Sweat Stories: Nikki Stalenhoef

The first time I walked through the doors of Spinunity I was with my parents who were training for a cycling trip abroad. They promised me brunch after so of course I was sold because who says no to brunch on a Saturday? I was so proud of them for seeking out this gem of a studio. I wanted to be a part of their positivity and encourage their healthy lifestyle.  I thought I was doing them a favor by showing up to my first class, I was wrong. I am forever grateful to them for introducing me to this magical place…Where my mind is cleansed and my soul is ignited every.single.time.

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Fitness in general has been a part of my life always. I have a degree in physical education and initially thought my profession would involve body work in some way. I have a fascination with anatomy and the human form and have studied it in depth through the course of my education and training. There was a time when I worked as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, fitness technician and then I took it a step further and completed my Pilates accreditation in New Mexico.

It was then that I truly experienced the mind body connection for the first time and where I began to understand the transfer of energy that happens and from one person to another through movement. I was teaching and training full time and the absolute truth is I burned out… and fast. I had lost my passion for fitness and physicality.  I have always been a runner and I will always run but even that became more of a way to just get it done and if I was lucky, zone out for a while rather than ground me and connect me back to my body.  Exercise became a chore.  I had to move on to a different chapter.

I always maintained this drive to work in the medical field in a more clinical way and a few years ago I started my career in the medical device industry where I work in operating rooms managing a territory in surgical device sales and I have been very fortunate to have blossomed in that environment, but it became my whole world. It wasn’t until I found spin and committed to it that I started to feel alive again in a different way. Spin reconnected me to myself and reinvigorated my appreciation for the body’s ability to move, to be challenged and to progress and change in its ability to perform. I am fitter because of spin and because of my new found friends on that stage that make these classes so epic. Spin reminded me what I loved about fitness in the first place and I was totally hooked.

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Yes, there are days when I have to drag myself to what I know is going to be an intense work out but never have I walked away from my bike wishing I hadn’t shown up. There is something spiritual that happens when the perfect track comes on and it’s just me on that bike, in the dark, working though whatever I am dealing with that day…it is my therapy. Sweating it out in that room has provided me with more mental clarity than any other form of exercise and the energy I am privileged enough to absorb from my fellow riders is real. I often catch myself nodding my head to the beat and I swear on some of those last climbs I have felt my heart beat to the rhythm of the music in that space.

I spend a lot of time away and one of the best parts of coming home is signing up for as many classes I can squeeze in before I take off somewhere again. It is part of my home now.

Every rider walking into that room has a story. We all struggle, we all hurt, we all leave in a better place and we get there together… and then we do it again 1-2-1-2.

See you at the studio, Nikki

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All photos above provided by WeAreYEG.

#ridersforlife #spinunity #sweatstories