The Power of SoulCycle

Growing up, I was always very shy, quiet and awkward. I never had any confidence, and I always worried about what other people thought of me. I also did not really have many friends.

Throughout middle school I became more depressed and had low-self esteem, my mom started taking me to the city each week to see a psychiatrist because she noticed I wasn’t the same as other kids my age. At age 14 after many many tests and sessions, I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PPD (pervasive developmental disorder) or as a lot of people know it as Aspergers Syndrome. At that time I had NO IDEA what it all meant, I just knew I had to travel to New York Presbyterian every week. My doctor at the time put me on depression meds and I never wanted to take them.

As a kid, I was one of the most unathletic kids out there. I hated gym class. I did not play any sports at all and never really wanted to, I did like playing video games and doing artistic things or playing with toys. When I was 15 after seeing my psychiatrist every week who notices everything about you led to me being diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. As if I wasn’t already a lot to deal with lol. I had to be admitted to a children’s hospital and being in treatment was really hard especially when they force you to eat certain things and having Aspergers definitely was challenging, I was a REALLY picky eater growing up. I was then put in day treatment at the same hospital several times if my weigh changed too much. The most life-changing moment was when I was 17 and it was the day before Christmas eve and I was admitted to a Psychiatric Hospital for my eating disorder because my weight dropped too low. I was there for a short time but in the moment it felt like months. It was literally like what you see in movies it was absolutely terrifying. It made me realize I couldn’t live this way forever.

Ever since then, I’ve been making progress toward becoming healthier. I went to college and graduated with two degrees, defying the expectations of those around me. I was never athletic growing up, but I began working out and gaining strength. I fell in love with Pilates, yoga, and cycling, but nothing really motivated me enough to stick with it or made me see a change in myself.

About two and a half years ago, I took my first SoulCycle class in Williamsburg. I was always hesitant to try SOUL, thinking, Why would anyone spend that much to ride on a stationary bike? After my first class, I understood why so many people do it and instantly fell in love.

SoulCycle combines two of my favorite things: music and fitness. I get lost in the music just like the hundreds of concerts I have been to. If concerts had SoulCycle bikes, my life would be complete!

I definitely was not prepared for my first class. I showed up in sweatpants and was not doing anything on beat. When the Woodbury studio opened near my house, I began riding there once a week. At the time, I had been unemployed for more than a year, had moved back home and, needless to say, I was not super-confident in myself.

But each SOUL class helped me not only work out my body but my mind as well. I kept coming back for more. I started out sitting in the back corner and now sit in the front sidebar or front row of all my classes — and kill it in every class. While I may not be perfect riding I put in 100 percent effort each time. I went from only going to one instructor to having way too many favorite instructors. I love tapping it back with all my favorite instructors and some have become friends and are all so positive and encouraging!

I now ride a few times a week and have made so many awesome SOUL friends. I would ride twice a day if I could! I love going to class when I’m having a bad day. Hearing positive quotes or mantras while sweating it out on the bike definitely makes you feel better! There is no greater feeling than riding in a room full of 60 people and hearing your favorite instructor cheer you on, saying, “You got this, Kelli,!” or, “Yeah, Kelli,” or when they play one of your favorite songs and dedicate it to you in front of the whole class. It definitely makes you feel like a rockstar!

I have met so many great people of all ages who ride — they are truly my SOUL family. It’s a great feeling to ride in a room of 60 people on a day that’s not your strongest, then look across the room and see one of your friends absolutely killing it – it definitely keeps you motivated!

Since I started at SoulCycle it got me started int other workouts that I have come to love. I also go to Orangetheory with some friends and absolutely love it!! I am not a runner I hate running but the class makes you power walk, jog. or run..and I am now a runner or jogger! I also like that it incorporates a rower and strength exercises. It has helped me become very strong.. so long to my weak fragile days when I was always tired. This year I even completed my first 5k for St. Judes. I would have never thought I was capable of running a 5k! I also enjoy doing weekly barre, pilates, and hot yoga classes. I love trying new fitness classes and with every class puts me in a position to meet new people and make new friends.

When I first started riding at SoulCycle, I was always quiet and kept to myself. Now, at age 28, my confidence has never been as high as it is now, and I am always one of the loudest, craziest, most outgoing people in class. People know who I am!

I am the healthiest and strongest I have ever been. I am vegan and I eat an extremely healthy diet, making sure to fuel myself properly before and after rides (it’s so important!).

I often feel quirky and awkward, but fitness has helped me embrace my individuality and be confident in who I am as a person. I am so thankful to all of the awesome instructors who motivate me each week in any class I take and to all the friends I have made. After a SOUL workout, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I will be super-hyper, energetic and happy, which always has people asking things like, “What are you on?” “How much coffee did you have?” My response? “I’m just on a SoulCycle high.”

I still struggle with lots of things, like what I want to do in life. I hope this story helps inspire and motivate others to accomplish their goals and dreams. You have the power within you to overcome anything life throws at you. Maybe one day I can inspire and help motivate others like everyone I know has inspired me.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me on my fitness journey and on my life journey. In life everyone is dealt with different cards, I was born with Aspergers, and just because I am quirky and my brain works differently than a lot of people, it just means I was born to be Awesome!

About the Author: Kelli Ann Fisher is a self-described fashionista with a passion for all things health and fitness. When she’s not at SoulCycle or the gym, she can be found rocking out to a live show or in the kitchen perfecting her all-vegan culinary skills. With an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Services, she loves bringing people together around a tasty, healthy meal.