1-on-1 With Soul Cycle Babe Daniela Dib
I drank the juice. Isn’t that what they say when someone gets hooked on SoulCycle? After YEARS of trying every spin class I could find in LA, wanting...no, needing to understand why my friends loved cycle classes so much, I found myself at Soul's Santa Monica studio, in a class being subbed by the darling of SoulCycle, Daniela Dib, and it clicked. I can’t speak for all of the obsessed but I am sure most can pinpoint the exact class where they really got it. Maybe their instructor said just what they needed to hear in that moment, maybe for the first time they hit all the beats just right or perhaps it was a song that kicked them into #beastmode. For me, it was stumbling into Daniela’s class after work one Friday night; I was tired and cranky but I try to avoid being a late-cancel so I pulled myself together for the Beyoncé-themed ride. (Sidebar: Themed rides, yet another reason to attach yourself to the SoulCycle craze). In those 45 minutes I was definitely pushed to my limit physically but Daniela led the class with a motivational tone so that I was the one pushing myself (unlike many other workouts where you feel like you're a marine in training) and she did it to the best Queen B playlist there ever was.
Originally from Vancouver and a proud supporter of Drake and Justin Bieber, Daniela has been back and forth between New York and LA since she left Canada four years ago. Lucky for us, she officially settled down in Los Angeles when she became a full-time SoulCycle instructor in June. While she spends most of her time riding (which is “spinning” for all you non-Soulers out there), curating playlists or in a power yoga class, she is soaking in the Los Angeles luxury of quality time behind the wheel, working that commute between her classes in Newport Beach, Manhattan Beach, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.
Back to the class that changed my life. Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar’s “Freedom” came into the mix at the most intense part of the ride and Daniela said something that has stuck with me ever since, “You can struggle but you do not quit.” In that exact moment it was all about climbing the hill and feeling like I needed a carb-fueled pit stop but I keep that nugget with me at work, in my relationships and every 6:30am battle with the alarm clock. Turns out it is more than just an inspirational bit she came up with for a Friday night spin class-it is her mantra, “No matter what is thrown at us, or how dark and unclear our path may feel ahead of us” she said, "I truly believe that through times of struggle, our true strength is revealed.” And aside from a good sweat, that is what I love about each class with Daniela Dib.
I asked this PYT about her Soul journey and wasn’t surprised to learn that it is complete with a little gangster rap, a lot of hard work and an all-black-everything outfit.
What is it about SoulCycle that you fell in love with and ultimately led you to becoming an instructor?
I was hooked the second I took my first class over a year ago. I remember David Zint asking the room “Where do you see yourself being a year from now?" Without even thinking about it, I said to myself “Where you are." The journey to actually achieving this goal was such a challenge, as is anything in life worth having. But in the end, I am grateful it was so hard. It made me appreciate the experience so much more. It showed me how strong and relentless I am, and that in turn allowed me to grow as an individual.
How is SoulCycle different than other spin classes?
SoulCycle is indoor cycling reinvented. It is a one-of-a-kind full body and mind workout. The communities that form at SoulCycle are incredibly unique and special. For me, SoulCycle provided a space to fully discover how strong I can be both physically and mentally. It challenges me to no end, and keeps me hungry to improve. One of my favorite instructors and coaches, Akin Akman, truly pushes me beyond what I ever thought my athletic abilities could be (and I am a former professional dancer!) I am humbled by so many of the incredible instructors at SoulCycle. And of course, the sense of community that has been built by this company is incredible. At the end of the day, we all yearn to feel a part of something and to know that we are not alone on both the fitness and life journey. And for me personally, that is the environment SoulCycle has created.
Your playlists are INCREDIBLE! How do you build them?
The playlists are a very important part of our jobs. I am a hip-hop addict, so you will hear a lot of that in my class. Usually, it starts with one song. That song is generally inspired by someone I know will be in class, or by my mood in the moment. From there, I begin to create what I feel is a journey, staying true to the SoulCycle arch. Sometimes I can make an incredible playlist in 10 minutes, sometimes it can take 2 hours. I have never used the same playlist twice, so every single class feels like my baby. After class I'll evaluate the playlist -- riders' reactions to songs, how it made me feel, how it made the room feel, and continue to grow and improve.
What is your favorite part of the 45 minute workout?
I love to get speedy! Any time we start to really get quick on the bike, I get such a rush! I also love the moment of the go home. That last push, the digging deep and finishing strong is such an awesome feeling.
What other workouts do you mix in with your SoulCycle routine?
I am also a certified yoga instructor and love taking hot power flow classes. I make sure to keep y cross training a priority.
How do you encourage riders who are having an off-day?
When someone I know well seems to be having an off day, I give them the same attention I would any friend. I'll listen to what they have to say and ask appropriate questions while respecting their space and needs. The magical thing about SoulCycle is that it provides you with the sanctuary to work things out in your own way. Oftentimes, without it being directly addressed, the instructor can say something that everyone can relate to and the rider then interprets the words as they need. The dark room, the sweat, and the natural high from pushing your body to the limit allows you to be open enough to absorb inspirational energy. I've had my moments of real tears on that bike, lost in my own journey. I often feel as though the instructor is speaking just to me and helping me personally through challenges I'm facing. When I am coaching, if I happen to know things in advance like a rider going through a break-up, I will throw a song into the playlist that would give them a boost. If someone seems down and I know they love a certain artist, I will make sure to include them. The music does so much of the work.
Ok fashion. What’s your workout look?
What is your fave LA hideout?
I spend a lot of time in Manhattan Beach. After I teach class, I will jump over to Soho Yoga for a super sweat session, followed by an Acai bowl from Paradise Bowl. I'll usually sit on the beach and make a playlist on those days as well.
Complete this sentence: Mo Money...
Mo Money, Mo Travel
Guilty food pleasure?
This will sound silly, but I am obsessed with Kids Cliff bars (the chocolate kind is my jam!)
What is your latest splurge?
I’m in a long distance relationship, so my splurges are on travel to see my boo and my family.
What song do you like to wake up to in the morning?
Anything gangster rap.
Ahhhh.....a woman after my own heart.