Sweat Stories: Phoebe Dey

A funk. That’s what took me to Spinunity. I used to describe myself as an avid runner—I started soon after my second son was born almost 13 years ago. It became my “me” time where I would strap on my shoes, crank my music and just go. I mostly ran alone but often signed up for races with friends to work towards something. But 20 half marathons and one marathon later, I just seemed to stop running.

I’m a single mom to two boys (my older one is almost 16). They’re with me full time, which I’m grateful for, but it can be a lot to do it on my own. I also have a demanding job and in my year of saying yes, I took on the new role of VP Communications and Marketing for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. I’ve always turned to fitness as my escape and a way to take care of myself (also, I really, really like chips and wine). It’s one of the rare times I can work through things in my head and when I’m not a mom or boss, always making decisions.

When I stopped running, I was (and still am) a devotee of Sculpt Barre South in Windermere and loved the long, lean muscles it gave me, but felt like I needed more cardio. Then Spinunity opened its doors in Windermere. My friend Christina and I got a two-week pass to try it out and had Jeff for our first class. I’d been to a handful of spin classes in the past and have a road bike since doing our Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer many years back (it’s now collecting cobwebs in my garage).


But when I went into that first class with Jeff, I got overconfident and pushed myself too hard off the bat. Three songs in and I thought I might throw up. Oops. I figured out quickly how to pace myself.

I crammed in as many classes as I could in those two weeks and that’s all it took. I still compliment my two or three times a week spin work with Sculpt Barre and am slowly trying to work in a run a week. Aside from fitness, the commonality in all three of those workouts is music, which is a huge part of my life.

When I walk into my house or wake up on the weekends, my routine involves three things: turning on Spotify and connecting it to my speaker, lighting a yummy smelling candle and making a cup of tea. If I’m overwhelmed, happy, lonely or relaxed, I find the song that will match my mood. So the classes at Spinunity under the disco ball where we keep up with Jeff’s “down, down, down, down” as we find the rhythm in the music is meditative to me.


Sometimes it’s the playlists that will get me there—shout out to Jaime’s history of rap or Jordan and Christine’s Cariwest-theme class—but it’s always the energy from the instructor and the other riders that help me raise my level of intensity. I push myself as hard as I possibly can, knowing I have an hour in my busy week and want to make the most of it. I often come flying in at the last minute before classes start, racing from my downtown office where I’ve likely called my boys on the drive home, giving them instructions about what to make for supper.

As soon as I get in that class and hear the words, “Set your intention,” I feel like I can finally take my first real deep breath of the day. I may have to race home after, scarf down some food before driving a kid to hockey, but in that hour I don’t even feel selfish saying it’s all about me. Sometimes I find myself almost teary-eyed in class as I always allow myself a moment to reflect. I feel privileged to be there, I feel thankful for my career and that I’ve been able to raise two kind boys, mostly alone, and give them a good life. There’s never any judgement, except when the instructor says, “cheers your neighbor,” and I always seem to high five when they go to pound it. That’s embarrassing.

My workout at Spinunity is always exactly what I need. As an introvert who usually needs to recharge alone, when I get on that bike, in that room with my fellow riders, my energy is restored. I’m not a boss. I’m not a mom. I set my intention and I ride. And can’t wait to do it again.


All photos above provided by WeAreYEG.

#ridersforlife #spinunity #sweatstories