Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Mae and I’m a fitness instructor, blogger, and commercial photographer. I studied photography in college and during my last year I bought a bike and started riding around the city of Atlanta. The casual riding escalated into competing at an amateur level and eventually led me to teaching indoor cycling! All while this was happening, I was documenting it via social media which led to my blog, which then led to working with brands like Oakley, Tarte Cosmetics, Specialized Bicycles, Healthy Choice, etc.
What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?
The community aspect is by far the best part. It’s what keeps me excited about teaching, motivates me to push myself to be better, inspires me to try new things, and keeps me excited about documenting it all.
How long have you been into fitness?
Although I played sports growing up, I wouldn’t classify myself as an athletic child. I was very much into it until I wasn’t anymore if you know what I mean. Everyone was allowed to join sports teams so I was mostly there because my friends were. It wasn’t until 2013 when I bought my first bike that I really started being consistent and sticking to a more active lifestyle.
How did you get into fitness?
I had considered purchasing a bike to ride around the city for a few months but didn’t really know where to start or what kind of bike to get. It wasn’t until I met my now boyfriend that he was able to guide me and give me confidence to actually make the purchase. At the time he was a “fixie kid” doing all kinds of city riding. I pretty much just followed his lead and we both became majorly addicted.
What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?
While spectating a cyclocross race, one of the female riders said “if you’re going to be here you might as well race.” My initial reaction was “no way in hell would I ever be confident enough or even half way talented enough to compete.” Little did I know that her words would linger for a few months and every day they seeped a bit deeper to make me consider racing more and more each day. Eventually I found a used cyclocross bike on eBay which led to me training and eventually showing up and racing every single Georgia cyclocross race the following Fall. I was terrible at first, but I did it anyways.
How has fitness impacted your life?
Besides the obvious physical changes and health benefits, I’ve met one of my now very best friends, I’ve seen parts of the world I would have never seen had I not started cycling (hi, Hawaii!), and it led me to teaching which is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done.
What words of advice or encouragement would you like to give to someone who is just starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?
Just show up. If it’s a studio or gym, book a class, and just show up to try it. If it’s something outside, find a beginners clinic and go to it. Don’t just do these things once – really give it a go and keep showing up. It will get less intimidating, you will start to meet people, and you will improve quicker than you realize. Acknowledge that it might not be easy, accept it, and do it anyways. Also don’t be afraid to tell everyone around you about your ambitions. You never know what connections or advice someone might have to offer you.
Flywheel Sports Instructor (@flywheelsports)