Soul Story: Melissa Gordy
February 2, 2015
Since she began tapping it back at SoulCycle Pasadena last year, MELISSA GORDY has shed 20 pounds of stubborn baby weight and gained confidence after rocking Warrior Week in December. "To see my name up on a wall that celebrates a FITNESS triumph… it gave me such energy!" she says. Melissa shares her Soul Story…
Melissa (center) with instructors Lisa M. (left) and Danielle (right) at SoulCycle Pasadena
I had heard about SoulCycle for quite a while and had always been intrigued. I hadn't even taken a class yet, but I was so excited when I heard a SoulCycle would be opening up a studio in Pasadena! However, as much as I was excited — I've never really been a 'fitness buff.' I knew it would take some kind of kick in the rear to get me going.
That kick in the rear happened on opening weekend, in May 2014, when a friend of mine, convinced me to go. My first ride was on a Saturday with Lisa M. I can't lie. As much as I had been intrigued with SoulCycle, I had never gone to an indoor cycling class that I actually loved. I mean, they were great workouts, don't get me wrong. But none kept me coming back. I never had a ton of FUN at any of the classes I had taken. I was definitely skeptical I'd actually fall in love with SoulCycle. How different could it be from all the other indoor cycling classes I had taken?
I brought a friend, Elizabeth, and we were both terrified. I wasn't athletic, and she had never done an indoor cycling class before. We walked through those doors and both chuckled thinking that the studio was far 'cooler' than we were and how out of place we felt. All that melted away when we got on those bikes. That first class with Lisa was fun, challenging, and welcoming. I could barely keep up; I could barely follow along for the choreography. I was exhausted and dripping in sweat when all was said and done (and I also almost fell off the bike just trying to unclip out of the bike!). But what I realized was I was sad when the class came to an end... I wanted more! I also felt proud of myself for committing and trying it out. I was so happy I did.
I have struggled with my weight most of my life. I wasn't really a chubby kid or anything. But when you come from a family full of petite-framed Asian women who barely reach the 100-pound mark, it's a struggle when you're not right there with them. My weight has yo-yo'd a lot, more yo-yoing up than it did down. I was not in a place I wanted to be and every part of me knew it. I was struggling to love what I saw in the mirror but just couldn't get out of my rut.
Three years ago, my husband and I found out we were expecting our baby girl (Olivia). Due to my already being overweight, I knew I needed to kick my health into high gear. When many are splurging during their pregnancies, I buckled down. Sure, I had my occasional treats but, for the most part, I was pretty great about my health. I actually lost weight while pregnant (promise it wasn't unhealthy — I was just that chubby that it was totally fine for me to lose weight!).
When I delivered in September 2012, I weighed less than I did just before I got pregnant. Parenthood has been great, but I just started to devote everything to my daughter. What effort I put into myself kind of went out the window. Slowly, but surely, the weight crept back up... and up. I knew I had to make a change but was at a total loss how to do it. I now had a daughter to care for and went back to work full-time. I couldn't imagine taking time out for myself when I could be spending it with my daughter. But that mentality took a hit on my body and mind.
Melissa and her daughter Olivia
That's when I took my first SoulCycle class with Lisa in May 2014. Because I had so much fun in the class, I slowly started taking more and more classes, taking that time I needed for myself. Due to my schedule, I usually take Lisa M, Danielle, Kara, and Tina and I cannot thank them enough for making each workout worth it and for always helping me feel empowered.
The amazing thing about SoulCycle is that the staff and instructors have always made me feel welcome, but more importantly, like I belonged. Coming back to SoulCycle time and time again has never felt like a 'chore' or something I 'had' to do to lose weight. I find myself craving to come back, craving to get back on that bike and be part of the pack, craving to get better and see progress. I wouldn't be able to feel that way without the amazing instructors and staff making SoulCycle feel like such a family.
What I've come to realize is that taking that time for myself is what is needed to make me a better person, a better wife, and a better mother. For the first time ever, I (ALMOST) didn't care if the numbers on the scale went down — because I was full of energy, I was happier, I had less headaches, and I felt stronger. I slowly started to shed that mommy-guilt and any of those excuses I had for losing weight and fully embraced the idea that taking time for me and taking care of me was me taking care of my family. Once I came to that full realization, I couldn't wait to come back to SoulCycle more and more! I started in May 2014 at SoulCycle and I went maybe one to three times a week.
Last October, my friend and I decided we needed to buckle down on our weight loss so I started coming to SoulCycle even more. I now go about four to five times a week, depending on my schedule. I've been watching what I eat. I totally have my splurge days, still (I just.. love food so much!), but I am so much more in control of my body and my cravings. Since October, I have reached my first mini weight-loss goal and have dropped more than 20 pounds. I still have a long way to go. My goal is to try and drop another 30 pounds, if I can. Though I have weighed less than that during my lightest days, I am now aiming for a place of balance for myself. After all, I've got to get to a weight I can live at and not just visit temporarily.
The best thing about SoulCycle (besides it's welcoming, kind, funny, and amazing staff and instructors) is the fact that every class is so different. Every instructor brings something different to the table. For that, I am super grateful. In December, I decided I'd take the Warrior Week challenge. To be able to say I rode with the very best of them… and to see my name up on a wall that celebrates a FITNESS triumph — that is something I never thought I'd do or see! It gave me such energy! I got to take many of my favorite instructors that week and all of the instructors I rode with — Danielle, Lisa, and Kara — were so enthusiastic about my progress. I finally was able to see my own accomplishments and take a moment to pat myself on the back.
And on January 1, because I had the day off, I challenged myself by doing the ReSOULution ride in Malibu with Lisa M. I was TERRIFIED. I was convinced I'd keel over! But Danielle told me a few days before she had every confidence in me and, as Lisa put it "Gordy, I will not let you die!" And sure enough, not only did I not die, I thrived and enjoyed every minute of Lisa's class!
Whether it's Danielle pushing me to go harder and to be better every Tuesday and Thursday morning, Kara's exceptionally challenging rides (I can never keep up on those fast rides of hers!), Tina's amazing hill climbs, or Lisa's motivational and hilarious class, I can't wait to come back for more. I remember Lisa saying in class once that she had only somewhat recently (a handful of years ago) became more active. I remember thinking to myself that it wasn't "too late" for someone like me! I, too, could be a mini-athlete in the making!
I may not be the most outgoing or loud in class (partly because I'm so focused on breathing!) and I may not be able to catch up quite yet on those fast songs, but SoulCycle has given me that safe space to reach these goals of mine I no longer thought I could achieve. It has, at times, been a struggle to find my "me" place/time as a new mom and an even bigger struggle to be OK with having a "me" place/time. But having a place like SoulCycle that's helped me find strength and my inner mini-athlete has allowed me to find my footing and realize that it's never too late to achieve those goals I had put in place for myself before becoming a mom. This is only the beginning of my journey — and I have so far to go — and I'm okay with that journey being a bit slower than I had anticipated. But at least I'm getting there.
Do you have a Soul Story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!