I can remember my first Flywheel class like some people remember the most important events of their life. Maybe because it coincided with one of the most important days of my life – my wedding (May 2012) . In my last attempt to drop any excess weight before squeezing into my wedding gown, I stepped into the indoor cycling studio and got an official beat down from fellow instructor Denise Duffy. I was hooked. It had been a LONG time since a workout had pushed me so hard.
At the time, I was battling numerous running injuries, so finding a low impact competitive cardio workout was key for me. I dove right in and bought the unlimited package. It was during the summer of 2012, when the manager at the time – Carrie Kaschak (now a master barre instructor) – approached me about trying out to teach. I was hesitant, but I went all in. I met and trained with New York phenomenon John Wellman. He almost broke me – literally. I was working full time during the day, training at night (sometimes as late as 10 or 11 o’clock). That’s how bad I wanted this. When I was finally approved to teach, I was ecstatic. I picked up classes wherever I could squeeze them into my schedule. That was August 2012. Quite a lot has changed since then, and I truly believe the series of events that followed is what has led me down the path in which I can pursue my true passion. After less than a year of being married – SURPRISE! – I found out that I was pregnant. I went through the roller coaster of emotions that every first time pregnant woman experiences. How much could I really continue my athletic routine without putting myself or my growing child in danger? How long should I keep teaching? Could I manage to continue to teach and work full time after the baby was born?
I played it safe. I continued my normal exercise routine (at the advice of my doctor), until I hit the end of my first trimester. I shared my exciting news with management and worked on a plan to determine how long I would continue to teach. My last ride as an instructor was at 24 weeks. I played it super safe. After a fun send off ride, I strictly rode in classes with other instructors. Probably the best training that I will ever get. I absorbed every detail (good and bad) of each class that I took. I hoped that I would be back teaching, but I just didn’t know where my life would take me after my daughter was born.
October 2013 – My daughter was born. The decision about whether to teach was easy. I had been sitting back patiently waiting for my chance to find myself back in the saddle as an instructor. A piece of me was missing when I wasn’t interacting with the Flywheel riders as their leader. During the time that I was out, I developed incredible relationships with many of the regular riders. These relationships will last a lifetime.
I taught my first class after my first daughter was born in December 2013. That’s right – less than 8 weeks after. See picture above. What a rush. I will never forget the butterflies that filled my stomach as I looked around the room at a packed class ready to ride. It is a rush that literally leaves you on a high. I was back. Better yet, I was back like nothing had changed. Like I hadn’t been off that instructor bike for several months.
That brings me to present day. Less than eight months after my first daughter was born – SURPRISE! – I found out that I was pregnant again. Now, I really needed to assess whether or not I could continue teaching (or did I). The answer was completely obvious. I could see the writing on the wall. For those of you who know me well, you know that this pregnancy has not been easy. I took several weeks off in August after experiencing a subchorionic hematoma. I thought that I had lost the baby before I even had a chance to tell anyone.
I dropped classes all over. I scaled back. My riders continued to support me. So did my family. It was during this time that I found the courage to start making big decisions in my life. Every day is something that we should cherish. Every day I should be doing something that makes a difference to myself, in a way that I can impact those around me. I find that middle ground in fitness. There are direct results staring me in the face. There is no discrimination in a workout. Every person shares in the same exciting, confidence building atmosphere.
It is for this reason that I decided to stop working my desk job full time and focus on family and fitness. I had my send off ride Sunday at Flywheel Charlotte. I am 36 weeks pregnant. After a rough start to pregnancy number two, I got my feet underneath me and found strength through those around me. I hope that I can inspire other pregnant women to do the same. In the last few weeks of this pregnancy, I finished up my certified personal training certification and my TRX certification. My next step is getting postnatal and prenatal certified. I have a passion for helping pregnant women find the importance of exercise during this amazing experience, as well as, every day people.
Thank you friends and family. Thank you Flywheel Charlotte. Thank you to all of those who have helped guide me in this direction. I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I can promise that I will do everything I can to come back even stronger after baby number two.