I’ve been bitten by the SoulCycle bug and I’ve been bitten hard. This past spring I was treated to my first class at the TriBeCa studio by my dear friend Kara, and was immediately hooked. The pitch-black room was filled to the brim with sweaty bodies moving in sync to blaring dance beats rivaling any club. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced and I wanted more! Sadly that class was the only one I could squeeze into my jam-packed visit and before I knew it, I was back on a plane to San Francisco – a SoulCycle-free-zone. That is, until this past June when SoulCycle headed west and opened its first Bay Area location across the bridge in Larkspur. As a city girl, sometimes the idea of going across town, let alone crossing a bridge, is just too much. Not so with SoulCycle, where almost every Thursday you’ll find me and a crew of my pals out in Marin, in Lauren McHale’s (that’s her with the abs) 10:30am class, clipping-in and spinning our butts off. Literally.
As SoulCycle Thursdays became a routine and I started acclimating to the frenetic pace of the class I began to wonder what I could do to enhance my time there. I immediately thought of food (shocker) and realized that I could probably be doing more on the dietary front to help myself make it through class in style and gracefully recover afterward. Our instructor, Lauren, always offers to chat after class about music and nutrition among other things, and one day I took her up on it. Not only did I find out that the amazing cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” that she played during class was by Daughter, but she also agreed to share her thoughts on how to nourish yourself both pre- and post-workout. The results of that conversation are what you’ll find in the recipes below.
Before heading to SoulCycle, Lauren suggests oatmeal, fruit or other foods high in complex carbohydrates to fuel your workout. Even if you’re pressed for time, she feels very strongly that it is important to have something in your system so your blood sugar doesn’t crash. Fasting on nothing but juice for 9 days and then heading to SoulCycle is a big no-no in Lauren’s book. With this in mind, I decided to whip up a super simple but tasty green smoothie and oatmeal hybrid. Don’t worry, I promise it isn’t chunky! Grinding the oats into a powder before you add them to the rest of the ingredients eliminates clumps.
Spinach, banana and oatmeal smoothie recipe
1/2 cup ground rolled oats
1 frozen banana
1 date, pit removed
1 cup packed spinach leaves
1 cup water
Grind oats in a spice grinder or blender into a fine-powdered consistency. Combine these and all other ingredients in a high-powered blender and blitz until smooth.
After a class where you’ve been sweating buckets for 45 minutes, Lauren suggests immediately focusing on hydration and protein to get you back on your feet. I thought it would be great to have something I could stash in my locker and tuck into right after class, so I made a super hydrating chia pudding with coconut water, cashew milk and cinnamon.
Cashew, coconut and cinnamon chia pudding recipe
(makes 2 servings)
1 cup coconut water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (omit the salt if using store bought nut milk as there is usually already sodium added)
1/2 cup chia seeds
Combine everything except the chia seeds in a high-powered blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Add the chia seeds and on the lowest setting, blend just until combined. Pour into a container (I suggest a wide mouth jar with a lid) and shake or stir every couple of minutes to prevent the seeds from clumping. After 10 minutes refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours to overnight.
If you’re not up for a jaunt to Marin every time you want to sweat a bit, fear not – for SoulCycle will soon be opening their second Bay Area studio on Union Street and Lauren will be splitting her time between both locations. Thank you so much for all of these tips, Lauren!
Photo of Lauren McHale by Chris Fanning.