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The Boston Brunchers had a different, energetic, healthy, and awesome experience this past weekend. We got to ride (spinning at SoulCycle), and then eat all the calories we just burned at Brio — both in the new Chestnut Hill Square (same plaza as the new Wegmans!)

So basically, here’s how the day went:

First of all, I bike almost every day. I have a stationary bike in my apartment and that is my main form of exercise ever since my incredibly frustrating knee injury last year. Since it’s low impact, it’s a great way for me to stay in shape without putting a lot of pressure on my knee. But here’s a little secret…I’m kind of a slacker at home. Yes, I bike for 30 minutes every day, but not at high speeds or high resistance. And I’m usually watching really laid back TV like cooking shows, so I’m not that motivated to go very fast.

So I was excited to pump up the volume after reading about SoulCycle on their website. “Nice, I thought. An exercise I can do with a little more intensity than my regular biking!”

But I was in for a huge surprise.

When I walked into Soulcycle, I was first told I had to sign a waiver to participate in the class. “hmmmmmmm,” I thought. “This may be a bit more intense than what I originally imagined.” Then a woman at the desk asked me while I was filling out the form, “Do you need shoes?”
“Shoes??” I wonder…? No, I think. I’m wearing my sneakers…why do I?… “No,” I said aloud. Then she handed me an intense looking pair of shoes that had a buckle contraption at the bottom.

Luckily Erica from Boston Rookie was standing next to me and I remarked to her, “Why do we need shoes for this???!” And Erica, who has been to intense spin classes like this before, said, “Oh yea…..they’re designed so your feet lock into the bike.”

LOCK? I was beginning to get scared.

Then the previous class session got out. And I got even more intimidated. Everyone exiting the classroom looked like they had just taken a swim, not a spin class. The brunchers, many of whom had never taken one of these classes, began murmuring to each other.

“Is that what we’re going to look like after?”

“I’m scared.”

I took a deep breath and followed our crowd into the spin room and was a bit perplexed. The room was black — the only lights were up at the front casting a red and orange hue over the room. I walked over to my assigned bike and tried getting my feet locked in….which was confusing and embarrassing because I couldn’t do it. But luckily one instructor came over to help me. Once I was locked in, though, it was a very weird feeling, because the bike at the lowest setting almost just pushes your legs along. It was like being on a bike treadmill. Once you’re on, you’re on. Your legs keep moving whether you want them to or not.

Then ourĀ very fit six-pack ab instructor gets on her bike. And her voice, loud and booming over the microphone, instructed us to get pedaling. Beginner? First time? Get ready because you’re in for a ride. There were a few regulars in the class, and they followed her instructions promptly, pedaling as fast as they could. Meanwhile, back in row 3 is me, cruising along. I started at a slow stride, a little timid at first because my knee said to me “you haven’t done a bike session like this on me…ever…I’m usually chilling out while you’re watching cooking shows…SO BE CAREFUL.” Then the music got louder and faster and everyone around me stood up on their bikes, I was like Ohhh my god I look like such a wimp! I sort of felt like I was in my high school gym class, and the instructor was my gym teacher who always noticed me faking it in the back and never hesitated to call me out on it. At one point she was like “HOW YA DOING, BACK ROW?” And at another point in the session as I stopped to take a huge gulp of water, she yelled again, “If you’re stopping to take a sip of water, how’s THIS for water?” And took her water bottle and sprayed it directly into our faces.

Regardless as to whether the comments were actually directed at me, in a class like that, I’m sure all the newbies feel like they’re getting yelled at and are incredibly intimidated.

But. Needless to say. I biked with much more intensity than I do at home. And I was definitely feeling it afterwards. (PLUS, my knee was NOT sore after. I was amazed!)

Best part? We got to re-fuel after our bike session! So we wiped off the sweat, changed our clothes, and headed off to Brio next door.

The Brunchers after our intense SoulCycle workout! Photo courtesy of Renee from Eat. Live. Blog


brio 2

Brio is an Italian restaurant. And it’s conveniently located in the Chestnut Hill Square — so after a few hours of shopping, you can stop in for lunch or dinner. I also like the fact that it has a Sunday brunch.

brio 1

The brunch fair was typical that you’d see on other brunch menus. They started us off with a large platter of fruit.
brio 3

After the fruit they brought out cute trays of french toast stuffed with mascarpone cheese and covered in fresh fruit and powdered sugar. So cute!

They also brought out eggs benedict — which was on top of a beautifully fluffy biscuit with a choice of ham or sausage — uh. yum. (not pictured because of my silly phone accidentally deleting the image)

Also on the table was a beautiful hash! (pictured above)

I’m so happy they gave us this brunch family style, too. I would hope if a big crowd such as the brunchers came in for brunch, they would open the menu up to that option, because then everyone would be able to try everything on the menu — much like a buffet :)

If you couldn’t guess….I ate everything!

Thank you SoulCycle and Brio for hosting the Boston Brunchers. I hope to be back soon!

Note: Both the SoulCycle session and brunch at Brio were provided to me free of charge. All opinions in this post are my own.

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