Katie Pond’s Grit Story

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Today’s Grit Story is none other than our girl Katie Pond. A Saddle Room cheerleader for all, Katie’s sparkle and spirit can ignite energy even from the most-exhausted, sprinted-out, tapped-backed Gritties needing a pick-me-up.  And not one to pigeon-hole herself to just one favorite instructor, you can find Katie across the board, at all hours of the schedule, from the 5:45ams to 6:45pm’s taking classes.

She is a crowd and an instructor favorite with her effervescent energy-she’s one of the best hollerer’s in the pit!

This girl can also teach us a thing or two about dedication. She never misses class and today she is in our Grit Instructor Training program.

Let’s get to know more about Katie Pond:

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My husband and I are members of the DINK club (dual income, no kids) and we wear the badge proudly. We’ve been blessed to be married for nearly 12 years already – yes; our parents introduced us when I was 18! – but it was all part of God’s master plan and we legitimately wake up and wonder how we are so blessed to get to “do life” together. He is my best friend and I want to be a better person every day because of the man that he is and the leader that he is in our household.

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While we may not have any human children, our fur child Tommy manages to keep us plenty busy with the antics that five-pound Yorkshire Terriers are commonly known for.

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In addition to dancing on a bike, I love to lift weights, and I’m a regular face around The 12 in Irvine and Costa Mesa.  During the few hours a day that I’m not at the spin studio or the gym I work as a Director of Business Development for VIZIO, Inc. where I help to lead the company’s corporate development, business strategy, and partnership efforts.  One of my other big passions is helping other young women plan for success in their careers – there’s enough room for all of us at the finish line and I will do anything I can to help someone else get there!

What brought you to Grit Cycle?

I had been taking Lauren Rasky’s Turbo Kick Boxing class at 24 Hour Fitness for over a year. She convinced Lauren Duff to try Grit, and since they were two of my good friends, I figured if they both loved it so much that I should give it a try.  They’re both instructors at GritCycle now, and I’m hoping to follow in their footsteps.

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

My very first class was an Allie B. class. I loved the music and I distinctly remember my first “motorcycle” experience.  I left the class convinced everyone in the room was crazy and that I would never look as coordinated (and yes, sexy!) as everyone else did.  I worked up the courage to give it one more shot and I loved that second class so much that I bought shoes the same day.

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What about Grit kept you coming back?

I could try to explain how much the Grit community means to me, but any explanation that I give will likely fall short. But, since I love to talk and write, I’m going to try to summarize it anyway.  There’s something about finding a group of people who accept you as you are, but who still care about you enough to push you outside of your comfort zone so that you can become the best version of yourself.  That the community that I found at Grit – those people who have hugged me while I’ve cried, encouraged me to try hard things (like audition to become an instructor), and rejoiced with me in moments of victory and success. The people here are not just my “fitness family” – we’ve forged lifetime bonds and connections that exist well beyond the walls of this place.

Describe how your life {physically, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, professionally, etc} has been affected by your time spent at Grit.

Everyone is so accustomed to talking about the amazing community and people at Grit that sometimes we gloss over how AMAZING the workout actually is! I used to run and take Turbo Kick Boxing, but after developing chronic IT band issues from running and multiple stress fractures in my foot from jumping during TKB, I realized I had to find another solution.  I actually started taking spin class at Grit when my doctor told me I couldn’t run or jump for 6 weeks.  Spin was the solution – and the amazing part is that I’m in better cardio shape than ever.  Not too long ago, I ran a 5K race without any cardio training other than Grit and I took 2nd place in my division.  Grit is the most fun I’ve ever had working out – it produces results – and it really is a party on a bike!

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Have other people in your life noticed these changes? What are their thoughts?

I’m not gonna lie: I’ve never been a dancer, but my co-workers noticed my newfound confidence in my dance skills the last time we were all in Vegas together. I mean, they didn’t tell me I was better, but I’d like to think that dancing 5+ hours a week on a bike has helped my moves on the dance floor at least a little bit!

