What Losing My Favorite Fitness Studio Taught Me

When I first started taking cycling classes at Cyc Fitness Madison, I had no idea that the studio would go on to change my life. I took my first Cyc class a little over a year ago, and since that first class, I never turned back. The high intensity and fast paced workouts were overwhelming at first — but almost immediately after that first class, I couldn’t wait to go back! I loved the positivity that each staff member and instructor radiated, and the community that was created within the confines of a small cycling studio was like none other. I never would have imagined that a fitness studio would lead me to find my place on campus, but it did. For the first time, I found a place to call home at school, so when they announced on September 20th that Cyc would be closing its doors, I was distraught. For many of us, it felt like we were losing our home. 

I’ll never forget where I was on September 20th. It was 11 a.m. and I had just sat down in the front row of the lecture hall when my watch started going off with notifications from my work group chat. Apparently, there had been an email sent out notifying us that they’d be shutting down the studio the following week. I literally couldn’t believe it. I was close to having a full-blown panic attack in the middle of my professor lecturing about Vladimir Nabokov. It honestly felt like my world was falling apart. For many of us, Cyc was always more than a workout. When you stepped into the bike room, you stepped into a community filled with positivity, encouragement and support. Not only did you get an absolutely killer workout, but you became a part of something bigger. Riders, staff and instructors became family. 

Cyc was always more than a good sweat sesh — so when corporate announced that they would be shutting down our studio, we were heartbroken. They were taking away our home. I remember sobbing through the majority of my shift that day we found out. First time riders and people that didn’t ride at our studio regularly stared at us like we were crazy because they didn’t understand. How could a fitness studio closing cause so many people to be sobbing to the point of dry heaving in the lobby? Simple: It was never about the workout. 

Ask anyone who attended Cyc regularly and they will tell you — they might have been having the absolute worst day of their life, but the second they walked in those doors and hopped up on that bike, it all disappeared. Every negative thought, every stressor, it all vanished the minute the instructor started the music. In 45 minutes, every instructor at Cyc could make even the weakest person feel as if they could climb Mount Everest. For many riders, including me, hopping up on that bike was like attending therapy. I never felt more at home and more confident than I did riding at Cyc, and that all disappeared in a week. 

I can’t even begin to explain how terrified I was about Cyc closing its doors. I had just found a place that I felt I could call my home on campus. I found a group of people that supported me and encouraged me to chase my dreams, and they appreciated me for me. I felt on top of the world every time I stepped into that studio, and I was so scared I would lose that the moment those doors closed for good. But as I said earlier: it was never about the workout. One of my coworkers put it best when she said, “They can take away our home base, but they will never be able to take away the memories and relationships we built.” I eventually realized that even though the studio was closing down, I wouldn’t lose my community. The friendships that were created in that bike room wouldn’t just disappear. 

If there was one thing that I learned from losing my favorite fitness studio, it’s that most of the time, it’s never about the workout in the first place. It’s about the people and the memories that you create in the studio. No matter what, even if the studio shuts down, they can never take that away from you. Sure, you go to a fitness studio with the intention of getting in shape and getting a good butt-kicking workout, but why do you come back? You don’t come back because you loved the way it felt to be sore for the next 3-5 business days following the class. You come back for the people and the way they made you feel when you were there. 

So, next time you go to your favorite fitness studio, take a moment to appreciate the little things. Smile at the front desk staff. Cheer a bit louder when the instructor says something motivational. Above all else, cherish the friendships, memories and good times you’ve built at the studio, and always remember — the doors may close, but the community and spirit will never die.