A local cycling instructor encourages students to reach for inner strength, while having fun in the meantime.
Sydney Miller, cycling instructor (aka CycleStar) at the newly opened CycleBar on Magazine Street, is originally from New York. She eventually came to New Orleans for her teaching certification — she’s also an English teacher — but she moved back to New York for grad school. “I couldn’t stay away from New Orleans for too long,” she says.
Miller has always been an athlete, and, growing up, her primary sport was swimming. She event swam sprint freestyle for her college team. During her off-season, she would take spin classes as a way to stay in shape. “I was hooked by the loud music, dark room and a safe space to work through whatever was going on in my life. I had a feeling that I wanted to provide that space for other people, and promised myself I would make it happen one day.”
That promise came true, and now Miller has been teaching spin for four years. She’s loved every second of it, she says.
CycleBar, where you can now find Miller teaching, opened last June. “CycleBar opened just this summer with our Free Blast classes,” Miller says. “This gave lots of people a chance to try out the classes free of charge. Our regular schedule began in July, so we are still pretty new! CycleBar offers a 50-minute total body workout, with about a 4-minute stretch included. On top of that, we offer an experience that aims to tap into something deeper; an opportunity for you to reach a new level of strength that you did not know to be possible. We offer a community of awesome people, and, of course, free shoe rentals, water bottles, fruit [and more].”
While the sense of community is strong at CycleBar, each CycleBar instructor has different styles. “Everyone offers something different in their music taste and their approach to choreography,” she says. “We’re encouraged to bring out our personalities in each and every one of our rides. My class takes place mostly out of the saddle. I incorporate a lot of choreography and some motivational speech to keep my riders inspired. Every playlist is different, and offers some new moves, and a new level of challenge. I love my music, so I hope you will too. We offer a free 30-minute intro class every Saturday at 12:15 p.m. for new riders to try CycleBar.”
For Miller, it’s all about inspiring people to push themselves, and therefore increase their own strength and confidence. “When we are healthy and fit, our whole quality of life improves,” she says. “I love making working out feel fun, exciting and totally addicting.”
ON STAYING MOTIVATED
“My fitness goals are based around finding a routine that I can maintain,” Miller says. “I find if I can stay consistent, working out is much more enjoyable, and I know how much better I feel when I am giving myself time to care for myself. Becoming a fitness instructor has helped me to solidify that time in my day. I also stay motivated by knowing that if I’m in a consistent workout routine, the rest falls into place. I automatically eat healthier because I crave healthier food.”
“I eat very often because I get hungry very often,” Miller says. “I am the snack queen! My 7th graders make fun of me because my lunch bag is so large, and chock full! I try to bring lots of fruits and veggies to snack on. I eat a lot of almond butter, avocados — those healthy fats that keep me full and energized. I went through a whole-30 stage, but I decided I really like sandwiches too much. I think it’s a great concept though that teaches you to fill your plate up with fruits, veggies and protein.”
“I have one client who came to my first class at CycleBar and sat in the saddle for most of the class (which most people do their first time),” Miller says. “She expressed feeling frustrated that she couldn’t seem to catch the beat out of the saddle (also totally normal). She is a regular of mine now, always in the front row, kicking butt and looking beautiful. I love her energy and attitude about working out. She’ll bring her husband and kids for a ride also, which I love.”
“New riders are always welcome and expected to go at their own pace,” Miller says. “At any point, riders can sit in their saddle and work on keeping the tempo and increasing their resistance. There’s no pressure to incorporate all the choreography on your first ride or your first three rides. It is a lot to take in, so have patience with your process and look forward to building up your workout each time!”