Written By: Shoshana Katz
“Okay let me get a little one, two, one, two, one two…” He was already five minutes late, came running in like a bat out of hell, but the man’s music was on point.
Can you guess? His name is, Russell Carter. The first time I took Russell’s class, I hated it. Yes, you read that correctly, hated it. I had just become a member of the Sporting Club at the Bellevue and had been dabbling in taking some spin classes on a weekly basis. Everyone raved about Russell and insisted I try it. I was not an early morning girl yet, so the fact that he taught a 12:30 PM class on a Wednesday worked great for me.
I showed up fifteen minutes early. (Really though, are you surprised? I get to the studio almost an hour before I even teach). I was set up, ready to go, peddling away in the front row. “Where is he?” I thought to myself. I just kept staring at the clock.
THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP,
Now listen, I am type A to a fault when it comes to my classes. I am planned out, profiled to the max, I know my music, and I especially know what song is coming next. He seemed all over the place, but so incredibly charismatic all at the same time. I’ll admit; he drove me nuts, but something about him made me want to give him another chance.
So I did.
Round two, three, and four of Russell’s class turned into a weekly ritual that I just couldn’t stay away from. I parked myself every week front and center in his class and worked my tail off. After class one Wednesday afternoon, Russ stopped me. “What’s your name?” he asked. I introduced myself, he thanked me for coming out, asked for my email, and off I went. Nearly a month later, he stopped me again. “When are you getting certified?” It was such an odd moment for me because it was like the man had been reading my mind. Earlier that week I had started looking into getting certified to teach. It was like he knew. When I told him I was looking into it, he said, “Good, because I am going to open a studio, and you are going to teach there”.
I got certified.
As a theatre major, it felt so natural for me, getting up in front of a room and “entertaining” people. I had fallen so in love with indoor cycling that I had this force making me feel as if I had to teach it. I wanted others to experience what I had; I wanted people to feel the energy, motivation, and strength that came out of an amazing class. I craved connection with the riders, I wanted to help people, and I felt so strongly that everyone deserved a good instructor. There were too many just phoning it in and it broke my heart to take class after class where I saw the instructor completely checked out; it was as if they didn’t want to be there. People deserved better, and I was going to give them better.
I became a rock star.
Five years later, I look back and I just laugh. I should have known what I was getting into with this man, but honestly, there is not a thing I would change. He gave me that final kick to get certified and what was my first Russell spin experience, was the start of the rest of my life. For that, I will forever be grateful.