Sweat Diaries

How SoulCycle’s Ryan Lewis Survives 19 Classes a Week With Crazy-Early Mornings

A week in the life of the super-active Philly SoulCycle instructor Ryan Lewis.


Photograph courtesy Ryan Lewis.

Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money people invest in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one Philadelphian to spend a week tracking 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: Ryan Lewis (@ryjlewis), 27

What I do: Full-time instructor (typically 19 classes per week — this week I subbed and had some special events, which means I taught more) and Philadelphia instructor development officer at SoulCycle, Lululemon ambassador.

What role health and fitness plays in my life: Health and fitness practically run my life. Outside of being a leader in the fitness community of Philadelphia, I immerse myself in the community as I try to take classes throughout the city (SolidCore, CrossFit, Hot Yoga Philadelphia to name a few) as well as support local, sustainable restaurants and cafes in the city.

Health memberships: I don’t “belong” anywhere, but I do take classes at SolidCore, various CrossFit boxes around the city, Hot Yoga Philadelphia and Corepower Yoga.

Monday

Photograph courtesy Ryan Lewis.

7 a.m. — Alarm rings. Wake up. Today’s usually my day off, but I am subbing two evening classes at SoulCycle Rittenhouse (RHSQ). I plan on treating the rest of the day leading up to those classes as my day off, though, and take care of some ME things.

7:30 a.m. — Showered and ready to go, I grab an RXBar on my way out and stop at La Colombe Dilworth Plaza ($3.25 and $1 tip…tip your baristas!) before hopping on the Market-Frankford Line to get to Fishtown. You’ll find out about my coffee addiction in about two stops.

8:15 a.m. — Second cold brew ($3.25 plus $1 tip) of the day at La Colombe Fishtown (side note, their cold brew is INSANE, I always get it with Oat Milk). I plan on spending my time here playlisting for classes later that night and getting a head start on classes for the beginning of the week.

10:30 a.m. — Text message comes through from my boss asking if I can teach the 7:30 p.m. class tonight as well (on top of the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.). I’m always one to help out in a sub situation (good karma!), so I happily oblige.

12 p.m. — Fishtown Snap Kitchen. I grab their Naked Chicken and Vegetables and find a table to myself ($10).

12:30 p.m. — Art Machine Productions. Time to get inked because it’s a Monday. A couple of weeks back, I had gotten 01231991 and 04272014 on my right middle and ring fingers, respectively. I completed the picture by getting “the moment.” on my right index finger. 01231991 is my birthday and 04272014 is my sober anniversary.

2:30 p.m. — Back in Center City, stopping by Mom’s Organic Market for groceries for the week ($113). I mainly get bananas and spinach to freeze for smoothies, egg white pint cartons (six of them typically last me for the week), almond and cashew butter, paleo granola, and various protein bars.

4 p.m. — I prepare some egg whites and hummus, paired with a salad from Honeygrow ($12). I get a modified Cobb salad — romaine and spinach, chicken, tomatoes, carrots, avocado, and bacon. I’m ready for this triple.

5:30 p.m — Three back-to-back SoulCycle classes.

8:30 p.m. — Home and ready for some dinner. I ordered ahead a salad with chicken and salmon from Marathon Grill ($18.95) across the street from the studio. For something sweet, I have a  bowl of granola with a scoop of almond butter and some almond milk.

10:15 p.m. — Watching the previous night’s episode of Pose (HIGHLY recommend), and then sleep.

Daily Total: $162.45

Tuesday

Photograph courtesy Ryan Lewis.

3:40 a.m. — Alarm. Wake-up. Shower.

4 a.m. — My morning routine goes like this: I make either a smoothie (organic peanut butter protein, almond milk, one frozen banana, frozen spinach, beetroot powder, mace powder) or egg whites. I prepare a double espresso through my Nespresso machine. Once it’s all prepared, I sit down and eat while listening to the tracks I’m playing in class that morning. Once I’m done, I write a reflection for the day. It’s an incredibly grounding ritual for me.

5:30 a.m. — I am at the RHSQ studio ready to teach two back-to-back classes. The first one is a theme ride, Ellie Goulding vs. Christina Aguilera.

8 a.m. — I am back home, quickly showered, and back in bed for a two-hour nap. I quickly have a Primal Kitchen Dark Chocolate Almond Collagen Protein Bar just to have something in my system while I sleep.

11 a.m. — Alarm goes off, I get up and dressed to head out for the rest of the day.

11:45 a.m. — Stop at Animo Juice for an açaí bowl, a coffee, and a ginger-root tea ($15). My voice is a little hoarse and I am preparing for a speaking engagement at Comcast for their health and wellness week.

12:45 p.m. — I arrive at Comcast to host a seminar on leading and maintaining a healthy lifestyle for their employees.

2:15 p.m. — I am on regional rail to the Ardmore studio. I used to drive out to Ardmore, but ever since moving further into the city, I prefer taking SEPTA. I am able to get work done this way. Productivity hack!

3 p.m. — I arrive at the Ardmore studio and spend some time preparing for the evening classes. I usually only teach the 5:30 p.m., but I am subbing the 6:30 p.m. as well.

7:30 p.m. — Following classes, my friend Kayla and I head to the Wynnewood Whole Foods to get dinner. I fix myself up a salad and buy a half a pound of their grilled salmon from the counter ($20). Super clean and filling!

9:30 p.m.  After some much-needed girl talk and catch up with Kayla, I am home and ready to go to bed, another big day tomorrow.

Daily Total: $35

Wednesday

Photograph courtesy Ryan Lewis.

