Master Instructor Kate Hickl has been with Flywheel since the very beginning. In the past six years, she has not only surpassed the expectations and goals the company holds for their instructors, but has blown past her own personal ones as well. Ten years ago, Hickl knew she needed to make a change and follow her passion for fitness. She left her 9-5 job in marketing and spent a year obtaining her yoga certification. In honor of Yoga Month, read about how Kate discovered a love for yoga, cycling at Flywheel and how the two forms of exercise go hand-in-hand for both physical and mental health.
“Sometimes the most unexpected things can change your life forever. I fell in love with yoga back in 2004 — literally the week after running the NYC Marathon. I was looking to switch up my workout routine, and after taking advantage of a two-week unlimited yoga offer from YogaWorks, I was hooked. I went at lunch, I’d be back at night … it sucked me in, calmed me down and offered stillness and contentment that I’d never experienced living in NYC. It changed me to the point I felt compelled to share my experience with others.
It was at this point I decided to shift from my current advertising/marketing career to becoming a yoga teacher. I spent a year obtaining my 500-hour yoga certification through YogaWorks. I began teaching right away and fell in love with inspiring and motivating others — so much so that I added indoor cycling to my fitness resume not too long after! I found myself evolving as an instructor and knew that teaching indoor cycling was my ultimate calling. Seven years later I’m teaching 12 classes per week for Flywheel, training instructors across the country and I still find time to teach yoga and personal train clients on the side.
Yoga’s focus on physical strength training and flexibility provides an incredible benefit to indoor cyclists. It can help tone, tighten and lengthen muscles, while also stabilizing joints. At the end of the day, healthy, strong, supported muscles will perform more efficiently and effectively during physical exertion. Yoga also builds mental endurance and stamina. It calls you to be present in each posture and breathe through stressful situations. Similarly, a calm, steady mind and clear focus on the bike will keep you on-task and performing at your highest potential. We only have 45 minutes on the bike and there’s no time to waste!
Personally, yoga challenges me to slow down, to consciously breathe, to undo and to press the reset button. I spend a good portion of my day sweating profusely and yelling in class on a microphone. It can be extremely physically and mentally exhausting at times.
Every day is a little bit different, but the end result is always the same — I’m calm, I’m content, I’m more open and I never regret having carved out an hour on the mat to recharge.
These days my yoga is slower paced, modified, prop heavy and most of the time, restorative. I try not to put pressure on my practice to cure tight muscles and relieve all of my daily stress in one session. I just try and make it to the mat, listen in and let my body respond.”
FLYFuel for the FLYer and Yogi:
I teach all morning classes so I make it a point to eat a well rounded dinner the night before— protein, tons of greens and veggies. I’ll have a small cup of coffee and usually nuts with a piece of fruit before class. I tend to keep it light. I’ll have a protein bar in between classes and then a protein and veggie-packed salad for lunch.
Key Yoga Moves for the Flywheel Athlete:
- Pre Class: Roll out the ankles and wrists, low runners lunge to loosen up tight hip flexor and thigh muscles. If space permits, hold plank or down dog for 10-15 breaths to warm up the shoulders and abs, chair pose to warm up the thighs and glute muscles.
- Post Class: Anything that takes the body into extension (think backbends to help undo the cycling posture) — opening up the rib cage, stretching the abs and waist, low runners lunge. Eagle arms to stretch out the shoulders and upper back. Ankle to knee pose to stretch the hips (standing or reclined).
Read about how Chicago instructor Kyla Barbour trains for the marathon with Flywheel.
New to FlyBarre? Read this success story and learn the benefits.
Enjoy these smoothies pre or post-FLY.