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Soul Cycle vs. Orange Theory

Soul Cycle vs. Orange Theory

I have a love-hate relationship with this little thing called exercise, as I’m sure many of you do too. Some days we’re on good terms, while other days I just need a break from it and would rather go grab some food with my friends or stay in bed all day. It’s all about finding balance.

Two places that have made me love exercise are SoulCycle and Orange Theory. 


Last summer I fell madly in love with spin class. In the short period of 45 minutes, you can burn up to 700 calories and it’s actually a fun cardio workout. For me, there are a few things that determine a good workout. The energy and environment of the workout are major factors. With SoulCycle, you better go in already having your first, and maybe even your second, morning coffee because the energy is through the roof. The second you walk through the door the music is blasting. The music they play is very upbeat pop and hip hop that just makes you want to dance and move around. 

The class itself is held in a small studio room filled with a number of bikes, depending on the location. As soon as the clock hits the hour, the lights go off and the music gets even louder. Throughout the class, the lights will change from pitch black to all the way on. They do this to see how hard you are willing to push yourself when no one is watching. The lights also have a role depending on the song and ride. If it is a push pace song, the lights will go all the way bright for the sprint part of the song to wake you up and really push you, then go back to pitch black during the rest period. 

Another factor that determines a good workout is the instructor/trainer. There is absolutely nothing worse than working out with an unmotivational, boring trainer. Thankfully, SoulCycle instructors are the polar opposite. They walk in the room 1000% ready to work your butt off. One of the things I love about the SoulCycle trainers is that they do the workout with you. Their bike is mounted at the front of the room so you can match their rhythm and ride with them, which is extremely motivational to begin with, but I especially love when they see someone getting tired; they get off their bike and go next to them and scream and cheer to get that individual through the song and workout. SoulCycle instructors bring energy and motivation into the room and make you want to workout and push yourself harder than you ever have before. Oh, and they probably already taught 3 classes before yours, so they’re basically superhumans. 

My personal tips: I highly recommend trying L’s class in Westport, she is a living, breathing superwoman, and her class is so fun to take. Wear the lightest clothes you have, I typically wear leggings and a sports bra because it gets very hot in the room and you will sweat… a lot. Last tip, don’t be intimidated. Personally, I was terrified for my first SoulCycle class because everyone who walked into the room had been doing SoulCycle much longer than I had. But no one cares! Everyone starts somewhere and, at one time, it was their first SoulCycle class too. Just have fun and go at your own speed, or as SoulCycle says, ride to your own beat!

All around, spin is by far my favorite workout, but, sadly, I don’t have a SoulCycle near me at home, so I decided to try the critically acclaimed Orange Theory. 


As an athlete, I love to incorporate weights into my workout to really help tone my muscles, but I also love cardio to burn the stubborn fat. Thankfully, Orange Theory does both. Orange Theory is an hour to an hour and fifteen-minute class, which is split into two sections: treadmill and floor/rower. The class is held in a room filled with treadmills, rowing machines, and a floor section with weights. The room itself is black with orange accents and lighting, of course. Music is always playing, but not too loudly, so you are able to hear your instructor. 

On the topic of instructors, Orange Theory instructors don’t do the workout with you, but they are always walking around the studio to encourage you to work hard and complete the exercises correctly.My favorite part about Orange Theory is that they track the number of calories you burn, as well as your heart rate, so you know how hard you are really pushing yourself. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your hard work pay off, so personally, I love seeing “650 calories burned” at the end of my workout. Like yessss now I can eat that cookie I wanted!

The treadmill workout varies in every class. Somedays you are sprinting for a minute at 12 speed with a 5% incline, while others you are just running paced miles. Either way, I always dread the tread, but, in the end, it is a killer for burning fat and getting into shape. After half of the class on the treadmill, you switch to the floor/rower. The floor workout consists of several weight or body weight exercises such as TRX rows, dumbbell curls, and jump squats. Typically, in between every set, you will use the rowing machine and complete a certain amount of meters then head back and complete another set and continue to repeat this until the instructor stops you. Now, all my rowers here– props to you because this sh*t is hard. 

My personal tips: Start with the floor/rowing so you can really focus on your form and completing the exercises right while using heavier weights. End with the treadmill so you can really give it your all. If you start on the treadmill, you might tire yourself out too much for the floor and opt for lighter weights. Also, bring a towel because you will sweat… a lot... again. Have fun and burn those point day white claws off ;)

SoulCycle may be the workout for you if you prefer high energy, quick, fast-paced cardio that isn’t running. Orange Theory may be the better option if you want both cardio and weights incorporated into your workout. In the end, both places are amazing and you will literally sweat your a$$ off. 

Happy Sweating,

Kelsey O’Nelll

Fitness Class to Try : Zumba

Fitness Class to Try : Zumba