I remember my first time going into a big box gym and pointing to the dark room in the corner with no windows and loud music pumping out of it and I asked my friend…. “what’s in there??” She answered “it’s the Spin Room. You don’t want to go in there, it’s like a cult.”
That didn’t scare me away, that intrigued me even more on wanting to go in there. That was 13 years ago. I was 29 (almost 30) going through a divorce with two young boys, a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old. I was getting my bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and I needed a job to help support my children. That same friend talked me into applying for a job at that gym a couple of days later. I could work part time and get a free membership for myself and my kids. To me it was a WIN-WIN.
That part time job, as the Director’s Assistant, led me to a career in personal training & group exercise instruction. I graduated from Design School but never left the gym. I found my passion, my drive and my community.
I ended up getting the courage to take a spin class. I will never forget my first class…I walked to the back of the room in the far corner where it was the darkest and I didn’t think the instructor could see me from her bike. There I could hide and wouldn’t be embarrassed because I had no clue what I was doing, and nobody was behind me. I also had no idea how BAD my lady parts would hurt from taking a spin class. Thankfully the pain during/after class from the bike seat didn’t stop me from going back to class. I was hooked after that first class.
I loved the rush it gave me, how I was pushed by the instructor beyond my comfort zone, the loud music, the dark room, the amount of sweat that dripped off me. I knew I wanted to be a part of that “cult”.
I started taking classes 4-5 days per week. Eventually I got used to the seat and it didn’t hurt anymore. When I got out of class, I’d sit on the lifting machines and do a total body workout with weights. I ended up getting in the best shape since having my kids. I also started running marathons…I was just hooked on everything fitness!
I went from the far back corner bike to a couple of rows up after a month or so. Then I moved to the middle of the room, eventually moving to the front row bike in front of the instructor for every class. I had gained so much confidence and had so much passion for riding that I no longer wanted to hide.
Eventually I was asked by the head instructor to get certified to teach. I didn’t hesitate. Get paid to do my favorite workout? YES PLEASE! Sign me up!!!
My first spin class was a disaster. Our workouts were choreographed for us, we just needed to memorize them and teach. I messed up so many times, I would apologize to the members for the mistakes I made. That’s the worst thing you could do as an instructor because the members have no clue that you’re even messing up. I couldn’t wait for it to be over; it was so bad. But I didn’t quit. I kept on teaching and I got better and better with each class. Now it’s one of my favorite classes to teach.
Since my first spin certification, several fitness certifications soon followed. I have been a Certified Personal trainer for over 11 years, I’ve taught group power classes, boot camp, I am a Certified CrossFit and TRX Instructor and my most recent obsession besides “spin” is being an Orangetheory Fitness Coach.
High Intensity (HIIT) workouts are my favorite to coach or instruct because you can push people beyond what they think they are capable of. It builds confidence and burns a shit ton of calories!
I’m currently one of the founding Instructors at the best Cycling Studio that Grand Rapids has to offer, Lunar Cycle. When I heard about it opening, I immediately messaged the owners and asked to work there. I wanted to be a part of a studio that I knew would deliver the best workout and an even better community!
Since the hit of Covid-19, I have lost both of my jobs…Orangetheory and Lunar Cycle. To be honest, I have been depressed because those two studios are like my 2nd homes. I don’t enjoy working out alone. I need the community and the people’s energy to be around. The members are what drive and motivate me to do what I do. So, to say that I can’t wait for this quarantine to be over is an understatement. I look forward to the day I can walk into a dark studio full of riders, loud techno-music and sweat dripping from everyone…then I will feel whole again. Until then, stay healthy, stay safe!!
AUTHOR NOTES: Find Brenda SOON at Lunar Cycle and Orangetheory Fitness…or anytime on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Spotify…here’s a current favorite playlist:
Thank you Brenda for sharing…cannot wait to ride with you again SOON!