A BIG THANKS to my niece Lauren D., who currently calls Philadelphia, PA home. Working in the Fitness industry since graduating Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI), I knew she’d have a great suggestion for this final Featured Instructor Guest Blog Post. Lauren, currently Senior Health Fitness Specialist at EXOS, has prior work experience at SC Johnson and the YMCA of Metro Milwaukee. This was Lauren’s response: “…Kalika Fail…she’s awesome! She’s a member favorite and we are lucky to have her teach for us!”
So let’s MOVE along and meet Kalika Fail…
Long before I fell in love with indoor cycling, I fell in love with movement. I started taking dance lessons at the age of three, but really, any time music was on, I was moving. This rings true today. Even if I am just strolling through the grocery store, I can’t not shake it to the beat.
I continued my dance education all the way through college and ended up with a BA in Dance Studies from the University of South Florida. I am still dancing today at age 37 in a burlesque show in Philadelphia called the Peek-A-Boo revue. But what about cycling?
Rewind to age 15 (ish). My dad was into taking Spin classes and would occasionally bring me along. I. Hated. It.
On Saturday mornings, much earlier than any teenager wants to wake up, he would drag me into that dark room illuminated with black lights and an overly peppy instructor. It was exhausting and it hurt. Sure, I could have faked it, but half-assing anything just wasn’t (and still isn’t) my style. I pushed through every miserable pedal stroke; grateful for when it was all over with and dreading the next time my father flipped my light switch before 8AM on a Saturday. Looking back, it was just my dad’s twisted way of spending time with me.
Over the years leading up to my journey in the fitness world I would take cycling classes from time to time, but still didn’t love it. In my late twenties I began taking an outdoor Ranger Training class (boot camp’s more challenging cousin) with Sgt. Nate fives days per week in a park near my office job. This is when I truly discovered my love for fitness. My strength and endurance was challenged in ways I had never experienced, and mentally my life changed. Depression, anxiety, and plain old negativity no longer took up prime real estate in my head. This is what got me hooked.
Over time I added in kettle bell and strength training. I was a workout fiend and in the best shape of my life, but there is a price to pay for over training. Enter: shoulder injury. I didn’t listen to my body when those pushups weren’t feeling quite right or when pressing heavy overhead became a little uncomfortable. BAM. Smack in the middle of an innocent kettle bell windmill I felt a click (in my shoulder) followed by pain and weakness. There was no major tear, but my scapula wasn’t sitting properly in my shoulder girdle and basically some of the muscles and tendons of my rotator cuff were angry. I won’t waste your time with the details.
Needless to say, I needed to give my upper body a rest and focus on rehab. This meant I was no longer sweating out the demons on a regular basis. I was losing my physical strength, was deprived of my daily dose of endorphins, and mentally felt gross. I needed intense physical activity that required little use of my shoulder. Enter: Indoor cycling.
I made my way in to indoor cycling classes and that was it. I finally fell in love with going nowhere on a bike in a dark room. It was exactly what I needed!
The thing about a cycling class, or any intense workout, is that it makes you realize you can do things that are hard. When you can make it through the hill climb, get your watts higher than ever before, survive the sprints, etc, you realize you are capable of doing just about anything. You come to understand that your mental woes do not have to control you. You can navigate life with the knowledge that “challenging” does not equal “impossible”.
This is also the reason I love teaching indoor cycling classes. Helping people feel forget about the b.s. in their lives, watching them push their limits, and knowing I helped them feel accomplished makes my heart sing. Life can be difficult, but if you can add just a little more resistance without letting your RPM’s drop, there is a good chance you can translate that same determination to your everyday life. Even if you fell short and things are not going your way, at the very least you get to walk in to the cycling studio and sweat it out to the beat.
I have been a personal trainer and have been teaching various forms of cross training classes since 2011 and cycling classes since 2013. I have worked at various gyms and boutique studios, but currently teach cycling classes for BPM Fitness as well as for EXOS at IBX in Philly. BPM is a brand new cycling and strength-training studio that I have had the honor of coaching at since it opened in November 2017. It has definitely helped me level up my cycling game! I became a Stages certified instructor and, damn, do those Stages bikes change your ride in the best possible way! I am surrounded by amazing and inspiring fitness professionals, including owner/rock star, Shoshana Katz. I have learned so much about motivating people from her and am truly grateful. It’s not about me. It’s not just about the profile or playlist. It is about how you make people feel.
So, that’s me and why I do what I do. I don’t plan on quitting any time soon.
Link to BPM Fitness where Kalika leads cycling classes: https://bpmfitnessphl.com
AND a 45 minute ride profile and SPOTIFY playlist:
Warm up – How I Feel / Flo Rida
Small rolling hills – Crazy In Love / Beyoncé
Jumps on low hill – All Night / Big Boi
MPH challenge at top of hill – Bad Girls – Leo Justi Remix – M.I.A.
Recovery into small rolling hills in 3rd – How Long – EDX’s Dubai Skyline Remix /Charlie Puth
Rolling hills w/ challenge: Make average and current watts match at top of hill – Dead and Gone – T.I. and Justin Timberlake
Accelerations on flat road w/ recovery on low hill in 3rd – Beat It / Michael Jackson
Flat road, active recovery – Cinema / Benny Benassi
Distance challenge at top of hill (double mileage from half way point) – A Milli / Lil Wayne
Intervals on low hill in second and flat road in saddle – I Wish / Skee Lo
Sprints – Yee / Deorro
Cool down – Girl on Fire / Alicia Keys
Thanks so much Kalika (and Lauren)!
And THANKS to all the featured instructors that have contributed an inspirational blog post over the past year!
Starting next month…looking forward to sharing stories and guest blog posts from the other side of the cycle studio, the participants, in a monthly series: WHY I RIDE…INSIDE. If you know someone who has something to share about their journey that includes a regular dose of Studio Cycling, please let me know via firstname.lastname@example.org