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Pro Profile: Ryan Foley, SoulCycle, Greenwich & Westport

With the arrival of spring we often look forward to Easter and Passover, Spring Break and outdoor farmers markets.  This spring, however, will be different from others.  Why? Well unless you’ve been hibernating all winter (which is entirely possible) you know that the fitness scene in Fairfield County and particularly in Westport is about to gain a new addition.  Come April, SoulCycle Westport will open their doors at 374 Post Road East (next to Trader Joe’s).

Photo credit Soul Cycle

Ryan Foley, Photo credit SoulCycle

What is the hype?  Those who have taken a SoulCycle class (and there are over 10,000 riders who take SoulCycle classes everyday) will tell you that it’s more than a 45 minute cardio dance party.  Simply put, it’s an addiction.  I have friends in upstate NY who drive 45 minutes each way to get their SoulCycle fix in Scarsdale.  I have another friend who battles Hamptons traffic every day in the summer to make it to the SoulCycle studio out there on the east end.  Devotees are cranky when they can’t get their fix.  They will do anything to get to a class.  Why?  Because you leave feeling better than when you walked in.  You feel like you can accomplish or conquer anything.  You feel like a part of the pack and a part of the community.  Oh and you get a total body workout too.

Yes, the studio amenities are top notch but what makes participants choose SoulCycle as a way of life are the instructors who are inspirational coaches and their insane, one-of-a-kind playlists.  I’ve had the privilege to ride with instructor Ryan Foley (who will be leading the pack in Westport) on several occasions and promise you that he has amazing energy, is passionate about his teaching and is so. damn. motivating.  Do yourself a favor.  TAKE HIS CLASS.  He will push you to make your legs move faster than they ever have before, he works your upper body to the point you want to scream and beyond all he is constantly reminding you that YOU can reset your day, YOU are capable of making changes, YOU can give it your all and above all – YOU are an amazing person.  A Ryan devotee said it best, “When you are in his class it’s like therapy, it’s all about his riders.  It’s never about him.  He’s there for us.”  I couldn’t agree more.

soul gwch

GWCH staff pose with SoulCycle instructors Ryan F & Mandy

Ryan was kind enough to answer some questions and give FitCT readers a preview of what’s to come (on or about April 23 is the latest)…

Fitness is a second career for you. How did you get into fitness and what made you give up Wall Street and make it full time?

Prior to fitness I worked in investment banking in NYC and at a private equity firm here in Greenwich, CT. During this time, I struggled to find balance in my life while working a 90-hour work week. I was eating poorly, gaining weight, not exercising, and didn’t like the direction I was headed. In December 2011 a friend recommended SoulCycle. Like so many others, I was hooked instantly and Soul became the place I would go to feel better physically and mentally. It was like going to therapy… on a bike with great music. After months of riding, I was asked to audition for the instructor program. Knowing I needed to make a change in my life, I took the opportunity and the rest is history.

From the reviews online I can see that you were quite a popular instructor down in lower Manhattan. How did you end up in Greenwich and what’s the biggest difference (if any) about teaching in the burbs?
It’s amazing how much you are willing to change your life once you meet a nice girl! I’m really enjoying living in Greenwich and it’s close enough that I can still make it to the city on occasion. As an instructor, an important part of my job is adapting to the riders at the different studios I teach at. So whether it is the city or the suburbs, my goal is always to give my riders great energy and the music they want to hear.

What are you most excited about bringing to SoulCycle Westport?
One of the things we pride ourselves on is “bringing Soul to the people.” I love introducing SoulCycle to new people because it has been such a positive change in my life. I’m so excited for Westport to experience SoulCycle… First time riders, you have no idea what you’re in for!

Your playlists are insane. What is your favorite type of music?
That is a tough question! I love all types of music. One thing is for certain though, the music I play is fun and will want to make you dance, work hard, push your body and then come back for more!

What is a typical “day in the life of Ryan F”?

It starts with a really early wake-up around 4:15am! I’ll have a quick snack, a coffee, then head to the studio. When I’m not teaching or finding new music, I love grabbing coffee with my riders, cooking, and spending time with my family.

What do you eat for breakfast?
I teach six rooster classes a week, a couple of which are at 5:45am, so I will usually have a pre-class shake and then eat a fuller breakfast after I’ve finished teaching. Breakfast for me consists of oatmeal with bananas and cinnamon on top with a side of egg whites and a cup of coffee.

How many fitness classes do you teach per week?
I teach 12-15 classes a week, but it varies. Each week I post my schedule on Instagram (@mynameisryanf), so you’ll always know where to find me.

What is your favorite post workout snack?
I need to snack throughout the day, especially before class to keep my energy up. I make a ton of healthy shakes on my Vitamix (send me a recipe if you have a good one!). I also love snacking on berries, apples, and raw almonds.

What is your greatest indulgence?
Well, those who come to my class will know that I have a fondness for cookies. As for what type, I don’t really discriminate. I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t like!

Where can we find you on a Saturday night?
I teach six roosters classes a week, so most days I try to be in bed by 10pm. When I can, I like to catch an early dinner or movie with friends. I’m really looking forward to spending more time in Westport because I love the restaurants there.

What is your healthy eating philosophy? (vegan, paleo, all in moderation, etc)
I love to eat… I consider myself a foodie and enjoy a good meal. But with that said, it was a great learning lesson in moderation after my life on Wall Street. I used to love trying out new restaurants every weekend and it eventually caught up to me. Also, I wasn’t exercising enough because I was working such long hours. With Soul in my life and learning to indulge my inner foodie in moderation, I’ve been able to find great balance in my life. I’ve also learned to eat healthier and find nutritious foods that can sustain the physical demands of my teaching schedule.

What is your favorite vacation spot?
I grew up in the Midwest and left for college when I was 18. I’m really close to my family, so I visit them any chance I get.

Who or what inspires you?
My riders inspire me. For example, one of my Bronxville riders recently lost 65lbs, completely transforming not only his physical appearance but also his overall well being. There are so many stories that are created at SoulCycle and it is inspiring to be a part of it. Actually, we have an entire blog on our website dedicated to these Soul Transformations.

What do YOU do to stay Fit in CT?
Teaching a full class load can make it difficult to add in other workouts, so it’s a good thing that SoulCycle is a full-body workout! But, I do love trying new workouts and also getting to yoga when I can. I also love taking class with other instructors at SoulCycle.

Thank you Ryan!!  We simply cannot wait to have you leading the pack in Westport!  Can’t wait until April?  You can find him in Greenwich, Bronxville & Scarsdale.  Check the weekly schedule at Soul-Cycle.com

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