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Guess Who's Back Leading the Pack? Jolie Walsh!

OLIE WALSH is back leading the pack! After rocking the NYC podium for many years, she took a break and moved back to her native Puerto Rico. Now she’s inspiring riders in Marin with her boundless energy and challenging classes. The SOUL mom of two chatted with us about what motivated her journey, how to tap it back when you’re pregnant, which food she always eats after class and more…

What inspired you to become a SoulCycle instructor?
I left Puerto Rico at age 16 to pursue a career in opera and musical theater. I trained at Interlochen Arts Academy then Cleveland Institute of Music then Manhattan School of Music and I was lucky enough to perform some amazing roles all over the world. After so many years of dedication and constant travel, I got to a point in my life where I needed a change.

What kind of change?
Becoming a mom was my new number one priority and I made the incredibly emotional decision to put my career on hold. I had been an avid indoor cyclist for many years and it was during this difficult transition period that I took a SoulCycle class for the first time.

What was it like?
I will never forget that day. It was in the original studio at West 72nd Street. From that very first ride, I knew that my life was going to change and that I would become an instructor someday.

How come?
There was something about that room: the dancing, the music, the challenging workout, the positive energy. I literally felt like I was the best version of myself on that bike. I was so grounded, so strong, so confident yet completely vulnerable at the same time. I always loved singing because it allowed me to move and inspire people and working at SOUL felt like such a natural extension of my career and my passion for fitness.

I became an instructor because I get to do everything I love all at the same time...I get to sing, dance, ride the bike, get a killer workout and most importantly, inspire others to be the best version of themselves. If I can inspire one soul in that room to feel something... then I feel pretty good.

You took a little break from SOUL. What have you been up to?
I love NYC but raising young children in the city has its challenges and my Puerto Rican blood hates the cold winters. When the opportunity to move came up, I jumped at it. We explored a bunch of places before deciding to try Puerto Rico to be close to my parents and extended family.

What was it like to be home?
It was an amazing experience because my boys were able to create such beautiful memories with my parents. The bond they now have with my parents is so special and that's something I will always feel really good about.

What brought you back to SOUL?
I always knew I'd come back to teaching at SOUL. After lobbying for a SOUL San Juan for a year (to no avail!), my hubby's job started pulling us toward San Francisco. We spent a lot of time exploring the Bay Area and eventually decided that Marin would be a great place for the family. Having a SOUL in the area played a huge role in our decision-making process.

What else attracted you to the Bay Area?
I was really just looking for the right place for our kids to grow up and for us as a family to have a better quality of life. We really enjoy the outdoors. We are out in the parks almost every day. The boys love riding their bikes, kicking the ball, blowing bubbles... so this is definitely the perfect place to do all of that!

Do you miss NYC?
I LIVED for my NYC riders. I created so many lasting friendships on those bikes. I still think of my riders when a particular song comes on because we really created such a strong bond. It was amazing to see them grow as riders and in their personal and professional lives as well. Some had their careers start taking off, some opened restaurants, some had children, some got married, some did movies, some wrote books...I felt so honored to be a part of their lives and at the same time they saw me go through MY big moments.

What were some?
I became a mother for the first time! My riders literally saw me go through so many different chapters in my life... and the best part was that we all got through it together and became stronger than ever. We were a pack. We will always have those moments in our hearts and I know I will see them soon either here in the Bay Area or when I visit NYC.

And now you’re leading the pack in Marin!
I honestly really look forward to having those kinds of connections and making more wonderful friendships here in the NorCal. There is something really powerful about having such a wonderful support system and that's one of the things I love so much about this community.

You’re a SOUL mom — and rode through your pregnancies. What was that like?
Yes, I kept riding throughout both my pregnancies and loved it. SOUL really kept me feeling grounded and in amazing shape. For moms-to-be, this is the greatest gift you can give to yourself because it's really just about feeling good. I also think it helped me bounce back more quickly after the pregnancy. I gained 32 pounds both times... but lost all of it after just a couple of months.

Do you have any tips for moms-to-be who want to tap it back?
If you are going to ride while pregnant make sure you listen to your body. Every day feels different so trust your instincts. If you need to sit down and chill on the bike for a song or two, then do so! Go in there and dance and take in all that wonderful energy around you! Check in with your heart rate and make sure you don't push yourself too hard. You’re creating a little person inside and that's the most important part.

Do you have a favorite post-ride snack?
I love, love, love peanut butter. I would literally eat peanut butter all day long if I could. Most days after class, I will eat a plain yogurt with a few tablespoons of PB Fit mixed in and gluten-free granola on top. (Udi's Gluten-Free Vanilla Granola is my favorite.)

Favorite way to hydrate?
Coconut water!

Where can we find you when you’re not at SOUL?
Playing with my boys in the park or cuddling with them on the couch. I feel so blessed to be a mother and I try to enjoy every second I can with them because I know these moments go by so quickly. I also love date nights with the husband whenever we get a chance. I wish we could have them much more frequently because we always have a great time!

What’s your favorite song right now?
"Unstoppable" by Sia.

Something that is always in your bag?
My "old school" calendar where I write everything down plus Luna Bars and lipstick.

Mantra that inspires you?
"When your passion and purpose are greater than your fears, you will find a way."

Catch classes with JOLIE at SoulCycle Marin! Questions or comments? Email! Want to ride? Click HERE to grab a series and book a bike!

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