Stacey Griffith made a name for herself during Los Angeles’ spin craze in the ’90s. But it wasn’t until moving to New York City to teach at a then-tiny, unknown studio called, ahem, SoulCycle that she went from rising star to supernova within the cardio fitness community. Today, Griffith fully embraces being a fitness role model for the sweaty masses (a seat at one of her classes is nearly as hard to nab as a ticket to Hamilton)—but says her life has been far from, well, a smooth ride.
“I haven’t always been this fitness guru. I haven’t always been on top,” explains Griffith. And for the first time, she’s publicly sharing the very human struggles—with her identity, addiction to drugs and alcohol, religious faith, and career stumbles—that have shaped her in her debut book, Two Turns From Zero.
“I wanted people to understand why [I’m] even in a position to tell you all of this stuff,” she says of the decision to pen a memoir about her personal conflicts. In other words: Clip in, it’s going to be a wild ride—er, read.
Here, Griffith explains why all you need is a tribe, a bit of love, and an intention to turn up your life.
Intention is a huge theme in the book. Why was it such an important topic for you?
Everybody has to find their intention. You can’t go through life without any, or you’re just going to be a wanderer. My goal is to get people to that point where they’re strong enough and courageous enough to make intentions—and then [are able to] go out and put those thoughts into action.
I have a knack for that. I push people to their limits. In class I make them put their intentions on their handlebars and close their eyes—[and with] the music pumping and people pushing, it works. I wanted to capture that feeling in a book.
“Everybody has to find their intention. You can’t go through life without any, or you’re just going to be a wanderer.”
How can someone translate their fitness goals into life goals?
There’s an actual statistic that looks at motivation among people who move as opposed to those who are sedentary. People who are active probably make a little more money than those who sleep in. Two Turns From Zero is basically a metaphor, because I say that every day of my life on the bike—you could really turn your life completely around in two turns.
And everyone can find a way to work out. Do you like to be outside or inside? With people? I don’t even care if someone likes to be sitting on a yoga mat in their apartment watching Kelly Ripa Live; I’ve got a workout for you. You’re going to figure out your life.
Exercise is just one part of your three-part method, LET: Love, Eat, Train. Why include love in the equation?
One of the biggest accomplishments of my life is getting sober—and initially, I got sober so that I could keep my love. I was such an asshole when I drank. So, initially, it was love that got me to this place and the reason why I have almost a decade of sobriety. I’ve been with my partner for almost 12 years now, and the love that I had really turned me into a more amazing instructor, friend, and person.
The love part is really about making sure that you’re surrounded by it and also that you give it. And I don’t mean you have to go be in love with someone; I’m talking about just love on a bigger level. [When I teach], the people in that room are experiencing nothing but love. There’s love in the music, there’s love in the air, there’s love in the vibration of the room.
“You really need to create a tribe, a bonfire effect in your life that gives you the momentum to keep going—because none of us can do this life thing alone.”
The book has so many different elements. If a reader took away just one thing from it, what do you hope it would be?
The one thing I want everyone to take away from it is that you really need to find a squad. You really need to create a tribe, a bonfire effect in your life that gives you the momentum to keep going—because none of us can do this life thing alone.