There’s something infectious about the freedom and joy in the videos—hence the hundreds of comments on Power + Flow’s social channels where followers are either plotting their moves to Scottsdale or wondering how it’s possible for everyone in the class to know the dances inside-and-out.
But the studio’s rising profile recently drew negative attention: Star Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby commented on one video of a spin class calling it “unsafe” and “a joke”—presumably referring to the fact that students are doing such complicated movements while riding at a relatively quick speed—in response to someone who tagged him asking for similar rides on the Peloton platform.
Girod responded on Instagram about how this was an inadvertent teaching moment for her: “We speak often about how the work we do in here will get us ready for what we do outside this space,” says Girod. “And I think that scenario was the perfect opportunity to practice what I preach, and stand up for what we’ve built.” Girod and Power + Flow received an outpouring of support (as well as an apology from Rigsby).
Well+Good spoke to Girod about how she helps students find the confidence that allows them to have a dance party on the bike—and how everyone can find more joy in their workouts.
She lays a solid foundation
Girod says that while it may look like everyone who takes her classes is already a cycling pro, that’s just because social media doesn’t show the foundation she lays to get them comfortable with the basics. “When Power + Flow first started, I did a full month of what we called growth season,” she says. “It was basically four weeks of, this is what rhythm is, this is how resistance works—we had a full week of classes never getting out of the saddle.” (This, she says, was hard on the booty, but beneficial in the long run.)
“What you’re seeing on my Instagram has been years in the making,” she says. And what you don’t see? “There are first-timers in the back row that are just trying to survive.” When those new students come in, she encourages them to observe the dances until they feel comfortable. “It’s not about the choreography, or getting the runs out of the saddle,” she says. “The one thing that is mandatory is clapping—everybody can put their hands together and clap, and it generates this energy that just says, be free, let it go, have fun.” Eventually, she says, most students go from being “a deer in the headlights” to trying the movement in the saddle, to rocking out in the front row.
She models true confidence at the front of the room
At the studio where Girod taught before Power + Flow, she felt like she had to perform a kind of confidence that didn’t feel authentic. “The coach is expected to come in with high energy, we can’t talk about our day, we can’t express any frustrations from our personal lives,” she says.
One day, she decided to be vulnerable and talk about a difficult day at her 9–5 job, and everything changed. “The room just exploded with so much love and support. And that was the moment when I realized I can be honest with my students,” she says. “I tell them that I need to come to a space and move my body and clear my head. The room starts to realize that when they have a bad day, they can show up to Power + Flow, too,” she says.
Bringing her full, honest self to her classes usually looks like “raging, screaming, hollering, clapping and dancing,” she says—which gives her students permission to show up to class as they are. That’s why one frequent social media comment drives her crazy: “I see people say, It’s my goal to get in shape and then take your class,” she says. “I just want to reach through the screen and drag them into my life.”
Girod’s authenticity has forged a space where students not only show up with the confidence to execute her dance routines, but to make them their own. “The moment people start to feel confident in a move, that’s when you start to see some little hand flicker or gesture, some extra clap, some movement they’ve created—they can really dance and enjoy the movement,” she says, adding that some moves that officially make it into classes were made up by students.
Her advice: Find joy and a space that sees you
For Girod, having a workout that feels like more than a workout is key to avoiding burnout. “One thing I love to do is to stop the class and say, acknowledge your neighbor, we just did that,” she says. “We get this moment of joy, instead of just forgetting about it and moving on—what’s the fun in that?”
This has become a part of her studio’s culture, she says—students acknowledge each other during class without her even prompting them to. “Finding that joy in the work is what makes it worth doing,” she says.
But not every fitness studio has the same culture of joy and community as Power + Flow. To find your fitness home, Girod suggests noticing how it feels to enter a space: Do you feel warm and welcomed? “One thing we do very well is that we see our people,” she says. “That should be palpable from the moment you walk in.”