There's a new place to party in West Campus. No, it's not a skunky smelling frat house or an apartment mega-complex — it's a gym. And no, it's not a meathead muscle gym, it's CYC Fitness, a music-driven high-energy spinning studio that offers an experience deemed "a party on a bike."
CYC studios exist only in Austin and Madison, Wisconson. Interestingly, the founding team is headquartered in New York City, a place that's already steeped with slick urban gyms. Instead of opening there, founding Manhattanites Stephen Nitkin and Kenny Dichter made a bold move to go after active (and large) college markets.
To create the CYC method, Nitkin and Dichter tapped Keoni Hudoba — an award winning personal trainer to the likes of Kim Kardashian — as CYC's creative director to develop an engaging full body workout that would lift spirits as much as it would heart rate.
Hudoba's CYC program incorporates swimming motions, boxing and crunches atop the bike, set to music that you're more likely to hear on a Saturday night out on the town than in your average workout class.
Currently, the team flies a constant route between New York, Austin and Madison, teaching classes, hiring instructors (called "cycologists") and building community awareness. Hudoba has so quickly become a star in Austin that his classes fill up within minutes and devotees have fashioned themselves into true fans, honoring him at events and flooding his social media accounts with thanks.
We asked sat down with the inspiring leader to ask him a few questions regarding the unique workout, his future and his surprising past.
CultureMap: How were you tapped to be the creative director for CYC? How is it different than other spin programs?
Keoni Hudoba: When I was approached by CYC, I was teaching everywhere, traveling with my sponsor Under Armour and constantly creating — my first method being DRENCHED [in New York City]. I was ready for a new challenge and CYC was it.
The CYC method is different from other spin programs because it utilizes weights and combines different muscle groups in each song to give you a head to toe transformation.
Our "cycologists" are entertainers they give you a calorie burning 45 minute state of the art show.
"Not only do our cycologists take you into their world, their show, but they let you be free." - Keoni Hudoba
CM: How does the time spent on CYC balance out with your other projects?
KH: I feel like to be a successful entrepreneur you have to be able to balance many projects at once, which, over the last eight months I've accomplished. Still keeping my relevance in NYC, as well as delivering an unprecedented product, CYC.
CM: Do you have a personal training philosophy or mantra that translates into all of the work that you do?
KH: Given my own personal body transformation in 2003, from 327 pounds to now 180, which you can view on Keoni Kinetics, I live by "nothing is impossible." The word itself says I'm possible!
CM: As an athlete, I've been told while training for various triathlons to keep my upper body still as can be while on the bike. Can you explain the theory behind the upper body movements in CYC? I assume it's safe because the bike is stationary?
KH: That theory is true for triathlons. However, I created the CYC method to be a "party on a bike." The upper body movements are new for many riders and touch those muscle groups that get neglected in the gym setting.
It's all about going out of your comfort zone, being who ever you want to be in the dark studio and taking the 45 minutes to remove yourself from your daily life.
CM: I've been to many different workout classes, but there has been no other workout that left me with such an elevated mood as CYC did. Can you speak a bit to the mental wellness aspect of the program?
KH: I wanted to create an atmosphere that was similar to a club, a theatre, a place where you can clear your mind, be greedy for 45 mins, and to really feel a part of a social community.
Not only do our cycologists take you into their world, their show, but they let you be free. The constant postive affirmations and knowing that you are traveling as a unit for this roadtrip, leave you energized, euphoric and all around a better you.
The endorphins that I experience after a CYC roadtrip are unlike any other. The best healthy addiction.
CM: You quickly amassed a following, will you return to Austin throughout the year?
KH: I love Austin! I will be back as often as my schedule will allow, so keep an eye out. I'm always updating where I am on social media.