When you focus on all the things you’re grateful for, it can help you lead a happier, healthier life. We often share stories from our riders and pulsers who are thankful for our instructors who lead inspiring classes and push them to work harder than they ever thought possible. But, little might you know, our instructors are pretty thankful for you, too.
This Thanksgiving, we turned the tables and asked instructors from LA to Boston and every studio in between to open up and share stories about the riders and pulsers that have made an impact on their lives, one class at a time.
STEPHANIE SUTTON, FLYWHEEL DC
My Time at FLY: I have been with Flywheel since opening day in DC. I taught the very first class!
I’m Thankful For My Riders For Teaching Me: The power of community.
The Standout Memory I’m Most Thankful For: One of my most memorable Flywheel classes so far was on the Sunday after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. The mood in DC had been celebratory all weekend, but the energy in the stadium was just insane. I felt so grateful to be able to impart my own excitement around this historic moment to our 63 riders – and if the “woo-hoos!” were any indication, they were similarly elated by the Court’s ruling.
Outside of Flywheel, I’m Thankful For… My Strength. Looking back on this year, I’m thankful to have been able to run – and finish! – Hood to Coast, the world’s biggest relay race, with a team of amazing, inspiring women. It was an incredible experience, and one that challenged my assumptions about my strength, encouraged me to build new friendships, and allowed me to support the American Lung Association along the way.
SARAH HOFFMAN, FLYWHEEL AND FLYBARRE BAY AREA
My Time at FLY: I have been teaching in the Bay Area for 6 months.
I’m Thankful For My Riders and Pulsers For Teaching Me: How important it is to have an outlet that you enjoy that takes you away from the daily stresses in life and to make time for yourself.
What I’ve Learned From My Clients: For many of my riders and pulsers, Flywheel is where they come to de-stress, get their endorphins flowing, and do something positive for themselves. I love having one-on-one conversations with them before and after class. These interactions so often remind me how important it is to do something that you love and that makes you happy.
Outside of Flywheel, I’m Thankful for… Love. Outside of Flywheel and FlyBarre, I am thankful for the health of my family and friends as well as my fiancé. We’re planning our wedding and getting married in the winter.
JENNA BERTRAM, FLYWHEEL AND FLYBARRE CHARLOTTE
My Time at FLY: I have been with Flywheel for four years.
Why I’m Grateful To Teach: As an instructor, I’m often thanked for for inspiring riders and pushing them to new limits, but my riders and pulsers inspire me every day. Many of my regular riders and pulsers have given me advice through some major life events, from getting married to buying my first home. They’ve taught me how to slow down and stress less, and to enjoy every single day and all the craziness that it may bring. Plus, their drive to be stronger, healthier and happier helps me motivate them even more.
Why I’m Thankful For My #FLYFam: They are reason I wake up every single day excited to go to work. Many of my riders and pulsers have become like family to me and when I walk into the studio I feel like I’m at home!
LINDSEY MCMEEN, FLYWHEEL CHICAGO
My Time at FLY: I have been with Flywheel for two and a half years.
I’m Thankful for My Riders for Teaching Me: Strength and perseverance
Why I’m Grateful for Change: When I moved from New York to Chicago, I was a bit nervous about making friends and feeling a part of the community right off the bat. Among many of the riders who were so amazing through my transition to the Chicago team, Casey Zacker has made a biggest impact. She’s been the ultimate cheerleader and badass rider in class and has helped me feel comfortable since day one. Thanks, Casey, for your support, love, and friendship!
Outside of Flywheel, I’m Thankful for… My family and friends, both old and new. They have become my rocks and I don’t know where I’d be without them.
ANN MARIE WEEKS, FLYWHEEL BUCKHEAD
My Time at FLY: I have been with Flywheel since the opening of the Buckhead studio almost four years ago!
I’m Thankful for my Riders For Teaching Me: The power of a positive attitude. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is getting to know the riders on a personal level. I know that some deal with struggles such as caring for an ailing parent, or having a difficult job or a chronic illness. But the minute they enter the studio, they are focused and committed to their workout. Their positive attitudes are contagious and inspire me every class to be the best I can be.
Outside of Flywheel, I’m Thankful for … My amazing family, friends, and good health.
DESTINEE SMITH, FLYBARRE DC
My Time at FLY: I have been with Flywheel Dupont since sneak-peeks on April 28, 2015!
I’m Thankful for my Pulsers For Teaching Me: Perseverance. Speaking with most of my clients gives me a chance to learn more about their fitness goals. Some want toned arms, some want stronger reflexes. One of my frequent pulsers, Tracey Salazar, is focused on perfecting her alignment, and she works fiercely and intelligently in every class.
How I Channel Gratitude into Teaching: Learning my clients’ fitness goals does influence my overall outlook. For example, if my clients have a goal of maintaining the shape rather than making the shape deeper, I have to keep in mind their level of fitness and consider their needs. I’m always there to give an extra push!
Outside of Flywheel, I’m Thankful for … Giving back. I’ll be working as a rehabilitation counselor (for clients who have schizophrenia/bipolar) on Thanksgiving – I’ll get to be their family for the day. On a lighter note, I’m also thankful for pumpkin soup, pumpkin coffee and my amazingly funny family.
CATHY O’MEARA, FLYWHEEL ATLANTA
My Time at FLY: I’ve been with Flywheel for almost 4 years
I’m Thankful for my Riders For Teaching Me: How to accept, listen, and improve. I’ve been teaching fitness for over 25 years, and as you get older, you get wiser. I always ask what I can do for my riders, and not what I can do for myself.
Outside of Flywheel, I’m Thankful for… The health of myself, my three kids, and my husband. As long as they’re happy and healthy, life is good. It’s that simple.
