On a Christmas visit home almost three years ago, Christy Weiss realized that the Winnipeg fitness scene hadn’t yet caught on to her new favourite workout. Sure there were a handful of spin classes at local gyms, but nothing like what she had experienced while living in Calgary. She craved the music, the team spirit, the sense of accomplishment and freedom that came along with a particular kind of indoor cycling class. Christy’s passion for spin is obvious, yet when her husband Jamie Murray suggested they open a studio in her hometown, she thought he was joking.
Christy, already in the midst of a career transition, knew that she wanted to do something wellness-related but wasn’t sure what. “I’ve always loved all the jobs I’ve had but I’d never been completely fulfilled. I just want to inspire people to move, be healthy” she explains. After some consideration the couple returned to Winnipeg from Alberta and began the search for the perfect location to make their dream of bringing a new fitness vision to Winnipeg a reality. Winnipeg’s unique traits; specifically, its music and cycling cultures as well as its community-mindedness, created potentially perfect conditions for a successful venture. “Any business can be successful” says Jamie, “the trick is to truly believe in it. It really came down to Christy’s passion of the business and the idea” he adds.
Part of the passion behind the WPG Cycle vision is Christy and Jamie’s mutual love of music. “That’s the best part of the whole workout is that you ride to the beat and the song is integral to what you’re doing” says Jamie. But the couple understands that it’s more than just great tunes. “It’s a combination of the music and community” says Christy. “I think deep down a lot of people just really want to belong and be part of something” she continues. Jamie points out that sometimes it can hard to meet likeminded people with similar interests. “We want to create a place where you can make new friends, create bonds and have a new experience with your old friends” he says.
The idea of community is so central to WPG Cycle’s overall philosophy that it even played a role in the studio’s physical location. “We could have opened up a studio a lot faster if we had compromised our vision. The location we picked was definitely a big part of that. We wanted a location that was not only accessible but provided a natural extension to your day” explains Jamie, “a livable, walkable neighbourhood where you can come and do a class and then go for coffee or go to dinner with your friends, a place with a sense of local pride and community” he continues. They found it at 734 Osborne.
As design plans were formulated and construction began, Jamie and Christy gained their CanFit Pro and Schwinn Cycling certifications in Vancouver and sought out industry-leading equipment and the best suited indoor cycling program: Sunny Britton’s Rhythm and Resistance course. The type of spin taught at WPG Cycle isn’t like anything else in the city. Sunny’s program relies heavily on music cues and tempo changes. The music is both a powerful motivator and distractor. Sunny has trained dozens of instructors, has played a hand in the opening of a number of indoor cycling studios in Alberta and B.C. and is working one-on-one with WPG Cycle’s instructors also known as Inspirators.
Christy and Jamie know that spin can seem intimidating; even Christy wasn’t convinced of it at first. Like many women, Christy’s fitness journey had a lot of ups and downs, stops and starts. It wasn’t until their wedding day approached that she began taking an interest in health and fitness in earnest. “Cause you gotta fit into that dress” she jokes. Christy started with yoga, then moved on to weight training and even competitive fitness but it took some convincing from a friend before she ever hopped on a bike. She reluctantly went to her first class, rented her first pair of bike shoes, picked a bike in the back of the dark room and… about three songs in, she was hooked. Leading up to their wedding the couple learned that they liked working out together and though Jamie’s first ride took some coercing, spin is now a shared passion. “I feel very blessed that Jamie is into it because I have a lot of friends whose husbands are not.” laughs Christy.
While the workout is intense, Jamie and Christy want to ensure that the WPG Cycle experience is more than just a spin class. “It’s more than being on a bike and cycling, it’s creating change. I really think that. We’re a platform for change, not just for yourself, but for the community we’re in. I think that that’s what going to set us apart” affirms Christy. “You’re in control of how hard you work, you can set your own resistance level and our Inspirators are there to help you get as much out of it as you can. And sure, some of it’s hard, because if it’s not hard then why are we there? But nobody’s there to make you feel that you’re not good enough. It’s a very positive community and environment” adds Jamie.
All you need to do is show up. That’s always half the battle. The goal is to have clients leave feeling inspired and accomplished. “We take all the competitiveness out of it. It’s about connection, to your body, to the other people around you, to the music. It’s a very different vibe. It’s not about who’s the best, or who’s going the fastest, we really want everyone to ride as a team. Everyone’s just there to move and to feel welcomed” Christy promises.
Both Christy and Jamie have thrown themselves into making WPG Cycle the very best; mind, body and soul. “We spent a lot of time making sure no detail was left behind and that’s why we think it’s going to be a great place” says Jamie. “I’ll be 34 in September and I think I’ve finally figured it out. I feel with every bone in my body this is what I’m meant to do” adds Christy. Both Jamie and Christy will be leading classes as Inspirators and they admit that the never-ending search for the perfect spin song has leaked over into their personal lives. “We do a lot of shazamming” they confess. Their passion and commitment to bringing something new and exciting is clear and Winnipeg’s fitness community, bike enthusiasts and music lovers all stand to benefit.