3:40 a.m. — Alarm. Wake-up. Shower. Breakfast. Morning routine.

4:45 a.m. — Out the door and walking to my garage to drive to Ardmore.

5:30 a.m. — Quick stop at the Ardmore Starbucks to get a double espresso ($2.12) after already downing one at my apartment; it’s going to be a day.

6 a.m. — SoulCycle with some of the strongest riders I see every week.

7:10 a.m. — Out of the studio and ready to book it back to Center City for an 8 a.m. Solidcore class ($30).  

8:50 a.m. — I don’t know what TF just happened, but I know I won’t be right for days. Thank you, Alex Fluharty.

9:30 a.m. — I’m at the Rittenhouse studio preparing to teach a 10:30 a.m. class

11:45 a.m. — After class, a quick pitstop at my apartment to take a 45-minute nap. Usually on a Wednesday afternoon the recharge is a bit longer, but I have an internal staff ride at 2 p.m.

1:15 p.m. — Back at the RHSQ studio making sure I have everything I need to test out a SoulActivate class with SoulCycle staff from the Philly area.

3 p.m. — Successfully Activated! Feeling super pumped to bring this to the riders in Philly.

3:30 p.m. — I’m back in bed for another quick 45-minute recharge. Go ahead, you can call me a Nap Queen.

4:30 p.m.  Getting ready to teach the 6:30 p.m. class at RHSQ. The musical stylings of Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson are helping me tonight. I love theme rides.

7:45 p.m. My friend Kelly picks me up from the studio, and I have that same salad from Marathon Grill I had Monday night in tow with me. We are headed to BB&T Pavilion to see Logic.

Photograph courtesy Ryan Lewis.

9 p.m. — I wasn’t going to share this here, but I have to be honest. I caved and got crab fries ($8). You can’t NOT.

11:30 p.m. — Concert was FANTASTIC. He is so talented, and now I’m off to sleep.

Daily Total: $40.12

Thursday

Photograph courtesy Ryan Lewis.

3:40 a.m. — Alarm. Wake-up. Shower. Morning routine.

5:30 a.m. — I get to the studio and am ready for two great classes. First up is a Dave Matthews Band theme ride at 6 a.m., then a traditional SoulCycle class at 7 a.m.

8:15 a.m. — I’m back at home, quickly showering and heading down to take a nap. Before I sleep, I prepare some egg whites topped with hummus and red pepper flakes. I’m feeling spicy today.

12:15 p.m. — Out the door and heading to Ardmore to spend some time with my dad. Once I get to Ardmore, I stop at Sweetgreen to get a salad (kale/spinach mix with tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beets, two scoops of chicken, avocado, olive oil, lemon squeeze, and their signature hot sauce) ($13).

3:30 p.m. — And I’m down for the count with another nap after getting a lot of work done on classes for the weekend and spending time with my dad. Last night really took it out of me.

5:30 p.m. — Ready to teach a double (5:30 and 6:30 p.m.), concluding with one of my favorite theme rides to teach — Betty Who vs. Robyn — at 6:30 p.m. I guess this is a good time to come out to all of you. Happy Pride!

7:15 p.m. — I check my phone for SEPTA train times and notice that the 7:26 p.m. train is running eight minutes late. Can I shower and make this? I can totally shower and make this.

7:35 p.m. — I made it and am excited to get home at a decent hour. I call Marathon Grill on the way home to have my salad ready for pick-up. When I love something, I go ALL IN.

9 p.m. — I am nourished, at home, and in bed. Time to watch last night’s Real Housewives of New York and get some sleep.

Daily Total: $13

Friday

Photograph courtesy Ryan Lewis.

3:40 a.m. — Alarm. Wake-up. Shower. Morning routine. Noticing a pattern here?

5:30 a.m. — I get to Ardmore and am ready for some of my favorite people again. Today’s genre? POP DIVAS. Hi, I’m gay!

7:30 a.m. — I am sitting in the Wynnewood Whole Foods parking lot. I sit here every Friday from 7:30 to 8 a.m. (they open at 8). I notice how many people are joining me during this time to build my case to open this store at 7 a.m.

8 a.m. — I grab breakfast from the breakfast bar (egg whites and bacon with some vegetables mixed in), a kombucha, a cold brew with unsweetened almond milk, and a liter of water ($23). I am ready to listen to some music and put together some kickass classes.

10:30 a.m. — Round two at Ardmore.

12:15 p.m. — I am back at my apartment and am tidying up. I prepare my traditional smoothie for a quick and easy lunch.

 1:15 p.m.  Kayla comes over and we spend the rest of the afternoon sunbathing on the roof of my building.

4:30 p.m. — I quickly bang out 300 sit-ups and 200 push-ups before class for my own fitness regimen. Ready and fired up for the 6 p.m. RHSQ Survivor.

Photograph courtesy Ryan Lewis.

7:15 p.m. — I quickly make it back to my apartment and am reunited with my friend from high school, Andrew. I meet his lovely friend Alli. Once I’m showered and ready, we head to Oyster House for dinner, Kayla meets us there.

9 p.m. — Eight oysters deep and one delicious flounder entree later ($65 including tip), I am ready to head back to my apartment to get at least one episode down of Queer Eye season two. I have some rice crackers with almond butter and a banana while I watch.

11:15 p.m. — Time for bed — four classes to teach in the morning.

Daily Total: $88

Weekly Totals

Money spent: $338.57

Classes taught: 18

Workouts done: 2

Cups of coffee: 6

Smoothies/smoothie bowls: 3

Marathon Grill salads: 3

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