You gotta meet, Maria. Leading with vulnerability and positivity, this NYC native is now an instructor at her very own studio in San Diego, California! With over 10 years of spinning experience, she's got some knowledge to share. Read on to learn more about why we chose her to help us launch our newest Slipstream color!
What inspires you to be active?
I don't take the fact that I CAN workout for granted. I had an injury and big health scare a few years back and I know what it's like to NOT have the ability to work out so I'm motivated by now being able to do so whenever I'd like. It's what keeps me motivated even on the days when I don't feel like working out, I do it anyways because I'm grateful to be able to move my body.
Favorite type of exercise other than spin?
I actually teach a rhythm based total body strength workout called Rhythm Reshape, that's my favorite to do besides spin since I can get a total body strength workout using weights, bands, bodyweight. The music plays a big roll in the class style and format, so it has a lot of what I love about spin incorporated.
I enjoy video editing and photography. And also LOVE to binge watch trashy reality tv shows and listen to murder mystery podcasts.
What is your go-to song?
Being from NYC I'm gonna have to go with 'I Can' by NAS. But also, anything by Beyonce gets me going on the bike!
Go to post-workout snack?
I love toasted almonds. I usually always keep them in a container in my gym bag AND sparkling water. I am addicted and find it a nice refreshing treat after a sweaty ride!
What advice would you give to someone going to their first spin class?
I get this question A LOT and my advice is always to walk into the class ready to give and receive good energy. If you walk into it with good energy, that's what you'll get back from the instructor and from fellow riders and it will make the overall experience feel that much better. Also, ASK for help! I think people are afraid to ask for help when they are new but having the right bike setup and understanding the hand positions and how to properly use the resistance is so key to having a good ride experience. If you are new in my class, I WILL come over and offer help, that's a must for me before any ride.
"Spin really allowed me to see myself as the person I always wanted to be. It's where I feel I stepped into my true self and I really hope through spin or any form of exercise people are able to find what makes them feel free and alive and comfortable with sharing that."
In your opinion, what is your secret weapon that keeps your riders coming back?
My secret weapon I would say is teaching without fear of what others may think and teaching based on what I believe will challenge the riders own perceptions of their abilities. For me it's about helping riders see that they can push themselves past where their perceived limit is and even if they fail the fact that they pushed is the real win.
Can you share a favorite moment/memory from one of your classes?
One of my favorite memories was the first time I chose to teach in just my sports bra. When I first began teaching I thought I didn't have the right "look" on the bike. I felt like I wasn't fit enough, I didnt have 6 pack abs (still dont!) and that somehow NOT having a six pack meant that I wasn't a good enough instructor. But, I also get very hot and swaety when teaching and finally one day after so many classes teaching in a tank top I said to the class, "we talk a lof about fear in here, letting go of it, using it to push us further, etc. and today I'm choosing to overcome my fear and take my shirt off and continue the rest of this sweaty class in just my sports bra" The riders laughed and cheered and class went on and ever since then I've moved past that fear and now I teach in my sports bra. The best part of the story is that about 6 months later a rider came up to after one of my classes and said, "I was in your class a few months back when you talked about teaching in just your sports bra and it took me a minute but I now ride in just my sports bra which I hadn't ever done before. Seeing you be vulnerable and real up there allowed me to see that maybe I could overcome this fear too, thank you."
What is your favorite training tip/mantra?
Fear isn't something that should hold you back, you can use fear to your advantage, use it as a catalyst to propel you further. If something scares you, then you are headed in the right direction.
Have you been staying connected to your community during quarantine?
The biggest value that we as instructors (and as a studio) offer is the connection we build with our riders. When the closures happened the first thing I thought about was how can we continue to connect with our riders even though we're not in the same physical space with them. Using social media allows us to stay connected even when we can't be physical with each other. It's important to keep alive a lot of the small traditions we have built inside the cycle room together. If I am teaching a virtual class via IG LIVE I make it a point to start the live a few minutes early so I can chat with the riders taking the virtual live class. I like to check-in and see how they are doing, what they are excited about during the ride. Celebrating milestones, congratulating someone on showing up, giving birthday shoutouts. I make sure I respond to DM's and I tell people after every virtual class that I teach to reach out to me with questions or just to say hi. That's something we'd do in person, we'd stay after class and chat or maybe grab a coffee with a rider. So now we're just using the tools we have available (social media) to continue those conversations as best we can and keep those little traditions alive, virtually.
Anything we haven’t asked that you’d like to tell us about?
For me spin was definitely intimidating at first, I saw all these people who looked so fit and new exactly every move on the bike and I didn't feel like I "fit" in with them all the time, then I went to a class where the instructor asked us to look within ourselves and not focus on comparing to others and that really turned things around for me. I never thought in a million years that I would teach spin but 2.5 years later I just taught my 800th class and I am so proud of all the connections and special moments that I've been a part of with riders in the cycle room. Spin really allowed me to see myself as the person I always wanted to be. It's where I feel I stepped into my true self and I really hope through spin or any form of exercise people are able to find what makes them feel free and alive and comfortable with sharing that.
Did you know? Maria helped us launch our SEAFOAM Slipstreams but debuting them in a virtual ride! Check it out below.
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