ALEX SWEENEY, FLYWHEEL SEATTLE
My Time at FLY: I have been at Flywheel for almost 2 years
I’m Thankful for My Riders for Teaching Me: That we all have to power to impact each other’s lives in a positive way.
How I Channel Gratitude into Teaching: Riders have told me that something I said in class inspired them to make change in their own life or allowed them to let go of something they were stuck on. I’ve seen a rider reach out to a parent they hadn’t had a relationship with for years. These instances make me realize how much we all affect each other in everything we do. Teaching can be the most fulfilling thing ever.
Outside of Flywheel, I’m Thankful for … My growing family and my body’s ability to adapt and change. My husband and I are expecting our first child in May! My Favorite Thanksgiving Tradition: I bake my grandmother’s special 3-Hour Rolls and Corn Pudding. The rolls take almost an entire day to prepare and bake, but are so worth it – they’re not the healthiest (hello butter!), but it’s such a tasty holiday tradition to carry on.
ASHLEY LIU KIRKMAN, FLYWHEEL RALEIGH
My Time at FLY: I’ve been with Flywheel for one year.
I’m Thankful for My Riders for Teaching Me: The importance of leaving the world at the stadium door. So many riders have told me how much they value the time they get to spend in class. When the lights go out and the music goes on, it’s a chance for them to refresh their mind and rebalance their day. A rider once told me that Flywheel gave her an opportunity to be present – to turn off the world for 45 minutes and focus on nothing but the beauty of music and movement. This was a fantastic reminder to live in the moment.
Outside of Flywheel, I’m Thankful for … My Family. I cannot imagine life without my children, and I’m so lucky to have them.
NICOLE HINTERBERGER, FLYWHEEL PHILLY
My Time at FLY: Two and a half years.
I’m Thankful for My Riders for Teaching Me: Determination!
The Rider I’m Most Thankful For: In June 2013, rider Bruce Silverman suffered a road biking accident that left him with a severe shoulder injury that required surgery and an aggressive course of post-operative physical therapy. He worked hard through his rehab, “graduated” from PT, and soon wanted to return to his prior level of exercise. His wife Jody had been taking classes at Flywheel and recommended he come with her. Flywheel wasn’t love at first sight for him, nor did he rock out on his first ride (he laughs when he tells me about his “lame” score that first ride), but Bruce returned and began riding regularly. In the past couple years I’ve watched his scores, enthusiasm, and confidence skyrocket. I am continually inspired by his perseverance.
Outside of Flywheel, I’m Thankful for … Gratitude. It is so incredibly easy to get caught up in the negative. I have supportive parents, a loving boyfriend, and great friends. I am grateful to be coming to the end of my doctoral program, for my body, my health, and my intelligence. I am also grateful for all the insecurities, challenges, and mistakes of my past because they have made me the stronger, more wise individual I am today.
My Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions: I am all about eating guilt-free! The holidays can be a time of increased body-consciousness and calorie-counting stress for many individuals. In the past I struggled immensely with body image and eating issues. Since recovering, I can now relax and enjoy the food! And I’m grateful for that.
LISSA SMITH, FLYWHEEL NEW YORK CITY
My Time at FLY: One year.
I Am Thankful for My Riders for Teaching Me: Patience and perseverance for success. The riders at Flywheel are so special; they continue to bring out the best in me, which in turn makes me a more caring and improved instructor. Every rider I come in contact with has positively shaped and molded me to be the best instructor, rider, and person I can be.
How I Channel Gratitude into Teaching: As my riders break away from their comfort zone, I’m inspired to deliver something fresh, new and challenging. I am thankful to have a profession that never feels like a job, and for the deep relationships established, fueled by the motivation for self-improvement and growth.
Outside of Flywheel, I’m Thankful for … My family. With their incredible support, I’ve been able to find my passion. I’m also thankful for my good health and the well being of my loved ones, finding love, and for the friends who have always been there for me.
MORGAN GAINES, FLYBARRE RALEIGH
My Time at FLY: I have been with Flywheel Raleigh ever since it opened in September 2014!
I’m Thankful for My Pulsers for Teaching Me: No matter how tough an exercise is, just close your eyes smile and lip sync and you can get through it!
The Pulser I’m Most Thankful For: I met one of my frequent pulsers, Carolyn Dawes for the first time at a Halloween party last year. Soon after, she started riding and pulsing regularly and it has completely changed her life! Carolyn has lost more than 90 pounds since January and has participated in two Flywheel Challenges. She has become a great friend and motivator for all of us at Flywheel Raleigh. She shows everyone that with discipline and determination, you can do anything you set your mind to.
Outside of Flywheel, I’m Thankful for …My family for all of their help planning my wedding! And the small stuff, like Lululemon’s leopard print attire, and for my headphones, which let me listen to my playlists while I’m at work!
BRITTANY WILTON, FLYWHEEL BOSTON
My Time at FLY: I have been with Flywheel for three months.
I Am Thankful for My Riders Because: They’re my inspiration! Everyone walks into the studio with his or her own unique story and goals — career goals, fitness goals, weight loss goals, or just to sweat out their day and have fun. Whatever the reason is, what inspires me most is when I know someone is chasing something — it’s that fire and drive that motivates me to be the best I can be. The energy is contagious!
How I Channel Gratitude into Teaching: The Never Coast mentality is for real! From my riders, fellow instructors, and other friends I’ve made, these are all people who motivate me to be better every day. It’s my goal to do the same for them. It’s something special and I’m grateful to be a part of it.
Outside of Flywheel, I’m Thankful for …Home. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of year because I head home to New York and spend time with my family. Of course, I’m also excited for the food that comes along with it!
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