Everything a SoulCycle Instructor Eats and Does to Stay Fit in a Week

Inside the life of Yael Gross Rhode.

Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money it takes to live a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one Philadelphian to track everything they eat, all the exercise they get, and the money they spend on both. Want to submit a Sweat Diary? Email ccunningham@phillymag.com with details. 

Who I am: Yael Gross Rhode, 36

What I do: I’m an instructor at SoulCycle. I like to say we change lives through music, movement and meditation for a living.

What role health and fitness plays in my life: Fitness is my oxygen. Fitness helps me feel good physically and emotionally. It feeds my soul with energy, happiness, strength, pride, and I love to share this with the world.

Health memberships: HFactor Water monthly subscription ($58.49/pack of 24 or $116.98/pack of 48)

Weekly grocery bill: $200


Photograph courtesy Yael Gross Rhode.

6:45 a.m. — On Mondays, I normally teach the 6 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. classes at SoulCycle, but today is my last morning on vacation visiting my sister in Miami so I get to ‘sleep in’ and wake up at 6:45 a.m.! Every morning before I get out of bed, I finish whatever is left of my one-liter water bottle from the night before. I do my morning routine: brush teeth, wash face and moisturize, make bed, get dressed, COFFEE! I like to use Bluemercury’s M61 products since they are all organic and plant-based (Perfect Cleanse face wash and Hydraboost Moisturizer). But first thing’s first, COFFEE. I can’t live without my Nespresso Kazaar flavor — it’s the most intense flavor, so it’s pretty strong. I use Whole Foods’ Organic Sugar and 2% Lactaid milk.

7 a.m. — My favorite part of the day is when my five-and-a-half-month-old daughter wakes up! Diaper change, wash her face, and dress her. Bottle at 7:15 a.m., and mama gets to enjoy her Nespresso too.

Photograph courtesy Yael Gross Rhode.

8:30 a.m. — I go on my morning run. I run 3.06 miles in 25:48 minutes. My pace is 8’25″, and I burn a total estimated 342 calories (feeling good)!

9:30 a.m. —  I put my daughter Leah down for her morning nap. I make a smoothie with one banana, a hand full of organic strawberries, one tablespoon of 365 Whole Foods organic peanut butter, one tablespoon of Bob’s Red Mill flaxseed meal for added fiber and antioxidants, and add water.

1 p.m. — Between more feedings, tummy time, play time, and naps, I squeeze in some pool time. I take advantage of the warm weather and attempt to swim some laps, but instead my sister and I float around in her pool on swan and pizza floats. Lunch is an avocado and hard-boiled egg sandwich with salt, pepper, and olive oil. I swear by Whole Foods Seeduction bread sliced thick. I hydrate with some Whispering Angel Rosé.

Photograph courtesy Yael Gross Rhode.

7 p.m. — It’s my last night visiting family in Miami, so my sister and I order in sushi. Since I don’t eat shellfish, I always order the sashimi dinner “kosher style,” which means I get more tuna, yellowtail, and salmon ($35). If I order any rolls or rice, I always make sure to ask them for brown rice when it’s available. I don’t have anything against carbohydrates or rice, I just like my sushi on its own, with soy, wasabi, and FRESH!

10 p.m. — I do my night routine: brush teeth, wash face, and moisturize. I take my pre- and post-natal vitamin (MegaFood Baby & Me 2). I always make sure to fill my one-liter water bottle and bring it to bed with me.

Daily total: $35


Photograph courtesy Yael Gross Rhode.

4:15 a.m. — I wake up, finish drinking my water bottle, then do my morning routine.

7 a.m. — I take a flight from Miami back to Philly. I drink coffee on the flight (no sugar since they only offer white, processed sugar) and snack on slices of apples and raw cashews I brought from my sister’s. I also feed Leah.

12 p.m. — I arrive at home. Lunch is a smoothie. It’s the same as Monday’s smoothie except today I added crushed GG Crackers for the added fiber and 2% lactaid milk instead of water (it makes the smoothie creamier). I don’t have the energy to sweat today. An early flight combined with traveling with an infant was my emotional workout for the day.

7 p.m. — I have dinner with my husband. We eat baked salmon with organic asparagus and wild rice (all purchased at Whole Foods). I drizzle the salmon with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh garlic, then bake on 350 for 20 minutes. I drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and fresh garlic, salt, and pepper, then broil on 450 for 15 minutes. The wild rice I cook in boiling water for 40 minutes, then add kosher salt and olive oil to taste. I also have some House of Cards Cabernet.

9:30 p.m. — I work on my three SoulCycle playlists for my Wednesday 9:30 a.m. and Saturday 8:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. classes.

10:30 p.m. — I do my night routine, then it’s lights out.

Daily total: $0


Photograph courtesy Yael Gross Rhode.

6:30 a.m. — I wake up, drink water, do my morning routine.

