A Grit Story: Lala Santiago

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We are so excited to bring you another inspiring GRIT STORY!

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Today we introduce Lala Santiago!

A Huntington Beach native, and top contender for biggest animal lover in Orange County; Lala is mommy to 14-year old Damatian “Rawko” and  3-year-old ferret “Magneto” {yes, she knows ferrets are illegal,} she works at a veternarian office where she gets to “hug puppies and kittens all day,” and also does pet-sitting/dog-walking on the side. You can pretty much guarantee, if it has a face, tail, and or fin, Lala adores it.

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We, at Grit Cycle, adore Lala.

We’ve seen her metamorphisize from first time, shy rider to podium babe, to now: rockstar instructor in training!

Here is her story:

I come from a family of seven, 5 girls, 2 boys. I am number 2. All from the same Mom, and no not Mormon or Catholic.

Old man Rawko doesn’t do much now except sleep and go for sniff walks, but he used to be my running buddy and did all my marathon training with me. Magneto likes to steal things and hide them in his super top secret hiding spot… under my bed.

I love tattoos, art and photography; it’s a major hobby of mine.  I am snapping photos ALL the time.

I love to go to shows/concerts. Punk rock shows are my most favorite. Rise Against is my favorite band.

I am a Kings Hockey fan. Gooooo Kings!

I love to travel internationally. I have hiked the Inca trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, swam the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, climbed the Pyramids of Tikal in Guatemala, And swam with manatees in Belize. Trying to check another thing off my bucket list… To swim with whale sharks!

 I am a future Grit instructor in training. Woo Hoo!

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What brought you to Grit Cycle?

After saying “no” to invites by coworkers (Marisa, Kyre, and Mikey), I finally agreed to try a class at Grit. I swore that I wasn’t gonna like it. I’m a runner after all. Spinning isn’t for me. But just to get you guys to stop pestering me I’ll agree to try it.

Do you remember your first class at Grit? What was that like?

The first class I ever took was the Gritty 60. Yes, 60 LOOOOONG minutes of spin was my first encounter at Grit. I was terribly uncoordinated, it was hot, I thought I was gonna pass out the entire time, and I was doing the complete opposite from everyone in the room. And WTF…. “How do I get in and out of these shoe clips!”

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What was it about Grit that kept you coming back?

I kept meeting these really awesome, like minded, friendly, Grit addicted people just like ME, who I get to sweat my butt off with while being guided by these inspiring instructors who play dope ass music. PERFECTION! And let’s not forget the cold eucalyptus towels.

What advice would you give to a first-timer coming to Grit, who’s a little unsure about the whole experience?

A major one is to plan ahead and pre book your classes for the week. Booking early not only gets you your favorite bike next to your favorite friends (I love booking with my friends and getting bikes next to each other), but it keeps you accountable to a regular work out plan. I get so excited knowing what classes/instructors I have to look forward to for the week ahead. Oh and everyone is weird, awkward and uncoordinated their first time. Don’t worry about all the upper body movements. Just try to keep the beat with your legs first.

What is your biggest  motivation?

Sweets! I work out to eat dessert and bread.

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Do you have a mantra that inspires you?

Progress not perfection.

No one represents this better than Katie, one of my favorite instructors at Grit. I fell in love with her class motto: “that every ones body is different and capable of different things. Just try and do you. And make little steps toward a better you.”

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What is your favorite song to ride to and why?

Sia, Sia,  Sia! 

Also anything that is a little punk rock. I feel it in my bones and it makes me push harder and feel like a bad ass.

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What was your “aha” moment, experience, ride, situation where you realized Grit was more than a spin class for you?

That moment happened when my world was turned upside down, I was going through a divorce and life was emotionally unmanageable. I was a crying hysterical mess, and it was one of the lowest moments of my life. Instead of sitting at home and sulking. I looked online and saw that there was a class with open bikes available. I booked it, changed, and went to class. I forgot about everything for those 45 minutes. I realized in those moments leaving class that Grit wasn’t just about exercise. It was also my mental crutch to hold me up when I could barely walk.

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Miss Lala, we at Grit are inspired, on a weekly basis, by your dedication, spirit and contagious energy; thank you so much for sharing YOUR Grit story with us.

Come support and get fired up along side Lala as she continues her instructor training; you will definitely see this gem getting more podium time and popping up in various classes.

We love you Lala.

You are Grit.

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