Inside the Prince Rupert Racquet Centre on a weekday afternoon, the sound of high octane music, spinning wheels and an intense upbeat voice can be heard from inside one of the converted squash courts.
Investigate a little more closely, and a group of spinning enthusiasts, some experienced and some just learning, will be seen, heads down dripping with sweat, hands clutching tightly to their handle bars and legs pumping peddles furiously to the steady rhythm of the music.
At the front of the group, instructor Kerrie Kennedy encourages and pushes the group through their routine. Kennedy and her business partner, Karen Cruz, started their spin studio, K2 Fusion, as a way to share their passion for fitness with people. It’s the culmination of a journey Kennedy and Cruz started more than 15 years ago.
Although Kennedy is a professional health and fitness instructor today, she said she was not always healthy.
“There is heart disease in my family,” she said. “I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, I didn’t eat healthy and was sedentary.”
At 27 years old, Kennedy said she reached her heaviest weight of 200 pounds.
“By the time my brain figured out what my body was doing it was too late,” she said. “I was already there.”
Kennedy realized she had to take control of her health, so she began to change her lifestyle.
She would wake up at 6 a.m. to work out at the gym. She event went to sleep in her gym clothes so she would not have any excuses when the time came for her to wake up in the morning.
Kennedy also gave up some of the harmful habits that contributed to her physical condition.
“Slowly but surely, I stopped smoking,” she said. “And on my 28th birthday, I quit completely.”
Kennedy said she gradually lost weight, and with the weight loss came a boost in confidence.
In 2002, she began to take Cruz’s morning spin classes, which is where the two women met. New to the environment, Kennedy remembers choosing a bike at the back of the class to start, but says it was Cruz’s ability to make her feel comfortable in that environment that kept her coming back.
“She made me feel comfortable being her size, which is really unheard of,” she said. “I’d been to other gyms with instructors who were smaller than Karen and they made me feel out of place and question ‘why am I here?’ She didn’t.”
Over the next two years, Kennedy and Cruz developed a strong friendship, and when Cruz decided to leave the class in 2004 to teach yoga in Belize, she asked Kennedy, who by this time had made great strides in her fitness journey, to take over teaching the class.
“She said ‘I’m not in good enough shape,’” Cruz said. “But I told her it’s not the shape you have, it’s the shape you are in.”
Now the fitness friends have their own spin studio and they’re sharing their passion with anyone willing to get their sweat on.