7 a.m. — Bottle for Leah, coffee for mama. I eat a banana with peanut butter.

9 a.m. — I arrive at SoulCycle and set up my before all the riders arrive. I move around in the dark candlelit room to my music, get warm, set the tone for the rest of my ride, breathe in some inspiration.

9:30 a.m. — My class starts. Lights out. Beat drops. Sweat, endorphins, passion, power. DONE.

Photograph courtesy Yael Gross Rhode.

10:45 a.m. — I stop at La Colombe in Bryn Mawr on my way home for a tiny tan ($12). It’s basically a Black and Tan with more coffee and less “tan.” Iced cold brew topped with draft latte, it’s pure heaven! I add one teaspoon of raw sugar.

12 p.m. — I eat lunch at home: kale and sunflower microgreens, sweet onion, avocado, Israeli feta, edamame, soft boiled egg, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon (sometimes I include balsamic, depending on whether I add red peppers or tomatoes to my salad).

Photograph courtesy Yael Gross Rhode.

2:30 p.m. — I have a conference call with my co-chair for Philly Spin-in at CHOP, an indoor team cycling charity ride I co-founded in 2016. Registration opened at the beginning of the month and the event planning is fully underway. Juggling Leah, work, home, and Philly Spin-In for CHOP is 100 percent of my life these days.

4:15 p.m. — Yoga and meditation. I find that doing yoga at home is one of my favorite ways to recharge, unplug, AND find strength without having to leave the house. Ever since getting pregnant with Leah, I haven’t really practiced as much yoga as I would like to, so in the last couple of months I have been practicing at home several times a week. There is always room for more. Stretching is extremely important since it helps prevent long term injury, improves endurance, and builds long, lean muscle tone. I need to make more time in my day to meditate. Mental health and inner stability is crucial for a happy, successful, balanced life, in my opinion. When I do find the time to head out and practice, I do enjoy Bulldog Yoga in Villanova for a serious heated yoga party, done to a fun playlist. It’s a fun concept and does the trick when I’m looking for something different and new in my practice.

5 p.m. — I eat an early dinner before a bath and bottle for Leah. Tonight I made boneless skinless chicken breast (Empire Kosher) sliced thin, marinated in a touch of olive oil, Israeli Pereg chicken spice, turmeric, lemon, salt, and pepper. It’s baked in the oven on 350 for only 15 minutes.

9:45 p.m. — I surf Spotify for music inspiration for my SoulCycle playlists.

10:15 p.m. — I do my night routine: Water. Vitamins. Lights out.

Daily total: $12


Photograph courtesy Yael Gross Rhode.

6:30 a.m. — Wake up, water, morning routine.

7 a.m. — Bottle for Leah, coffee for mama.

9 a.m. — I put Leah down for a nap. Breakfast is four GG crackers with peanut butter (sometimes I add sliced bananas or sliced strawberries).

10 a.m. — I go to Barre3 Blue Bell with Emily Rothrock ($24 per class or packages bring the price down as low as $18). I am able to bring Leah with me since there is a small, CLEAN, RELIABLE child care on site.

1 p.m. — I put Leah down for a nap. Lunch is another micro green salad (same as Wednesday).

7 p.m. — Dinner is (leftover) wild rice, edamame, and baked halibut (all from Whole Foods). Halibut is marinated in olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and lemon. It’s then wrapped in parchment paper and baked on 425 for 15 minutes.

9:30 p.m. — I do my night routine. Review SoulCycle playlists. Lights out.

Daily total: $24


4:30 a.m. — I have an early wake up to sub the 6 a.m. SoulCycle class in Ardmore.

5:40 a.m. — I arrive at the studio before most of the riders. I listen to my music and find daily inspo on my drive to work. Nespresso in hand as well as Cliff Bar for kids chocolate chip flavor (I like the kids’ bars since they are lower in sugar).

6 a.m. — Class starts. Lights out. Beat drops. Sweat, endorphins, passion, power. DONE.

7:30 a.m. — I arrive back home, make a second cup of Nespresso, eat a banana, do my morning routine with Leah.

9 a.m. — I put Leah down for her morning nap. I do my yoga, breathing, and meditation.

Photograph courtesy Yael Gross Rhode.

1 p.m. — I have another smoothie for lunch: avocado, strawberries, blueberries, flax meal, milk.

5:30 p.m. — We host dinner with friends at our house. Sushi (my usual sashimi dinner) for the adults and pizza for the kids.

9:30 p.m. — I do my SoulCycle playlist review and surf Spotify and the web for new music inspo. I finalize any changes to my playlists for tomorrow morning classes at 8:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.

10:15 p.m. — I do my nightly routine. Lights out.

Daily total: $0


Money spent: $71

Workouts done: 4

SoulCycle classes taught: 2

Cups of coffee drunk: 6

Smoothies made: 3

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