A local fitness instructor finds joy in helping people change their lives for the better.
Kathryn Skuba, operations leader at Tour Cycle Studio, is a New Orleans native and a Southern girl to her core. “My father lived in Old Metairie and my mother lived in Mandeville, so I had the best of both world growing up — the quiet Northshore and the busy city,” she says. Skuba danced as a child, but she truly discovered fitness as way of life when she attended the University of Texas at Austin in 1997 and began trail running to burn off stress. In 1999, a friend convinced Skuba to take a cycling class, and the rest is history.
“I immediately fell in love with the intensity of it and the rush of endorphins,” Skuba says. “I was going through a tough time in my life, and I needed that release. Plus, cycling classes quickly helped me build lean muscle and improved my cardio fitness. I knew that I had the energy and the drive to lead classes, and I wanted to provide that same feeling and experience to others.”
At Tour Cycle Studio, which opened here in Nov. 2015, there are a number of cycling classes from which to choose. “We offer Rhythmic Cycling with Tour50; high intensity interval training with our new TOURHIIT; as well as specialty rides like our TOUR UP THE HEAT series, which is a 60-minute class with no air conditioning focused on toning and increased metabolic function,” Skuba says. “All of our classes include hand weights for upper body sculpting, making each class a full-body workout.”
Tour is a unique studio thanks to the state-of-the-art sound system pumping the beats, while master structors control LED lights that move with the flow of the workout and the music. “It’s a full visual, audio and physical experience,” Skuba says. “Spinning is beneficial is so many ways. It’s one of the best forms of high intensity work that is also low impact on your joints.”
Skuba changes her personal fitness routine every few years as a way to keep things interesting and to stay motivated. From 2010 to 2016, she focused on triathlons, and, the last few years, she has enjoyed marathon training and HIIT workouts. “However my own routine is always secondary to my classes,” Skuba says. “I help change people’s lives. I can’t think of anything better to do with my time.”
ON STAYING MOTIVATED
“There are a few things that keep me motivated,” Skuba says. “First, I want to live a long healthy life. My mother was overweight and she passed away from cancer when I was 20 years old. I want to do all that I can to set my body up to either prevent or fight disease and illness. I want to set a healthy example for my three children. So many health conditions can be easily prevented by staying fit. Also given that I am a fitness professional, I feel like it’s my job to ‘look the part.’ If I am going to motivate others, I need to lead by example.”
“One of the best compliments I’ve ever received was when a friend told me I proved to her that you can enjoy food and wine and still look amazing,” Skuba says. “I don’t diet and I don’t exclude certain foods. What I do is make healthy choices and I follow the 80/20 rule. If 80 percent of the time I am heating clean, I’m solid. I haven’t eaten fast food since I was a teenager, and I don’t eat from boxes, cans or bags. I have 4-year-old triplets, and I will admit that it’s very hard to stay away from my kid’s snacks sometimes. I think every mother struggles with that. I also drink a lot of coffee and don’t feel guilty about that even for a moment.”
“There is a moment in my fitness career that I will never forget,” Skuba says. “I had been teaching HIIT classes at a gym in Mandeville, and I noticed a 12-year-old boy consistently coming to my classes each week. Right before the end of one of my classes, I shared my story about how fitness helped me through a very difficult and stressful time in my life, and that is what motivates me every time I am on the stage coaching. He walked up to me after class and he said, ‘I wanted to tell you that my parents urged me to start working out because I was extremely depressed. That’s when I found your class. I want you to know you helped save my life.’ That was one of the most powerful things anyone has ever said to me. It was at that moment I knew the last 20 years leading classes was worth every ounce of effort.”
“My best advice is to find something you enjoy doing, otherwise you’re not going to do it,” Skuba says. “If you have trouble holding yourself accountable and showing up, then work out with friends or use a tracking app. I love it when groups of friends come into the studio together because they can’t break their workout date. The bottom line is, fitness should be a part of everyone’s life whether you chose yoga, cycling, running or just walking around your neighborhood. It’s not a resolution and it’s not something that you do occasionally. It’s imperative for a healthy body and mind.”