Q&A with Jackson Smith
Why did you become a spin instructor?
Well, before I was teaching spin, I was an actor working in Los Angeles, as well as a manager at Starbucks. To be honest, I wasn’t really happy with where my life was going. I could see my passion for acting starting to dwindle and I had no real desire to climb higher at Starbucks. The real defining moment for me was when I lost my best friend to suicide. It affected me so intensely that I realized I didn’t want to spend my life chasing a dream that I wasn’t fully committed to. I decided to make a change and try my hand at becoming a spin instructor, having taken classes for seven years and going off of the encouragement of my friend and fellow instructor Gayle Fuller. Now here we are!
What does your morning routine look like?
On most days I like to wake up around 7:30 or eight a.m. and I immediately meditate. It helps me to recenter and get a better grasp on what I need to do in the upcoming day. I use guided meditation apps like Headspace because they help me stay on track and give me different ways of approaching my own thoughts. Then I eat breakfast, usually with some sort of protein (eggs and turkey bacon typically), some sort of healthy fat (avocado or almonds), something full of fiber (black beans or veggies normally), and some sort of starch or carb (usually hash browns or wheat toast). Breakfast is typically my biggest meal of the day and it’s where I try to consume the most calories, giving me the necessary fuel for my day. Then, after I eat, I’ll make my playlist for the class or classes I’m teaching that day, then it’s on to the gym.
What’s challenging about teaching spin?
To me, the most challenging part of my job is trying to make every class experience different yet consistent. I always incorporate similar things in class because people react well to what they know and what they can expect, but I also try and keep my riders on their toes by keeping it fresh and exciting.
The most fun part?
The most fun part of my job is engaging with the riders. Making friendships, building connections, affecting people on a emotional level, creating a group of superstars who show up for one another, hold each other accountable, help each other push and achieve fitness goals they never thought they could, and most importantly, lift each other up when they need it the most. We’re all there for each other, and helping build that sense of community is what I love the most.
Favorite artist to ride to?
Madonna, hands down.
Favorite post-ride fuel?
Protein shakes! And peanut butter, obvi.
Your top guilty pleasure?
I’m a big fan of the Real Housewives franchise and I’m proud of it! I don’t have drama in my personal life, so I get my fix from TV.
what’s one pro tip you have for novice riders?
Learn to let go. If you go into that room super serious and ready to JUST burn calories, you’re denying yourself the opportunity to let the mind and soul get a workout as well. Release a little, let your hair down, relax into the music, and let your heart take you higher. Then the REAL work can begin. Of course we’re there to get more fit physically, but that’s a given. Give yourself the chance to get everything possible out of the class. You owe it to yourself simply because you are worth it.