Stacey Griffith tells Moneyish about being the spin master to the stars.
Ever wonder how your favorite morning show anchors are so perky so early?
Rising and shining with SoulCycle’s master instructor to the stars probably has something to do with it.
Spin master Stacey Griffith posted an Instagram snap following a recent sweat sesh featuring a trio of familiar network faces: regular riders Kelly Ripa (“Live! with Kelly and Ryan”) and Rosanna Scotto (“Good Day New York”), as well as first-timer Hoda Kotb (“Today.”)
“What a picture that was! Kelly and Rosanna and I have been working out together for almost 12 years. They’re like my second-longest relationship,” Griffith, 49, told Moneyish. “But I hadn’t ever had [Hoda] in class before, so it was so nice to have her.” Griffith said Ripa and Scotto take her vigorous class, which can torch 500 to 700 calories, every week.
And now she can count Kotb as a new convert. “I took Stacey’s class for the fist time, and immediately discovered why she is the talk of the town,” Kotb told Moneyish. “She ensures that somehow … while you are pouring sweat from every orifice … you are smiling. She is magic.”
Griffith started riding at SoulCycle in 1993, and teaching in 1996, and has built such a cult following that the 75 bikes in her E. 83rd St. studio are often booked two or three months in advance, especially in the summer.
But the California native’s journey to becoming one of the most in-demand senior master instructors in New York and L.A. over the past 22 years – with star students including Madonna, Mickey Drexler and Brooke Shields – has been a long and winding road. She candidly recounts her experiences dealing with her parents’ divorce and coming out as a teen, as well as her drug addictions as an adult, in her new book, “Two Turns from Zero: Pushing to Higher Fitness Goals–Converting Them to Life Strength” (William Morrow, $27.99) on shelves now.
“It doesn’t get more down and out than where I was — on drugs and having to sell s— in my apartment every week, just to pay my rent,” said Griffith, who is celebrating 10 years of sobriety. But once upon a dark time, she would party all night, and still roll into SoulCycle each morning to lead back-to-back classes feeling like crap until the endorphins kicked in.
Then after a close friend of hers committed suicide, and she saw how her addictions were straining her relationship with her girlfriend, Debby, whom she’s now been with for 12 years, she realized something had to change. She credits reading self help books, exercising her demons and investing in her students with getting to the other side.
And how she’s determined to share the health.
“Teaching in a room, I can only reach about 10,000 people a year, but there’s millions more in this country who need help,” said Griffith, whose book blends memoir and motivational speeches with meditation exercises and clean-eating recipes. “People see me on the surface as this fit, sober, happy, healthy person, but it took me so many years to get to this point.”
And at this point, morning show royalty is rolling into her classes on a regular basis, which Griffith credits to her competitive personality, as well as her colorful background doing stand-up and deejaying for 10 years, for creating a funky and intense 45-minute sweat session ($27 per class) that’s made her one of the most coveted SoulCycle spin masters. She’ll whip out a little Alanis Morissette or the Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Running” one minute, and switch to Calvin Harris’ “Feels” or Kendrick Lamar next.
“Kelly [Ripa] has coined my class as being ‘enter-trained,’” laughed Griffith. “It’s like a Broadway show, a night on the town and therapy. I just give the class the experience of being in motion, having your eyes closed, and having your favorite song playing. I want people leaving there feeling exhilarated and motivated, cleansed and happy. That room is one of the most healing four walls you can ever put yourself in.”
She rotates star students to spin at the front of the class while she walks among the bikes and pumps up the pedal pushers from the floor.
“I coach from a place of positivity. I don’t believe in the negative reinforcement that a lot of boutique fitness classes and boot camps are teaching, which has a lot of weird messaging going on,” she said. “And there’s some studios where the teacher stands up in front and doesn’t make eye contact or interact with people, doesn’t motivate them, it’s just, ‘listen to the music, and watch me do it,’ and I do not believe in that.”
The only time she has ever been star-struck or awkward about getting in front a class, in fact, was the time she coached Madonna. She spent the night before worrying over the perfect playlist for her Madgesty.
“I mean, the woman owns her own Hard Candy gym line, and she trains like a beast. I just wanted to do right by her. I just get so inspired by my students,” said Griffith. “That’s why I posted that picture of Kelly, Hoda and all of us. I never really talk about the celebrities that come in, but that was such a meaningful picture for me because we were all there together, women’s empowerment, and women fronting the morning news, and it was such a great moment.”
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