Photographed by Ashley Batz.
Are the wheels coming off the fitness world's love affair with SoulCycle? Or, is the cult fitness brand being unjustly blamed for smart, competition-thwarting business policies?
The New York City-based studio is under fire for reportedly banning other fitness instructors from attending their classes. Joey Gonzelez, the owner of Barry's Bootcamp, raised the alarm after he announced on Facebook that he had been told by a lawyer of SoulCycle that he was "never allowed to take [a] class there again." The reason for the ban, he claims, is that he works in "boutique fitness," and therefore, is part of the competition.
Soon, other instructors were chiming in about similar experiences, both at SoulCycle and other fitness chains like Equinox (which owns SoulCycle). As Well + Good notes, the fear here is that rival instructors will steal trade secrets or poach employees. Indeed, some studios have contract clauses preventing their instructors from teaching elsewhere. From a business standpoint, it makes sense to keep rivals at a distance. On the other hand, it's a bit like opening a restaurant and banning all chefs from coming for dinner. Where's the solidarity?
At the time of posting, SoulCycle had not yet responded to our request for a comment. In the meantime, we have to ask: Is banning others good for business, or just sending bad vibes? (Well + Good)