By Bernard Vivy
On November 14th 2012, I attended my first Soul Cycle class and loved it. I am an avid sports enthusiast. Biking, running, swimming, hot yoga… you name it, I enjoy it. I was always fond of exercising but never knew how to integrate it into my overall well-being. Twelve years ago I topped the scale at 250 pounds and was asthmatic. After hours of mountain biking on Oleta park’s trail in Miami, I would go to a Chinese buffet and destroy it. This behavior was common for me until my buddy joining the military inspired me. After weeks of intense training he came back as a lean mean machine. That’s when I started my quest to be and stay healthy. I read every fitness magazine I could find and after years of reading I gained tons of knowledge and shed the pounds. Which brings me to the now. I attended Soul Cycle just days after Sandy brought devastation to the New York community.
Maybe you’re asking why. What was my motivation? To me, intense training is a metaphor for life in general. It’s always a struggle and there is always a reward if you are willing to work hard at it. A friend suggested I go and experience Soul Cycle since he knows that I am an “exercise masochist” if there is such a term. I jumped at the idea because I always believed in pushing myself to new boundaries and I love exercising… did I already say that? When I got to the gym at Union Square 12 East 18th Street, there were at least 50 bikes in the Soul Cycle room and Kim, the instructor was a ball of energy. The avid Soul Cyclists were already warming up when I walked in and I was getting excited with each passing minutes. The house music was blaring and the class started. Dark room, dim lighting, big candles lit by the instructor made the setting as the energy was building up at every turn of the dial. It was like working up a sweat at the club, except we were cycling instead of dancing. It was 45 minutes of pure intense workout, unlike any other cycling classes I took in the past. We did core work, abs, a full body workout while cycling and with the instructor’s constant urging. Afterwards I felt all the stress of taking the subway, work, dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane just leave my body.
Soul Cycle, and in my opinion any group exercise, makes you feel like you are part of a community and as a group you overcome any physical and mental limitation that you might have put on yourself. Everyone is going through the struggle together and doing their part to overcome their fear and that’s what I like with exercising. To me, this is what New York City is going through right now, you see people pulling through together; to help strangers, to rebuild houses, feed the hungry. The same sense of community is the reason why I sign up for marathons, Half Ironman and Ironman events every year. I train by myself a lot of times but knowing that other people all over the country or the world are training for the same event is an amazing feeling. That’s what keeps me going… knowing I’m not alone.
Bernard Vivy was was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and moved to Florida at the age of 20. He graduated from Florida International University then moved to New York in 2006 where he works as an IT professional. He is passionate about Triathlon, Cooking and social issues.