Guess what Riders?! Its Julie's Birthday weekend!! In honor of her Birthday, we asked Julie to reflect on her journey on becoming an instructor and part owner Prime Cycle...
My sister who is a compulsive spinner begged me to take a class with her since she had clocked in over 16 YEARS of spinning. I was a total barre devotee at that time with a regiment of at least 6 classes a week, so the concept of spinning always made me shutter. I would always ask my sister, “Why would I want to be in a dark room with music blasting on a stationary bike? Nothing about that sounds appealing.” But she was relentless that weekend and insisted that the only way to cure my post-Hurricane Sandy blues was to take my stress out on the bike and have a solid 45 minute distraction. Little did I know those 45 minutes would truly change my life forever.
That class was a Rihanna theme ride that included music videos playing on a giant monitor and guys in spandex dancing throughout the room. What seemed bizarre when I walked in quickly became my version of heaven. Immediately I knew I was doing EXACTLY what I loved. I was dancing on a bike. I was singing, dancing, sweating, cheering and loving every single second of it… and I never touched my resistance once. My legs were moving so fast I thought I would fly off that bike (never did that again!).
Fast forward to a year later and I’d clocked in 275 classes in just one year. I was officially addicted… and in each of those classes I daydreamed about what it would be like to teach. To inspire people the way all those instructors inspired me. To help people understand that exercise CAN BE FUN. To let people know that you can get lost in the music. That you can move your bodies in ways you never imagined. That it’s possible to feel like you might die at any moment and at the same time feel beyond exhilarated in those moments.
So I did it. I stepped out of my comfort zone and became certified, but with zero intention to actually teach. I did it as an accomplishment to be proud of and thought my journey would end there. But then that little voice inside my head told me that Hoboken needed a studio like the ones I attended in NYC. Why should I have to take a ferry or a bus or a train to get this kind of exercise?
I was scared to do it on my own. I already had a business that I ran with my husband (more on that soon), so how could I possibly open a studio and start a second business. So, I auditioned for a local studio in town that was looking for instructors. I prepared a three song demo- Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5”, Rihanna’s “Right Now” and J-Lo’s “Waiting For Tonight.” I was so nervous, I couldn’t stop shaking. I got through my 3 songs and the feedback was crushing! I was ‘too dance-y,’ ‘too fun,’ and I moved my hips too much. I left puzzled, confused and my spirit was crushed. Dancing and fun were in my DNA. I didn’t know how to be any other way. So I put the instructing dream to bed- forever.
And then the best thing ever happened to me. A friend of mine, who knew I was an avid spinner, told me her husband and his friends were opening a high-end cycling studio in Hoboken. She asked if I would meet with him… and that’s where my Prime Cycle journey began. The first word they used to describe the studio was “fun.” Bingo! I found my home! I had the chance to work with the partners at Prime from the beginning to create something that we all knew would set us apart from the rest. It is possible to be fun, to be dance-y and still be strong, athletic and challenging! Though I wouldn’t become a co-owner until several months later, I still was blessed to be a part of the early days and for that I will forever be grateful.
The first class I ever taught was the Sunday 9:30am Power Hour during Prime’s opening weekend in September of 2014- only two years from the time of my very first class. I thought I would vomit. I was so insanely nervous. And I will remember the first song I ever taught for the rest of my life- Kelly Clarkson’s ‘My Life Would Suck Without You.” Who knew that song would be so literal and represent how Prime Cycle would change my life? After that first song I settled in to teaching the next 17 songs and I knew I was doing exactly what I was born to do. And I was doing it at 42 years old! When class was over I ran to my husband, who very reluctantly had came to class, and I cried like a baby. I was convinced I was awful and that nobody would ever come back, and he said the words that would change my life and my marriage- “I thought you were the most inspiring human being on the planet.”
The years prior to this moment were no different than probably many couples’ lives who have also been together for many years. Ups and downs, arguments and fights, and everything in between. But my marriage had a whole other layer to it- I worked with my husband every single day of my life for the 15 plus years we were together. All day, every day. Imagine that. We were running a successful television and film business but it consumed our lives, our marriage and it completely consumed me. All I ever thought about were my kids and work. I had nothing that was just for me. Nothing that made me feel independent. Until that life-changing power hour. I realized that teaching spin class was my escape. My oasis. My chance to not think about ratings and TV executives and mean celebrities and even meaner reality stars. I could focus on trying to inspire those who came to my class. And hearing Seth say those SUPPORTIVE words and knowing how much he would continue to support me truly saved my marriage.
For the first year, he came to every single one of my classes. This is a man who NEVER EVER exercised in the almost 20 years I knew him. He supported me through each one of those classes- dealing with my constant barrage of questions. ‘Was it a good playlist?’ ‘Was it too easy?‘ ‘Was it too hard?’ ‘Do I look like an idiot on the bike?’ He always gives it to me straight and if I am not at my best, he tells me… and that’s the greatest sign of love. Seth lost 25 pounds in 18 months- he was happier, healthier and our marriage was stronger- and it was all because of Prime Cycle.
Prime Cycle is truly my family. Not the building, not the studio, but the people. My partners Bill, Tim, Jeff and Corinne have become lifelong friends- especially Corinne who keeps the entire place, and me, together. The instructors and the staff are so supportive and dedicated to their craft. And the riders are truly my new found family. I don’t think people realize what an effect it has on us when they say how we’ve changed their lives or how they simply feel healthier. When I hear weight loss stories, or how we’ve made exercise fun for them… my heart just sings.
As I turn 45 this weekend (did I mention it’s my birthday!), my heart is full because my Prime Cycle family has filled it with love. I am honored to be a co-owner, an instructor and a friend to my community. I will Party on a Bike for as long as people want me to or until my body gives up on me… hopefully NEITHER happens anytime soon. Thank you Prime Cycle for giving me the life I was meant to live, and thank you Seth for letting Prime Cycle save our marriage.
HAVE A FABULOUS BIRTHDAY JULIE!! WE LOVE YOU!!