Finding Inspiration Together With...Kelly Middleton, Lead Instructor, JoyRide Cycling + Fitness
If you go to JoyRide Cycling + Fitness you probably know Kelly Middleton as the energetic brunette who delivers her own special brand of "whoop ass" and "real talk" to her loyal followers on a daily basis. But what you may not know about this former record-setting soccer player and mother of two is that she left her job as an attorney in Dallas to pursue a career in fitness--and she's never looked back. And while you may think it's all fun and sweat, in today's current isolation situation, Kelly (like all of us) is challenged with finding new and creative ways to not only motivate her riders, but also her team, her family, and herself. Here, the "Duchess of Fit," shares how she's coping with these uncertain times in the hopes that it will inspire you to stay strong too!
How many years have you been in the fitness industry? Ten! My first fitness job was at Gold's Gym in Dallas where I taught indoor cycling and boot camp classes. I moved out of the big gym scene and into the boutique world when I joined Flywheel Sports in Dallas.
There aren't a lot of people who would leave a career in the legal field to devote their time to teaching fitness classes. What prompted you to make the switch?
I practiced for about 10 years in Dallas, juggling lawyering with raising two children and teaching three cycling classes a week. I relied on my cycling classes for stress management, release, and some "me time." When we moved to San Antonio in 2014, the JoyRide opportunity presented itself and I couldn't say no. We hit the ground running as we opened the Broadway studio, followed by the Alon location one year later. I absolutely love my job and am so grateful I have found my true passion in life. I am much more personally fulfilled by this line of work versus lawyering. That saying is absolutely true: "Find a job you love and you will never work another day in your life!"
You have two daughters. how do you think your lifestyle has influenced them as far as their own health, fitness, and the body image issues that plague teen girls? With teenage girls, it is hard to know what kind of influence I am having on them! (Sometimes I feel like they don't listen to anything!!!HA! ) I do know that what goes on in our kitchen and in our house is under our control. I can't say the same when they are out of the house so I try to build a foundation of healthy eating at home so they can make the best choices when they are out and about. One of my most favorite memories is when I finished my first half-marathon last year and my girls were cheering me on at the finish line. They saw all the hard work and time I put into the training and were there to witness me finish. After the race, we discussed how hard work pays off and you don't just get handed things in life, you have to work for them. I can only hope I am a positive influence on their work ethic. My older daughter tried out for volleyball this year, even though she had never played before. She worked really hard during the summer and made the team. My 11 year old is counting down the days until she is old enough to come to Joyride so I am hopefully doing something right! How has your dedication to fitness helped you or spilled over into other areas of your life? One of my favorite authors is Glennon Doyle and she says, "Life is brutal. But it's also beautiful. Brutiful, I call it." She also reminds us that, "we can do hard things." I think my dedication to fitness has solidified this belief. We certainly do hard things in that cycle room as we not only work through physical obstacles, but also mental ones and we feel empowered because of it. There is no question that life is going to throw you curveballs, but how you show up and face those determines the outcome. Because of my mental and physical growth in fitness, I am better equipped to handle the curveballs in life.
Speaking of curveballs--we are in the middle of what might be the biggest "curveball" we've seen in our lifetime. How are you finding your JOY?
The biggest challenge I am facing personally is how to keep my routine in these crazy times. During the first week of quarantine, I was totally lost and sad because I felt like my purpose was missing. I am the best version of myself when I am busy, have structure and thrive off of other's energy. When the studio was open and I was teaching, it was easy to find my JOY just by showing up to teach! Obviously, this is more challenging given the times.
As this isolation period extends, I've been focusing on more creative ways to find my JOY. I scheduled my cycle workouts on forte and JoyRide's live instagram workouts and I also scheduled one house project a day that would keep me busy. I planted my veggie garden, cleaned out closets, updated my front pots and picked up leaves. Projects that I would have loathed before suddenly sounded more appealing. Do not underestimate the amount of JOY a power washer can bring you! My driveway and walkway have never shined so bright!
As the lead JoyRide instructor, being a motivator is part of the job description. How are you motivating riders from afar? The fact that many of my friends have taken to the power washer says something about motivating others. I also did my first ever Instagram Live last week and demonstrated how to make my favorite chicken salad. I am staying active, which is easy with so many JoyRide options for in-home workouts. Scheduling the workouts in the morning has been key for me to maintain the routine and make sure it gets done. I have been walking the dogs way more than usual to get fresh air and get out of the house. The house projects are also keeping me active. Mopping floors and picking up leaves are no joke.
When it comes to small, boutique studios, there is more of a community feel--it's more than a place to just go and workout--how are you encouraging your team to stay connected? When we decided to temporarily close the doors to JoyRide, I was very concerned about how the team would handle the closure and the distance, but we are doing a good job of staying connected in spite of it all. I am constantly checking in with everyone to see how they are doing and my favorite team "outing" is a weekly scheduled happy hour on Zoom. It has been amazing how everyone has been supporting one another by taking each other's in-home workouts and really showing up for their fellow instructors and our members. I have no doubt that we will come out of this even stronger than before.