Kelly Ripa Does Some Soul Searching With Stacey Griffith

Longtime SoulCycle fangirl Kelly Ripa chats with her pal Stacey Griffith, senior master instructor at the cult indoor cycling studio and author of the new Two Turns From Zero, equal parts memoir, fitness handbook and inspirational guide.
Soul Cycle master Stacey Griffith

KELLY RIPA: Thank you for writing this book! I have been dying to get into your mind for 10 years. We started our relationship together, I assume the way most people did: I took your class in that dark room on West 72nd Street [SoulCycle’s first location]. Remember it used to smell like onions from the juice shop.

STACEY GRIFFITH: Yes! That, or wheatgrass or pungent grass.

KR: You’ve changed my life in measurable ways. I have this disorder that you describe in the book called Adult Onset Athleticism.

SG: Everybody has that, I hope.

KR: My whole life, I was never part of a team, and now I finally feel like part of a team.

SG: That’s really one of the reasons why I wrote this book: I wanted to express how it’s important for people to feel like they are part of a team. I played high school basketball and soccer, and ran track. I found there are a lot of people who were nurtured on the cerebral side of their head—maybe that’s a New York thing. I feel I can really reach those people who did not play sports.

KR: So take us through your journey. I am curious about how you began your career in fitness.

SG: I used to run after-school programs at a Y. One day, the [manager] came onto the field and said, “Becky didn’t show up today, can you just teach an abs class?” I was 18 years old, and always doing these abs workouts. That was when I really got my first taste of training.

KR: From there you had sort of a journey. You had this very fit exterior but it was masking things that were going on internally that didn’t match the outside.

SG: Yes, I had moved to Hollywood and got caught up in the whole Hollywood scene, which was you teach, and all these celebrities take your class, and they invite you to a party, and you go to a party, and there [are] drugs, there’s alcohol, it’s fun and it’s exciting, and I just got caught up on this treadmill thinking my life is going so awesome. But really I was just masking and numbing myself because I had focus issues, and I had painful childhood issues, and I didn’t realize I was self-medicating. I had this breakthrough when my friend committed suicide. As soon as that happened, I realized I needed to make a total switch. I went to New York with some friends in the summer of 2005, and I taught this amazing class, met this amazing network of people. New York was just calling me, so I moved here.

KR: Your class is not just a great physical experience, it’s an emotional experience. Fifteen years ago, I would have rolled my eyes at hearing that.

SG: It is a sanctuary where you are able to express and let go. My philosophy is you kind of have to go a little bit crazy in that room because if you don’t go crazy somewhere [safe] you are going to go crazy in a place you shouldn’t.

KR: I’ve had great moments of clarity on the bike.

SG: The thing with the bike is that there really isn’t any other place in your life where you can be in a space and be moving and not have to pay attention—to traffic, in front of you, behind you. You’re not going to run into anyone, you’re not going to fall off your bike and hit the person next to you.

KR: I love the “Staceyisms” in class, the phrases. My favorite one is, “Women over 40, gravity is trying to suck the back of your arm into the center of the universe.” And I’m sitting there and I’m like, Yes it is!

SG: I’ll also say things like “Charge it hard like your Amex card!” “Pay it off in pedal strokes, baby!” There is another thing in the book about manifesting, foreshadowing, putting out into the universe what you want, saying it over and over until it actually shows up in your life. It’s surreal when I think of moments in my life that I wanted to have happen and I do my visualizations in my own way, my own special way, in my office, my meditations, my mantras. So there is this song I always play in class where I’m like, if you know Madonna, you bring her to me. Guess how long I’ve been saying that? Twenty years. Guess how long it took her to get there? Twenty years. Then one day I’m in the room doing a private, just me, Madonna and Craig [her trainer] at 3:30 in the afternoon, music playing—and we’re just kind of doing our thing, scoot her hips back, move her hand over, and I’m like hang on a second, Stacey, you’re training Madonna, just sit in it for a second…..OMG I’m training Madonna! KR: How do you stay energized during the day?

A view of Stacey Griffith’s new book Two Turns From Zero at the Two Turns From Zero launch event at The Regency Bar and Grill on March 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)

SG: If you followed me home you would see that I nap a lot. I also haven’t had a carb since December 23.

KR: How is that going?

SG: It’s going really well. I quit sugar, and pasta and pizza.

KR: Does wine count as sugar? I know you don’t drink but for me and the rest of the crowd…

SG: It does, kind of.

KR: Wine is sugar? But that’s the healthy kind of sugar, right?

SG: Tell yourself that!

KR: Like just as avocado is the healthy fat, wine is the avocado of the sugar world. How do you choose your music and who are your favorite artists right now?

SG: Currently my favorite artist is Mike Posner, because I just played with him this morning. Anything that Jeremy Schneider writes I love. Love the Biebs [Justin Bieber], love Beyoncé.

KR: I feel like I’m in a nightclub in St. Barth’s even though I’ve never been to a nightclub there.

SG: I try to play anything that’s sexy and makes you feel good about yourself.

KR: Can I get some insider info on how to get into your class at the Barn [in Bridgehampton] at 9:30 on a Saturday in August?

SG: If you are really nice to the people at the front desk and dare I say polite….they also love doughnuts and they love those giant Starbucks coffees because it can fuel them all day. They love treats and just love respect.

Kelly Ripa