#parent | #kids | How Cycling Changed Me – Jamie Howard Became a Spin Instructor


Age: 42
Hometown:
Los Angeles, California
Occupation:
Small Business Owner/ Fitness Instructor
Time Cycling:
6 years
Start Weight:
210 pounds
End Weight:
190 and still working on it.
Reason for cycling:
It’s a great, low-impact workout with music that makes you forget you are exercising. I love the changes it has made to my abs and lower back—they are both so much stronger.


Before I began cycling, I would eat fast food at least five times a week, minimum. I would go to the gym, hold on to the handlebars of the treadmill, and walk at an incline, but I never saw any changes in my muscle mass or fat loss. I would start fad diets but not be able to maintain the weight loss—and when I would lose weight, I would feel tired. I didn’t like the way my body felt when I walked. Overall, I was uncomfortable in my own skin.

Additionally, I have two kids, and I wanted to better keep up with them. I didn’t want to be that mom stepping out of photos because of my size, or sitting on a bench while my kids were active.

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In late 2014, when I was 36 years old, I decided to try a spin class. One of the treadmills I would use was located near the cycling room; I would see people go into the room, hear loud music, and see them come out sweaty and happy.

I immediately fell in love with the workout. The dark room, the music, the ability to go at my own pace and not feel too pressured to look a certain way got me hooked. I started taking classes with an instructor whose music kept me going. After a couple of months, that instructor stopped teaching, and I started looking into how I could become a cycling instructor.

On July 15, 2015, I passed my training to become a Schwinn certified indoor cycling instructor, and a month later, I started teaching at my local 24-hour Fitness as a cycling instructor. Almost two years later, in spring of 2017, I auditioned for and started training to become a cycling instructor at Cyclebar in San Jose. Teaching for a boutique fitness studio really opened my eyes to my full potential as a fitness professional. Additionally, taking classes and teaching really helped me lose weight and keep it off.

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As I have progressed in my fitness career, I have learned more about my body and nutritionally what works for me. For the past year I have worked on eating less sugar and carbs. Before, I would order a breakfast sandwich from a fast-food restaurant; now, I enjoy an Herbalife shake. I also practice mindful eating, and think about how food will make me feel before eating it. When I work out or teach, will it make me feel energized or tired?

Currently, I teach classes four times a week and try to take classes two times a week at Cyclebar Sunnyvale. Once a month (or more if time allows), my husband and I ride outdoors, usually between 10 and 20 miles. We sometimes use the app TrailLink when we want to find a new route.


Jamie’s Must-Have Cycling Gear

Nike

Nike SuperRep Indoor Cycling Shoe

These cycling shoes have cute designs, and are comfortable and breathable.

Lululemon

Lululemon Fast and Free Tight 28″

These tights allow you to move anyway you want without having to adjust them. And they have pockets!


When I am on the bike, I feel like I am on top of the world. I feel free. I feel like all of my troubles have melted away and nothing else matters. I love it when I am able to hold a speed out of the saddle that maybe six months ago I could not. I love it when I am able to hold a higher gear and feel strong while doing it.

My mindset has also shifted about my body image. I have had to learn that it is not about being skinny—it is about being healthy. Yes, that means less body fat, but for me that does not mean being a size 2 or 4. I have had to learn that what we see on television and social media is not always real or healthy. You have to realize that you are human, you are vulnerable, you will make mistakes, and you will learn from those mistakes. Sometimes you will eat healthy, and sometimes you will eat junk. It’s about balance. Wake up every day and do your best. Take it one snack, one meal, one workout, at a time. Otherwise, you will feel overwhelmed and not be your best self.

I have lost over 20 pounds since 2017, but I have gained a lot of muscle. I can see muscle definition where I could not before. I have gone down from a size 16/18 to a 10/12.

Cycling has given me such a brighter outlook on life. My family can tell you that I am a happier person now. I feel confident in my clothes. I still have more weight that I would like to lose, but I no longer dread the process; instead, I embrace it. I would encourage other cyclists to enjoy their workouts. Whether it’s changing up your playlist, route, or outfit—whatever brings you a little more joy and makes you look forward to your next workout, do it.

Also, for those who shy away from cycling classes, try one that is rhythm-based. They tend to ride to and go with the music more. The workouts are more fun and energetic, and they go by faster.


We want to hear how cycling changed you! Send your story and submit your photos to us via this web form. We’ll pick one each week to highlight on the site.

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