—it isn't time to eat pasta.

No carbing up?

Don't carb up! You're not going to feel good. I recommend almonds or a banana, and lots of water.

As an instructor, can you tell who is a SoulCycle newbie in the class?

Yes, definitely. They're my favorite people to pick. First, I'm just so proud that they're there, having their first ride. I had my first ride and I was doing my thing, or so I thought, 'til the instructor came over and corrected me.

What are the telltale signs of a newb?

Not knowing how to hold their body, shoulder are too high or too low, seat height isn't right. Some of the things we're going to talk about in Soul101 are seat height, where the handlebars should be in proportion to your body. Some of those little things are how you have a much better ride. Form is how you change your body.

Do you have any internal nicknames for newbs?

No [laughs].

Have you ever seen anyone puke? And were they new?

I have never seen anyone puke... in the studio. I've seen someone come out of the studio, puke, and they were not new.

How many times a week should a newb cycle?

Like with anything, it's a gradual process. After the first class, you will become addicted. But at first, once a week, then twice, then three to five times a week is really going to show change in your body.

At the beginning of the class you ask if anyone has injuries, is pregnant, or has been drinking. How often does someone fess up to the drinking part?

You'll be surprised, actually. The men in the room usually do, they're like "Yeaah!"

What's that from? Happy hour? Brunch?

It's usually hangovers. You walk by them and you're like, "Ooh."

How important is it to have rhythm, from 1 to 10?

It is important to have rhythm because we ride to the beat, but like anything else, it can be learned. By your third class you'll be on beat.

Any tips for looking decent post-sweat drenched Soul sesh?

Find a mirror [laughs] Most of our studios have showers, so a quick shower. Deodorant, hair in a messy bun, and you've already got the healthy glow.

Lightening Round!

Three activewear essentials you could not live without?

Tights, sports bra, bandana

Favorite thing to do outside of SoulCycle?


8am or 8pm?


Orange juice or green juice?


Vegan or primal?


Ponytail or topknot?

Short hair!

Coffee or tea?


Uptown or downtown?


Beach or mountains?


Food you're most looking forward to at Thanksgiving?

Macaroni and cheese.
· SoulCycle's New 101 Program Will Teach You How to SoulCycle [Racked NY]