Ever wonder what goes through the mind of your spin instructor while they’re yelling at you to turn the knob on your spin bike two full turns and push a little harder out of the saddle? And then they yell at you to give it everything you’ve got while you think to yourself, “I ran out of everything I’ve got 5 minutes ago during the last sprint!”.
Spin instructors, crossfit instructors, conditioning coaches, they all have the uncanny ability to make you hate them for a few hours a week, and then love them and smile with them afterwards. It’s a strange relationship that’ll sometimes make you wonder how a person can be so diabolical in the middle of intervals, and yet be so cool and badass at the same time the rest of the time.
Who are these people? What made them that way? And how can I hate someone and like them so much at the same time?
Well today I’m going to try and answer some of those questions. I’m taking the time to sit down with my friend and fellow Lululemon Ambassador Andrew Obrecht. I first met Andrew at the Tuesday night Run Clubs at Lululemon on 4th street when he was organizing run and rides, a back to back run with me at Lululemon and then spin session with him. At the time Andrew was doing an about face from a solid varsity football player for the U of C Dinos, to a lean mean spin instructor.
Andrew’s talent for motivating runners and spinners alike is a characteristic he’s become pretty well known for. So for this blog post I thought I’d take some time to talk with Andrew about his background as an athlete, what it’s like to be a spin Motivator, and his own exciting endeavours coming up over the next few months.
Raf: Thanks for sitting down with me today Andrew.
Andrew: My pleasure!
Raf: We’ll start with some easy questions. Where were you born?
Andrew: I was born right here, in Calgary, Alberta.
Raf: What was your workout this morning?
Andrew: I went and did a workout at CrossFit MOST! I really enjoy the balance that CrossFit gives me in combination with spin and yoga.
Raf: Favourite music to train to?
Andrew: I love my music! I’m all about mash ups. Everything from Jay-Z mixed with ACDC beat to James brown mixed in with Rihanna!
Raf: What’s was the last song played on your iPod?
Andrew: ” The Monster – Eminem Ft Rihana” But… as i said, it’s got to be a remix!
Raf: Most important book you’ve ever read?
Andrew: I just finished reading ” The Fire Starter Sessions” by Danielle LaPorte. It’s amazing! I have a few more in mind, but that would be the freshest one.
Raf: Who is your athlete idol?
Andrew: Mohammed Ali.
Raf: Favourite guilty pleasure food?
Andrew: Would probably have to say a pizza from one of the amazing specialty pizza restaurants in Calgary; Una, Famoso, Double Zero… etc.
Raf: Okay, now talk a little bit about your sports background and what exactly it was that drew you towards spin.
Andrew: I grew up being really active. Martial arts, swimming, football. A couple years after I finished my football career at the University of Calgary with the Dinos, I was approached with the opportunity to teach spin. At first, my though was “There’s nothing negative that can come from this”….. I am amazed at just how right I was. Spin has been the biggest and most positive change in my life. The relationships that I have developed with the Biker-Gang ( those who came and did classes with me) have paved the path to who I am today and where I’m headed. It’s become so much more than spin. This bike becomes an accessory to what happens in that room. It’s really surreal. It’s all about Motivating ( which is why i wouldn’t call myself an instructor), uplifting, challenging, overcoming and breaking through physical and mental boundaries together. It gives me goosebumps just talking about it.
Raf: Awesome. I’m guilty of not making it out to nearly enough of your spin classes! Okay so when you’re prepping for a spin class, what do you typically do to make sure it’s a great experience for your athletes?
Andrew: I put a lot of effort and passion into my music. I want people to hear versions of their favourite songs that they would never hear on the radio. I diligently plan choreography for each song and get mentally ready to let the energy just flow! I try to motivate in a way that I would be motivated by. I believe that authenticity can never be faked, and I just go up there and be myself. I love motivating people. Funny thing is, that they end up motivating me even more! It’s a rush every time.
Raf: Awesome. So then what’s the toughest part about teaching spin?
Andrew: When I started it was getting over the fear of being vulnerable on stage. You’re LIVE. It’s SHOW TIME! You have to make the decision to separate your mind from doubt, and just be the person you know you’re capable of being and who would want to be motivated by. Of course there’s the physical part. You have to be a “spin athlete” to be able to not only push yourself but also still be able to teach and speak. I think people want someone who will sweat with them, every pedal stroke of journey in class. Today, there is nothing I’d say that’s “tough”…. just always another obstacle to push myself past. A constant challenge to grow physically and mentally while connecting with people in as many ways as possible. Or did you want the short form of that answer? ha.
Raf: Haha no thats a great answer. Perfect. So I know you are still pretty active in a lot of other sports. What else do you do for training?
Andrew: I train CrossFit at CrossFit Most. I also incorporate as much Yoga as possible into my training.
Raf: Do you have any big races or goals in the coming months?
Andrew: Right now, I’m training an AMAZING group of Motivators for YYC CYCLE- Spin Studio which I’m very excited to have open in March! My goal would be through them I would say. That’s to train them to find their unique and authentic teaching style, while overcoming their fears and understanding that it’s not about the spin class. That it’s about the connection, culture and community we’re building with everyone who will step into the studio doors!
Raf: Talk some more about what it means to be a Spin Motivator.
Andrew: At YYC, we’re not in the business of spin classes. We’re in the business of motivation. We’re in the business of overcoming. We’re in the business of positivity. We’re in the business of happiness. We’re in the business of betterment. We’re in the business of community.
Raf: Cool. Alright so what are your athletic and training goals over the next year? 3 years?
Andrew: Personally, I would like to put on a little more muscle (Have to up the CrossFit). My goals are really external with training others and growing fitness within the community. To continue to see growth both physically and mentally with others through motivating.
Raf: When you aren’t training or leading classes, what else do you have going on?
Andrew: My life is pretty full with training right now, to be honest. When i’m not training i enjoy going out for a nice meal, or diving into a book ( Seriously, go buy Fire Starter Sessions!).
Raf: You’ve got some other exciting stuff coming down the pipe, care to talk a little bit more about YYC CYCLE-Spin Studio?
Andrew: Well I guess i spoiled it earlier in my answers, but I will be opening up YYC CYCLE-Spin Studio with two great partners in March. It’ll be located at 1117 Kensington Road N.W! Be sure to stay connected with the progress by following us on Instagram @yyccycle and on Facebook! I just can’t wait for Calgary to see and experience what we’re all about!
Raf: Beauty, I’m stoked to see that open up and get into the studio! Okay, last question, if you could be go to the Olympics and win Gold in one sport, what would it be?
Andrew: I would probably say the 100 meter sprint. I’ve never been the fastest guy…. and it would be amazing to experience the raw power that those athletes have within them!
Raf: Thanks for taking the time to talk Andrew! Like I said, all the best with the new studio, and I’ll see you at run club next week!
Andrew: Thank you, and I’ll be there!