How Quad Spin Changed My Life
I was walking on King St West 14 years ago and noticed a small sign that read Quad. I was intrigued. Soon enough I was reaching out to the owners to inquire about teaching at their gym. 14 years later, the space, the people, the energy and the riders still get me going and I wanted to share with Healthy Is Hot readers why @quadspin captured my soul.
Quad was founded by Micheline Wedderburn in 2002. Miche, who previously lived in LA, decided to give spin a try as she was struggling with low self-esteem and a difficult relationship. She quickly fell in love with it and shares “I lost 30 pounds in 3 months. My teachers saw something in me I didn’t recognize I needed. I fell in to teaching spin.” She had been transformed by these classes and wanted to share this transformation with others. Opening her own studio enabled her to create a platform where riders would be welcomed and gently coached to enter these tough work-outs with adequate support. What is fascinating about her is the success she has achieved in her nonconformity. She is a rebel with a huge heart and people feel it which in turn has enabled her to run a successful gym for nearly 2 decades.
To Miche, Quad is her house. Her space. She has always demanded her studio be respected as it is a temple of growth, love and transformation. A talented artist as well, she shares her work within the space by placing her canvases through the studio enabling her riders to connect with her on a deeper level. As my own father played a significant role in the arts in Canada, I feel drawn to artists and manage to understand them on a different level. Being of an artistic mindset can be exhausting and spinning has enabled Miche to channel much of her energy through her coaching. I relate to the release provided by spinning as I shared in a previous piece. Quad is not only a work-out but a much needed dose of natural medication. When asked how art has impacted her teaching style, Miche says: “A spin class to me is a canvas and creating an energy of health and well-being my ultimate goal. I feel blessed to lead a not just a class but an experience.”
Within the last 14 years I went through 3 pregnancies teaching in this space and many difficult personal moments. The Quad ‘feeling’ never let me down and provided the energy and support I needed through the peaks and valleys of my life. In 2013, Miche lost her mom, the love of her life. I remember going to the funeral and being very moved by the deep connection and admiration she had for her mother. She continued to teach through the pain. Quad was helping her heal as she was supported by a circle of riders who loved and supported her through her loss. She was there for them and did not let a broken heart stop her. This resilience profoundly touched me as a fellow mom and instructor. Spinning for her is not a business but rather a calling.
This Quad business model has been passed on to our team of instructors. Whether you take a class with Michael, Steve or Danielle, all will provide that personal touch that makes the Quad experience so special. As I wrote this article, I reached out to Steve who described his @quadspin experience and I was touched by the truth he spoke: “I started at Quad 5 years ago working the desk. I met Miche roughly a week into the job and she was she was so nice and welcoming. One of the first things she said to me was “we need to get you teaching”. I said no way right away. However she managed to change my mind. The way Miche trains her instructors enables them to own the stage like no other place. The moment you walk into Quad you get a feeling that’s so hard to explain - you feel this energy its electric. You know you are going to work as hard as you can and each teacher is going to push you to your limits and beyond. The beatzz are kicking nonstop! You will leave each class knowing you gave it everything you got.”
Miche insists on maintaining the “original” status by offering the product and experience she set out to provide 16 years ago: “Quad has kept its original philosophy to be inclusive, welcoming and accessible to all. At Quad only original spin set up and approach and rules are taught. At 53 and over 10 000 classes taught I believe in what I was taught in 1997.”This being said owning a business on your own downtown Toronto is not easy. Miche candidly says: “I have sacrificed so much and gained so much...” For many years she taught 12-20 classes weekly which would exhaust most normal people. But she did it with a smile and wanted to be involved in the growth of her gym and connect with her riders.
I have often pondered as to why I felt so attached to Quad. To put is simply, for me it is the perfect amalgamation of bada$$, love and athleticism. I have made some of the deepest friendships in my life within this space and always feel warm when I walk down those stairs. It provides me with an outlet for musical creativity like to no other studio. As teachers, we too are artists. We have to come up with a work-out whilst providing the right music and words of encouragement. This is an art that is hard to achieve when many restrictions are imposed. Teaching is an honour that I never take for granted. You have people trust you with their minds, bodies and souls for 1 hr. We, as instructors, have the power of transforming someone’s day for the better with our classes. As I step on that stage I always promise to deliver a ride you will remember.
Thank you to Miche for letting me interview her and to all my amazing Quad colleagues and riders. You truly have changed my life for the better.