On Falling Out of Love: What My First Philly SoulCycle Class Taught Me About Myself

Emotional eating coach Jessica Procini, a former SoulCycle addict, on her "It's not you, it's me" moment with the new-to-Philly workout.

A workout that includes savasana is more my speed now | microgen/iStock.com

A workout that includes savasana is more my speed now | microgen/iStock.com

I waited three long years for SoulCycle to open in the Philadelphia area. (I even wrote about my longing for a SoulCycle to open in Philly for Be Well Philly here!) When the news broke that the Ardmore studio was opening, I quickly reserved my bike and made the half-hour drive to Ardmore to be reunited, finally, with my long lost love.

I was so excited.

When I arrived at the studio, a cookie-cutter replica of all the other SoulCycle studios I’d visited in the past, it felt like a “coming home.” Finally, I didn’t have to take a train or a plane to take a SoulCycle class.

At the start of the class, I clipped into my bike, closed my eyes (they were playing new Beyoncé!), and was instantly flooded with goosebumps. The first 10 minutes were AWESOME. As I cycled, I had a flashback to my very first SoulCycle class and saying to myself, “If we had this in Philly, I’d go all the time and be so thin and fit.” Perhaps it was the adrenaline rush, but in those first few minutes of class I started to negotiate with myself and convince myself that I could ABSOLUTELY make the drive from Center City to Suburban Square to take a class a few days a week.

Then, things turned ugly. Really ugly. I went from feeling so high and confident one minute to feeling like I was going to black out, fall off my bike, hit my head and vomit all over myself. This wasn’t just an “Oh, this is a hard workout — I need to build up my stamina” kinda moment. It was like my body was protesting.

Afterward, I felt exhausted. Not in a good way. After I spent several days trying to figure out what the heck had happened — I loved SoulCycle with my whole heart, after all — I realized: In the three years I was waiting for SoulCycle to come to my hometown, my relationship with my body and exercise had drastically transformed. When it comes down to it, this kind of workout just isn’t for me anymore.

In the past, I regularly chose exercise based on intensity. The more calories I burned, the better. I was there to lose weight, get in shape and tone up. But eventually, I found that having a crazy-intense job plus a crazy-intense exercise routine was causing my struggle with stress-eating and overeating — not helping it. Things needed to change.

Now I choose how I want to move my body based on how I want to feel and what my body needs in that moment. These days, I gravitate toward yoga, Pilates and walking. Yes: walking. As counterintuitive as it might sound, making this shift has helped me lose over 30 pounds.

I truly believe that it doesn’t matter so much WHAT you do to work out, just that you move your body in a way that feels good for YOU consistently. For some, that’s super-intense cycling and for others, that’s a workout that involves savasana.

Don’t get me wrong, SoulCycle: I really am glad you are here. I know you will change people’s bodies and lives. And I know someone — probably many people, actually — will fall in love with you just like I did. I’ve just learned that I’m not in love with you anymore.

Psssst: Have you ever fallen out of love with a workout you were once head over heels for? Let us know in the comments!

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Jessica Procini is an emotional eating coach, weight-loss expert and founder of the web TV series called J-CiniTV. She’s on a mission to support women in building healthy relationships with food without counting calories or giving up chocolate. Instead she teaches her clients how to Laugh Themselves Skinny™ so they can have a freakin’ blast while slipping back into their skinny jeans.

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