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

When you come to Grit the first time, take a look around the room. Every single person that you see here was once taking their first Grit class and feeling as intimated as hell too.  The truth?  Everyone is so busy watching themselves in the mirror that nobody is actually watching you.  The other thing? Say hello.  After all, you may never know who is on the bike next to you.  That mom sitting next to you?  She’s going to be the one that you text when you think your knee is infected and need advice.  That beautiful girl who seems quiet?  She’s going to become your hairdresser and a good friend that you text every week.  That brunette?  You’re going to be one of her bridesmaids.  That new guy you introduced yourself to?  He’s going to be the one who invites you to dinners and parties and becomes one of your favorite people.  That green haired instructor?  Someday, you’re going to text her and tell her how she has inspired you to “be unapologetically you.” Well, those are just some of the people I met when I said, “hello” at Grit, and I’m so glad I did.

It looks like in two years you’ve barely missed a class!!?

To the best of my knowledge, I’ve late cancelled one time and no-showed one time in the nearly two years I’ve been coming to Grit. I have an alarm set for 12:29 pm each day, and yes, that alarm has been known to go off in the middle of a C-level executive meeting. Cue the blushing and the mad grab to silence the phone (followed by booking my bike on my phone under the conference table). I treat my workouts like the popular saying, “You wouldn’t skip an important meeting on your calendar, so book your workouts and treat them like meetings.”

What or Who is your biggest inspiration or motivation?

My dad has inspired me to want to be excellent in everything that I do. If you’ve known me for even a few moments, then I’ve probably told you the story of my dad, Denny Reed.  He joined the angels on July 13, 2014, after over a decade of fighting cancer.  It wasn’t the way that he died that makes him my inspiration.

It’s the way that he LIVED.  He was born with a congenital heart defect and yet became the first in his family to go to college.  He had a major heart operation when I was 11 and my mother was told he would never wake up, yet he went on to become a VP of a Fortune 500 company and walk me down the aisle when I was 21. He never lost his desire to succeed, he never lost his sense of humor, and he never lost his faith.

Some of his phrases of wisdom are echoes that I still hear today when I’m faced with challenges.  “You cannot control the actions of others.  You can only control your reaction to them.”  “Don’t trade what you want most for what you want at the moment.”  And of course…”Never argue with an idiot.  They’ll drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience!”

Do you have a mantra that inspires you?

When I think about how Grit Cycle has changed me, I summarize it this way, “In the darkness of that room, I found a light inside me that I never knew existed.” And, if you’ve ever taken a Grit Cycle class with me, you’ve probably heard me find that light again and again since I yell and cheer each time I do!

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Do you have a class or ride that has been your most memorable or favorite?

To understand why my most memorable ride is the ride that is, you need a bit of background. My health and fitness journey has not been just my own: my husband of twelve years, Chris saw the changes I made in my life four years ago, and he wanted them too.  Through eating healthy meals (I love to healthy “hack” any restaurant’s menu and have been known to cook 10 minute meals live on Facebook) and through a regular workout routine,  we’ve lost a combined totally of nearly 55 pounds.  To have him go from dreading a workout to wanting to come to Grit Cycle with me has been nothing short of amazing. So, far and away, my favorite ride was a couple of weeks ago when Dani invited my husband, Chris, and me to ride her podium. Having that moment in the spotlight together was one of the most invigorating and emotional experiences I’ve had at Grit Cycle yet.  My mistake?  Getting caught checking out my husband mid-ride!  I could not stop blushing, and definitely got called out by a couple of Gritties after class.

What is your favorite song to ride to and why?

Anything that I can sing along to. I am #sorrynotsorry for constantly serenading the rest of the class while spinning.  It’s not my fault if I know all the words to nearly every song ever written.

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Cheers to you Miss Katie! We are so grateful to have you in the Grit Family and even more excited as you begin your instructor training journey. Thank you for sharing your story.

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