The Difference Between SoulCycle and Other Gym Cycling Classes

Here’s the main differences between spinning and indoor cycling, and it’s worth it to buy individual classes.


Found a love for SoulCycle, but have a broken heart that you can’t afford its premium price to go regularly? This doesn’t mean that your days of cycling are over just yet.

Many gyms offer unlimited cycling classes that are included in its monthly memberships. And if you don’t have a gym and are thinking about joining one, this might be a worthy investment opposed to buying packages or individual classes at spin studios.

Of course no matter how great your gym (more importantly, the instructor) is, it will never really be SoulCycle. And that’s okay. SoulCycle is SoulCycle—whether you love it or don’t get what the hype is really about.

So what is the big difference here? Isn’t a cycling class just a cycling class…or is a spin class?

Cycling vs. Spin Classes

Even though many use these two terms interchangeably, there actually is a difference between the two. Cycling, more specifically indoor cycling, consists of riding on a stationary bike, following the beat of the music, and may even include weights or other choreography. SoulCycle, for example, is considered an indoor cycling class.

Spinning or spin class specifically refers to a format of indoor cycling that was developed by Johnny Goldberg and trademarked by Mad Dogg Athletics in the ‘90s. Spinning class only refers to the ones that include the Mad Dogg Athletics manufactured bikes, as well as its training program that is implanted in a licensed studies with certified Mad Dogg instructors.

To SoulCycle Or Not

Anyone who has taken and loved a SoulCycle class knows how addicting it is. From the ambiance to the upbeat music and freedom to dance along as you ride, it truly is a great class. And with the right instructor you can really push yourself and come out really dripping in sweat.

Whether it’s because of price or lack of location, not being able to go is soul crushing. Which is why it may be time to look for an alternative option.

There are some studios that are much more affordable, but some might consider going to a gym that offers unlimited classes. Along with being able to use the equipment and weights, having access to classes allows a member to try new workouts, challenge their bodies and keep their muscles guessing. It’s also a good way to continue to indoor cycle while also having the option to do other activities.

However, if you really enjoy SoulCycle and you can afford it, by all means ride your heart away at these classes. No judgement here (expect maybe a little jealousy).

Why Go The Gym Route?

After working out primarily at home, I felt the need to switch up my treadmill routine and pumping things up a notch. So with start of the year promotions at many gyms, now was the time to jump on a new membership. Included in the reasonable monthly fee at the gym I chose includes access to all equipment and classes, and I had to check out Cycling first.

With the lights dim, a motivational playlist and an enthusiastic instructor, the class was similar to my beloved SoulCycle experience. While it wasn’t the same, this has to do more about the instructor and their playlist. It’s the rider that puts in the work to make it a good ride.

Giving it all I got, I did sweat away all the stress of the day and really enjoyed myself (in between the slight panting at time and struggles to push through to the end of those hill sprints).

The best part is that I can return tomorrow, or switch things up with a different class. That means whenever I’m in the mood to cycle, it’s only a step away once I make it to the gym.

Some tips for those who are gym membership-free

Wait until the gym has a promotion on their memberships. This happens often throughout the year. Be patient, but don’t pass up on a good offer. It’s always nice to put $0.

Ask if the gym has a free trial period, which many do. Use this as an opportunity to check out a class.

Having unlimited classes might be an upgrade to a plan. This means those already a member can just add this on, or those who decide classes aren’t for them can take it out.


Instead of taking one or two premium spin classes a month, in many cases members can go almost every day if they wished as part of their gym membership—which means you will be getting your money’s worth.


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