This month Facebook shared a couple MEMORY posts that fit well with today’s JANUARY Guest Post…one was a memory from 4 years ago when I posted news about FLYWHEEL opening a studio in Scarsdale, NY. The other, a memory from a year ago when I took a FLY60 class in Chicago / Old Town…with Jeremy Siefken. FLYWHEEL was my first visit to a boutique cycle studio in Chicagoland, and is still one of my favorites of the 7 or 8 options in the windy city. Read on for Jeremy’s inspiring FLY story…
I was a decent athlete growing up. As a 4-year varsity lineman for a state-qualifying football team from a small Iowa town, bordered by cornfields, I spent 4 years focused on that one sport. My summers consisted of 2-a-days and watching film, my falls spent in the glow of Friday night lights, my winters in the weight room, and by spring, I was running track in preparation for the upcoming season. The sweat equity my team invested in the sport never fully paid off as our season ended each year in either the first or second round of play-offs. Although I am highly competitive, my devotion to the sport wasn’t necessarily to be a part of a winsome team; it was simply to be a part of a team.
After graduation, I went to college, and shortly thereafter, I saw the effects of removing athletics from my routine. My body morphed, and suddenly I was carrying around more than the freshman 15. I was unhealthy, unhappy, uncomfortable and unsure. I desperately wanted to drop weight but each attempt I made to reintroduce fitness ended with me throwing in the towel because I was impatient and results weren’t evident. I felt hopeless. When I was about to concede and accept my new status quo, I was invited to join an intramural team. After a few weeks of play, my interest in fitness reignited. However, I recognized it wasn’t solely the physical aspect of the sport that I enjoyed. What motivated me was the competitiveness of the activity and sharing the experience with a team. That was my ticket, my newly realized reality. I needed to participate in some form of group fitness activity that provided a competitive angle to achieve my weight loss and health goals.
Fast-forward 5 years – I moved to Chicago to begin my master’s program and I was on the brink of achieving my fitness goals but needed that extra push. That push was my induction into the indoor cycling world. My roommates at the time habitually attended a spin class at one of the box gyms in Chicago and were constantly hounding me to join. I felt a blend of intrigue and intimidation as they described all that the activity entailed as I was not at all familiar with indoor cycling, but I committed to try a class. A few weeks later, I was clipping in for my first class while simultaneously mapping my escape. Before I could fully bake up my exit strategy, the instructor roused the group, hit play on her iPod and we were off. Class rolled for 45 minutes and as the cool down ended, my roommates were eager for my impression. I was into it.
I attended classes with them from week to week and one night during post-class drinks, we decided to venture outside of our norm and try one of the boutique studios in the city. So, I created an account and signed up for my first Flywheel class. I convinced another friend of mine to tag along (I find comfort in numbers) and we all met at the studio. Approaching the Gold Coast Flywheel location, I felt like I was going on a first date. I slowed my stroll a touch, allowing that extra moment to survey the studio through the window before entering. Opening that door, I was unaware of the figurative door that had also opened when I entered the studio.
Fast-forward three years from my first Flywheel class, I now get on the podium 9 times a week, leading 50 athletes through their own experience. Every rider’s love for Flywheel is personal and stems from something different. For me, my first night in the crowded #fly60 class provided me the space to clip into the bike and unclip from everything outside the stadium door. My focus was on accepting the challenges offered by the instructor, seated in an auditorium of athletes, guided by the accountability of the technology and competition generated from watching numbers grow on the Torq Board. My musical instincts were stimulated by the way we moved, synchronized and rhythmically, to the pulse and mood of each song. The seemingly seasoned Fly riders displayed a fun environment, whooping it up and hollering back to the instructor. Walking out of the stadium, drenched with sweat, feeling the buzz spill into the lobby – I felt a part of a community. Those were my reasons for returning after my first class and for ultimately putting effort into becoming an instructor myself.
Now, when I take the stage inside that dimly lit stadium, I remain cognizant that every rider who enters the door is contracting with me for the duration of the class for various reasons. My job as their coach is to remind them of those reasons throughout the ride and create a space that helps them identify what achievement looks like for them on that particular day. I know that with each ride there is potential to push the envelope a bit further. At some point, I want my riders feel inspired to give more than they might otherwise be willing to because they know what exists on the other side of the interval. And, I want them to know that everything they’re doing, they’re doing with support.
Hitting play on my iPad each class, allowing the music to sweep through the room and wrap around each rider’s experience, my mind doesn’t stray too far from the moment. Yet, at the same time, there isn’t a class that I lead where I don’t recognize how lucky I am to be doing what I do for a company that provides a space for people to find what they’re seeking.
A class with Jeremy is a great reason to get to one of the FLYWHEEL studios in Chicago…along with all the other great things FLYWHEEL has to offer: the TORQ Board, stadium studio design, 45 & 60 minute class options…a great workout!
In Chicago you might find Jeremy working with aspiring MBAs at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Otherwise, you can catch up with Jeremy Siefken on Spotify, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Here’s a small sample of what Jeremy is riding to right now…from his collection of Spotify playlists:
A Lady Gaga vs. Sia Theme Ride
And theses too…
Thanks for the January post Jeremy!
5 thoughts on “#NEVERCOAST @flyCHI: A Guest Post by Jeremy S. 402”
And I get to work with Jeremy, so lucky to be in his world.
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Hi Steve and Jeremy,
Great post by you, Jeremy with FLYWHEEL. It was fun to read about your journey to becoming an instructor and as usual, I will enjoy checking out the playlist. A super idea to have a Lady Gaga and Sia combo because they are both so talented and their music upbeat. I have only ever flown to Chicago once for a conference and did manage to go to one fitness class (not spinning) and it was so different and so many people there! I remember alot of shouting and jumping around and I was laughing the whole time trying to keep up. It reminded me of when I attended the IDEA WORLD conference in San Diego and took a hip hop class. Clearly everyone else got the memo on how to do it. I hopped when they hipped and seemed like I spent most of my time trying not to flail into someone who knew what they were doing. 🙂 Thank heavens for cycling!!
Keep it up and remember to NEVER COAST!
bunsofsteel (aka Katy McKerney)
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Thanks for the note Katy! I’ve never been to one of those fitness-themed conventions, but I can just image how intense it must be with 100’s of group ex instructors in one place for 2-3 days! Have great week!