Countrywide lockdowns meant many fitness enthusiasts had to leave their gyms and classes behind for at-home workouts. To help bring the energy and excitement of fitness classes back, SoulCycle has created a new way for fans to ride.
SoulCylce is bringing a socially-distanced, outdoor version of its popular fitness classes to cities across the United States. The “SoulOutside” classes are happening in New York City, Boston, Hoboken, and Santa Monica, as well as in surrounding suburban studios such as Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts or Montauk, New York. The rebranding allows SoulCycle to welcome back loyal riders and encourage new ones to join without the stress of being in an enclosed, sweaty space. SoulOutside will include classes seven days a week at each location until Labor Day.
Though SoulCycle sells a bike for consumers to ride at-home, part of the brand’s draw comes from the atmosphere created in the studio, from the special lighting to the music played over the speakers. To adapt to an outdoor setting, SoulOutdoor instructors will continue to shout words of encouragement throughout the class, but music will no longer be played out loud. Instead, riders will wear headphones for the class duration, a la silent disco. SoulCycle has also updated its cleaning procedures to keep customers comfortable while attending classes during the pandemic, with new guidelines including temperature checks before classes, digital check-ins, and bikes kept at a safe distance.
SoulCycle members in eligible locations will be able to sign up online for SoulOutdoor classes. The outdoor classes allow SoulCycle to slowly start reopening its studios, many of which remain closed around the country as the pandemic persists. The fitness brand has taken to Instagram to give users a glimpse at what its new set-up looks like, including posts of an outdoor class under an open-air tent with bikes six feet apart. The in-person classes follow months of SoulCycle turning to social media to keep its loyal following motivated, including promotions of live charity workouts on Twitter and creating class workout playlists with SiriusXM for users to listen to at home. As in-person classes make up the core of SoulCycle’s business, staying connected online during the pandemic could have helped the brand maintain its audience and enhance its digital presence, according to a Gartner report.
SoulCycle is working out how to gear up for a new era of working out while keeping its customers safe. By reshaping classes to fit an outdoor environment, the brand can slowly start welcoming riders back and boosting sales after months of closed studios. Though SoulOutside is positioned as a temporary solution, it could become a permanent fitness feature if fans find they crave the happy medium of togetherness and safety even post-pandemic.