Charlie Atkins, SoulCycle Instructor
What are the benefits of SoulCycle?
"The benefits of SoulCycle are being able change people's lives in a minor way to a large scale. People don't really notice it until they start coming back, and then they start coming back even more. It's just an amazing company to work for because we're all obsessed with each other — the community that Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler have created is absolutely phenomenal. The benefits of working with SoulCycle are simply the community that they've created and just the amount of people that you work with, interact with, and change, not for the worse, but for the better."
What is your motivational motto?
"How you do anything is how you do everything."
What motivates you when you're motivating the class? What do you think of?
"Whenever I get in front of the class, I specifically think of classes that I have been in and how I felt at certain points, and what I wanted somebody to tell me afterward. You know, to try a little more, or 'it's supposed to be challenging,' like you signed up because you wanted something different, you wanted a change."
Physically, what are the benefits of SoulCycle as opposed to another spin class? What muscles does SoulCycle tend to target?
"As we claim, it's a full-body workout. But depending on how you come in — as far as your body-type goes — it's the results that you're going to get [that set us apart]. Overall, it's very slimming but also very toning. We do arms, periods, and push-ups on the bike — biceps, triceps, shoulders — and I notice a lot of change in the shoulders. There's toning or slimming of the legs, and you may not realize it but spinning is, actually, I would say, 70% core."
How many calories do you typically burn in a class?
"In a 45-minute class, it varies. There are so many factors, but I would say you could go burn from like 450 to 800 or 900. We have a guy that comes in who wears a calorie-monitor, and the most he's ever burned was like 1,100. I would say, on average, you're looking at between 450 to the 800 to 900 range, depending on how hard you push."
What songs are on your pump-up playlist?
"'Lunar' by David Guetta and Afrojack, 'Number 1,' 'Who's That Chick' also by David Guetta and Rihanna, and I'm known to play 'Closer' by Nine Inch Nails — it's my signature song that I kind of stole from over here. I play that song a lot. And I play a lot of Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a lot of bass-y songs. Another one that I always play is '1967' by Junkie XL."
What's the craziest fanatic story you have from working at SoulCycle?
"I wouldn't call it 'fanatic' but actually amazing. I've only been here for four months, but there was a guy that took my class back in early January, and he started coming every week. He ended up losing 30 pounds, which was phenomenal. We actually had his birthday spin on Saturday, so he brought in like 20 friends, some of which who have never spun before, and they were psyched."
What do you say to people who call SoulCycle a cult?
"If you look at it from an outside point of view, a lot of people judge it because they don't get it. I think with anything, don't knock it until you try it, and when you come in, group energy is totally a beautiful thing. At face value, if you look on our Twitter, people are like, 'Oh, sign up!' because they're worried about the signups on Monday. The way that I look at it is if you care about something so much and you love it and you want to share it with the world, it's great, and don't knock on it until you try it."
SoulCycle/Lululemon pants, Adidas sports bra.
Photographed by CJ Isaac
Charlie Atkins, SoulCycle Instructor