The Celebrity Body: we all crave it, but how do you get it? New York City cult indoor cycling studio SoulCycle certainly has the answer. However, its many celebrity clients and devoted community will have reeled from the news on Wednesday that it is forming a "strategic partnership" with Equinox fitness clubs.
The question is: Will it manage to keep its glamorous following and strong soul while bringing its effective workout plan to a wider audience?
Sweet 'A' List Sweat
Since it opened its doors in Manhattan five years ago SoulCycle has attracted an enviable following: Kelly Ripa, Brooke Shields, Chelsea Clinton, Jane Krakowski, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Jon Bon Jovi, as well significant major network television coverage.
Time short, cash rich celebs are attracted to its efficiency, it takes 45 minutes to burn around 750 calories; its privacy, the room is candlelit and there are plenty of dark corners to hide in; its exclusivity, at $32 a class your usual autograph hunting groupie can't buy in.
(Author full disclosure: I was once in a class with The Jovi and had to close my eyes tight shut and tuck my hands in under my dripping armpits to stop myself from stealing his sweat towel. Self-control - check!)
The Secret Formula
So what is the big deal? Isn't it just indoor cycling? The key to SoulCycle's success has been its philosophy: workout your soul and your body will take care of its self. Many instructors do more than increase your heart rate. They educate, entertain and inspire. One of the most sought after instructors, Janet Fitzgerald, brings a thoughtful yet fearless karma to her intense class which pumps to the beat of the hottest tracks, just off the decks of the L.A club scene.
With a strong pack mentality, egos are left at the door. Just another butt on a bike that has to keep up, those stuck in the limelight in the outside world get a chance to melt into anonymity.
Spreading the Soul
The Equinox strategic partnership, announced to the SoulCycle community via email, looks at first glance to be good news. Founders and owners, Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, gave their assurances that "nothing [sic] will change" with the stand-alone boutique fitness studios. There will undoubtedly be concern among the faithful about whether or not a strategic partnership could lead to 'Souled' sign .The icing on the calorie rich cake? You may get to bring a whole lot of celebrity soul to your workout at an Equinox studio near you....very soon.