By Alexandra Blodgett, Cyc Co-Founder
Alexandra Blodgett is living the dream, one of the few brave souls that has taken her love for fitness and turned it into starting her own workout and spin studios, along with her co-founders at Cyc Fitness. To some, startup life may sound like you have it made — making your own hours, entertaining a new lineup of people and events each day, doing business on the fly — but in reality it can be exhausting, distracting, and also entirely rewarding all at the same time. Especially if you are also trying to keep up a life outside of work. As a young startup owner, the lines tend to blur as to where work ends and life begins, and it’s all about balance. Cyc co-founder Alex Blodgett shares her thoughts.
At Cyc, the indoor cycling company I founded with my partners in 2012, we teach differently. Each ride is a series of sectors that we mix and match to create a new experience on the bike every time. Each sector has a different movement, beat, intensity, lighting scheme, and resistance level. My days mirror our rides; each is completely different. This is one day, and a glimpse into the constant battle of balancing my professional and personal life, in sectors.
1. Opening Jog
I open my eyes and don’t register where I am. Our corporate apartment in Austin? The Park Plaza Hotel in Boston? My Airbnb in Atlanta? No, I’m in my own Soho apartment. Every morning, it takes me a second to ID my surroundings. With six studios, in five different cities, I travel. A lot.
2. Sliding Isolations
As I brush my teeth, emails from our corporate team roll in. And so the day begins. I scan last night’s attendance reports from my partner Stephen, photos of our pop up studio at TomorrowWorld music festival from Kate, Keoni’s Today Show appearance, Danielle’s latest legging designs, a social media sweepstakes proposal from Sophie, and my daily acai bowl recommendation from Steph. Almond Butter Bliss? Yes please! Our corporate crew is small and tight. We are in constant communication — much of it about operations, but much of it personal too. We are truly a family, with all the love, support, and understanding that comes with it.
3. Travel The Gears
My morning coffee comes in the form of a Venti-sized ride at Cyc, with an extra shot of energy from our Cycologist Tom. He is giving the room LIFE. As he beats the drum and channels his inner-Beyonce, I am simultaneously laughing and spinning so hard that I can hardly breathe. Riding allows my mind to go blank and briefly forget about my growing to-do list. This daily “time out” keeps everything in perspective.
It hasn’t been easy to regain that perspective. When we began, I made the decision to put Cyc above all else. This wasn’t a conscious choice, it just sort of… happened. I said goodbye to my relationship, warned friends I wouldn’t be around for birthday dinners, and told my mom it’s best to text rather than call. Balance didn’t exist.
Our office on Broadway is already buzzing. The executive call begins. The landlord needs to know, are we signing a second lease in Atlanta? I’d like to say I base these decisions 100% purely on economics and my belief in the market.
5. Blocking Sled
Lets be honest though, no one can make a decision without some selfishness. I’ve been calculating the time this takes me away from home. It’s very easy to blame work travel for not going on that third date, signing up for that cooking class, or missing the engagement party. Living your job 24/7 makes it easy to disengage from your “real” life. We tell the landlord yes.
And then we begin to build again. We create lives in other markets. And we tread water there until the next spot opens. This is the fun part! It’s our job to find the best studio locations, the best trainers, and the most active (and socially active) future riders.
Off to Neuehouse for a meeting with Perfecto Sanchez, former VP of Marketing for Evian and my new consultant/guru/mentor. (We originally met at SXSW over BBQ and yoga — in that order.) I was in the private jet business before Cyc. We had no experience opening studios, and no one to teach us how. After years of learning mostly from mistakes, I've realized it's easier (and cheaper) to learn from experts. Today’s agenda: updating “The Cyc Voice.” His first question, “What’s our Instagram’s spirit animal?” I dissolve into laughter but answer immediately. Leopard of course.
7. Rolling Hill
Next to creating marketing strategies, my favorite part of the job is building partnerships, often times with brands that have nothing to do with fitness. My goal isn't just to build studios, it's to create social experiences. I'm lucky, because I get to work with my friends. Even luckier, I get to become friends with partners whose business savvy I’m absolutely in awe of.
8. Group Jumps
Tonight, my partners are all my friends. Some I’ve known since college, like Eric Marx, owner of The Gilded Lily, our venue, and Betsy Fischman, founder of BoozeMenus, our liquor. Some I met in the last year, but have become like family: Suzie Baleson, founder of Wellthily, our wellness partner, Erika Wasser, who opened Glam&Go, our in-studio blow dry bar, and Rayner Turley, Co Founder of the app Glue, our pop up promoter. I haven't had one day (or night) off in months, I should be crashing, but I'm walking into a room full of my people. What's more uplifting than that?
9. Jog Hill Sprints
And so I enter The Gilded Lily, the night club where we're hosting a #CycTakeover. It’s 7:30pm, but feels like 2am. 50 sweaty riders are cranking away to the beat of a live DJ on the dance floor. The club is a mash up of crazy lighting and the floor is literally shaking with the bass. Keoni's running through the bikes boxing, Cycologists are dancing on the banquettes, and another crowd of 50 are already finished, drinking Cyc-tails at the bar.
Everyone is euphoric — laughing, catching up, flirting, networking... connecting through a new social experience. It's complete chaos, but to me, it's where my life becomes perfectly balanced.
And then I've got to run because I've got a third date.
11. Cool Down... The End.
Hailing from a long line of cycling enthusiasts, Minnesota native Alexandra Blodgett rode her first Big Wheel before she could walk. Alex earned her Bachelors degree in Communications with honors from The University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her training wheels came off as she launched her career in New York City as a Sales Trader for Alaris Trading Partners. There, she created and managed a large client base of notable Wall Street hedge funds. These relationships lead her to Marquis Jet Partners, where she switched gears and began her five-year tenure executing over 300 events annually for some of the world’s most distinguished business leaders. These included The Wayne Gretzky Ford Charity Classic, The Michael Jordan Invitational, The NetJets Showdown featuring Roger Federer and Pete Sampras, and multiple concert tours (U2, The Jonas Brothers, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber) to name a few.
In 2012, Ms. Blodgett turned her love of spin from a hobby into a business. She co-founded Cyc, an indoor-cycling company, now with 6 studio locations. A pioneer of the social fitness movement, she believes in creating experiences for riders both inside and out of the studio. Cyc executes large fitness events and pop-ups weekly at unexpected venues across the US, as well as hosting thousands of riders daily across studios in New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Austin and Madison. When she’s not on a bike, Alex resides in New York City. Forever a “downtown girl,” she soaks up as much of the big apple as she can.