Meet SoulCycle Instructor Meg Ellis
Monica Jones | 2/8/2020, 6 p.m.
For over a decade SoulCycle has made a reputation for building a thriving community of fitness junkies, who scramble to the more than 80 studios worldwide to connect with their inner selves while reaching their fitness goals. Houston Style Magazine had a chance to catch up with SoulCycle instructor, Meg Ellis to provide tips on how you can stay intentional with your fitness resolution after Dry January, what keeps her motivates and how to incorporate the popular vegan trend into your lifestyle.
Houston Style Magazine: Briefly, detail your background and experience as a SoulCycle instructor or fitness expert.
Meg Ellis: Years ago, a marathon injury ended my running days and led me to an indoor cycling bike. I was hooked! I later became an instructor. I started at a gym, where I had to make CDs to play my music. The mic never worked and about five people showed up every week. I loved every second of it. Eventually, I found my way into boutique fitness which would inevitably lead me to SoulCycle. I remember my first class very vividly - I couldn’t name one song played or one choreography move we did but I remember the way I felt: alive with a fire inside. In the summer of 2019, I joined the amazing team of SoulCycle Instructors. I am very passionate about fitness, as it has had a huge impact on my mental and emotional health. I also teach Lagree at Fyre Fitness and co-founded my own start-up company - Sweatwork HTX - which is a consulting and networking company for fitness professionals, aiming to bring a sense of community within the fitness industry.
HSM: SoulCycle has become a fitness revolution since its existence what’s one thing you believe the brand stays true to that has made it so popular over the years?
ME: Human connection never goes out of style. SoulCycle is about the people. SOULFAM! The workout is secondary. I mean, sure, it’s going to be a crazy dance party that will kick your butt and make you cry and laugh at the same time but Soul is really just about the people and always will be. At Soul, you are encouraged to show up just as you are. No validation needed - where you are good enough - where you’re not expected to be perfect - where you do belong. Indoor cycling can be intimidating! I remember my first ride. But give it a chance - give yourself a chance. It might take a few tries to get the hang of it and that’s okay. You might have to sit the whole time - and that’s okay. You might not be able to do all the choreography - that’s okay. You are you, and that’s enough. Hang around for a bit and you’ll find that Soul people really are the best people.
HSM: We’ve all heard balance is key. What are some practical tips you can provide to riders who maybe struggling to find balance between exercising and dieting with a demanding schedule?
ME: Find what works for YOU. Everybody is different and every body is different. Don’t worry about what’s trending right now or what Linda from Accounting is doing. What makes YOU feel strong and nourished? Do that. In a rush? That doesn’t mean you have to resort to fast food. There are many options to grab healthy, quick (even pre-made!) meals - try Snap Kitchen! Revolution Juice (Heights) is my go-to for a quick juice or acai bowl. There’s tons of services out there that deliver meal ingredients to your door - and you can pick the meals you want to make! Sun Basket and Blue Apron are good options - I use Hello Fresh. Don’t have time to go to the grocery store? Services like InstaCart (and many others!) will deliver your groceries to your door - added bonus: you won’t get tempted to pick up unhealthy snacks at the store.
HSM: What songs are essential to your energy boosting playlist for SoulCycle?
ME: This question made me laugh because I have somewhat of an eclectic taste in music. If you don’t believe me, check out my Sunday Survivors (which have been described as “sacrificial”) or my Rave Rides. I love grimey EDM music - Bassnectar, RL Grime, Illenium, and Rezz. But I also live my best life when Hip Hop is on - Drake, Meek Mill, Lil Wayne - I also have an unhealthy obsession with Rick Ross, and I ain’t sorry about it! BUT - I have learned to love me some Pop remixes, and of course, Taylor Swift. You will probably hear “1am,” “Heavyweight Sound,” “Tiger Kingdom Space Camp,” and a remix of “Blank Space” at least once a month in my class.
HSM: SoulCycle and its instructors are known for fueling riders throughout class with inspiration. What are some of your favorite quotes that inspire you to push past your limitations to reach your goals?
ME: I love feeling the vibes and energy in a class that lead me to know what the group needs to hear. One thing I love to talk about in class is fearing failure: “Why have we been led to fear failure?” Failure is viewed as a bad thing - when it’s not. The magic is in whether or not you are willing to take yourself to the point of failure - “We shouldn’t fear failure, we should fear staying complacent.” There is a pivotal point in life right after you have been brave enough to fail - what do you do? Do you give up? Or keep going? That is your defining moment. I encourage all of my riders to fail at some point during class - but to “Fail FORWARD” and come out stronger in the end.
HSM: What are some other alternative fitness workouts or trends that you would recommend to riders to stay active in between their SoulCycle rides?
ME: One thing I have learned over the years to stress to my fellow cardio junkies is the importance of cross-training. Cardio is intense and some modalities require your body to move in all kinds of ways - muscle is needed to support those movements, so find some type of strength training to complement your SoulCycle classes. My body completely changed when I added strength training into my cardio routine. Personally, I fell in love with Lagree and couldn’t believe how weak my core was when I first tried it. After only a few weeks, I felt so strong and could see crazy results - and it’s actually improved my form and abilities on the bike! There’s so many ways to strength train - Lagree, Lifting, HIIT (Double Floor, all the way!), Pilates, etc - Take the time to really find something that speaks to you!
HSM: What are your thoughts on the vegan lifestyle? What are your tips for anyone trying to incorporate this into their diet?
ME: I have so much respect for anyone who lives the vegan lifestyle - I have many friends who are vegan, and the dedication is admirable. Just like any other diet - there’s ways to make it healthy and unhealthy, so I would advise anyone to ensure they still have a balanced macro diet (protein, carbs & fats.) I’m happy to see the food industry becoming very inclusive of the vegan diet - in stores and at events - there’s even food services that will even deliver vegan food to you! (I’ve tried them and they are amazing!) Check out @ararepoeboyz_popup & @kitchenninjaservices.