This week, history spins forward as the most famous spin studio in the world, SoulCycle, opens its first Texas studio right here in Houston almost exactly a decade after it debuted to much fanfare (and celebrity sightings) in New York. Classes started in the River Oaks location on Wednesday morning, so we sat down with veteran instructor Chanelle Lagace to find out what makes this workout so fabulous and why you should snag a bike ASAP.
What most excites you about bringing the SoulCycle brand and workouts to Houston?
SoulCycle is all about creating a community and spreading the joy of working out and fitness. So the fact that I am a part of opening the first studio in Texas and that being in Houston I am so thrilled to be a part of it. [Houston] is a really, really cool city. I’m very excited to be here.
Do you know how Houston was chosen as the next city in which to open studios?
SoulCycle had always envisioned opening in really vibrant communities that are really active. It seems to me that Houston has that and that’s what they look for and that’s why we’re coming here.
Will there be any special rates for the first week or month?
First time riders get a discounted rate, so if you call the studio it’s only $20 for newbies.
What makes it so addictive to you as an instructor? What about the format inspired you to join the organization and make it your career?
I just remember my very first SoulCycle class—where it was, the teacher, the songs. I loved it. I loved it because it was 45 minutes of purely a dance workout. Dance is my background so I was instantly hooked, having the chance to let go and have a great workout all while having fun.
Is that also what inspires you to keep doing it?
That’s one of the reasons why I came down here. I like being part of the community and inspiring people and it’s something I don’t want to stop doing.
What accomplishments you feel SoulCycle has enabled you to reach that you may not have been able to achieve otherwise?
In a nutshell it’s basically given me the chance to connect with the community and riders. I can’t even tell you how many countless numbers of people come to me after a class and express how I’ve inspired them. Whether it was a song that really touched them that day or they needed me to say one sentence that really made them feel better. It’s really humbling that I’ve had such a meaningful impact on so many people’s lives. That to me is a really big accomplishment. I don’t think I would be able to get that anywhere else.
What kinds of transformations have you witnessed in clients?
I’ve experienced, number one, a huge sense of community. People that come together who don’t know each other and then the next week they’re all talking in the hallways. I’ve seen major weight loss and muscle gaining. People transforming their bodies and being happier with themselves. Coming out of their shells and just being happier.
In the three-and-a-half years that you have been with SoulCycle, has the program format changed since your first class as a client or as an instructor?
No, I think that’s what’s so great about SoulCycle and the brand is that you could live in New York, be a consistent rider and you could travel to L.A. or Miami or now Houston and still have the same great fun experience. It hasn’t changed—it’s always evolving but always true to itself.
If you could say one thing to someone, who is on the fence about trying a class, what would you say?
I would say just go for it. There’s nothing to be nervous or scared about because you can go at your own pace and we’re there every step of the way with you. We’re not going to leave you behind. We’re always going to be there.
In 10 words or less, what does the SoulCycle class represent to you?
There are lots of words actually! I would say the first things that come to mind are joy, community, vitality, mental, positivity, and fun.
Do you recommend a client come in at a certain fitness level in order to benefit from the class?
SoulCycle is definitely for everybody at different fitness levels. We have lots of young riders, lots of older riders ranging from age 12 to 80. So it really can be for anybody as long as you have an open mind and open heart to give it a shot. I think it would really do wonders for anybody who wants to give it a try.
And in follow-up to the previous question, are there any client health limitations an instructor needs to know about prior to teaching a class?
If somebody has an injury it’s good to first consult their doctor to make sure they can be part of the workout, but also to tell the instructor so we can modify the seating position, and other positions for them during the class. Tell your instructor but talk to your doctor first.
Are pregnant women encouraged or discouraged from participating in classes?
I definitely encourage pregnant women to take a class. I rode and taught throughout my pregnancy. It was a great experience and I was able to modify everything. It’s definitely doable while pregnant but I would recommend first talk to your doctor and also sit by a fan so we can regulate the temperature for you. Talk to your teacher or the staff to alter your bike settings.
And finally, what do you want to tell the Houston fitness scene about preparing for their first SoulCycle studio?
Get ready, Houston. It’s going to be such an epic dance party so just get ready.
SoulCycle is located at 2549 Kirby Dr. at Westheimer, 832-968-7685, soul-cycle.com