Mother’s Day Instructor Spotlight - Heidi Shepherd and Kacey Shepherd Way

"My mom has been my boss, my colleague, but most of all my biggest supporter. There is no chance I would be teaching today if it weren't for her believing in me and pushing me to step outside my comfort zone.” 

— Kacey Way

We recently opened our JoyRide New Haven studio and basically struck gold with seven wonderful, experienced instructors from the area. Two of these professionals are actually a stunning mom and daughter, who both teach indoor cycling classes! What better time than Mother’s Day to highlight this JOYful pair? AND, there’s a super twist to their special story, so read more here.

How long have you both been fitness instructors and how did you get your start in the business?
Heidi
: Wow!  A long time! In 1983, I became certified to teach group exercise, a fun way to make money while in college!! When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a gym teacher -- but in the 80’s, it was all about making money and I was told by those around me that “you won’t make any money teaching.” I moved forward pursuing a degree in Business while at the same time taking courses in Anatomy, Physiology and human biology and I just loved learning about the body. Once my kids were born, I knew I wanted to be home with them. So, there began my journey into fitness as a career. I worked early mornings and late nights, which allowed me to be home with my kids and launch my business at the same time (of course, with the help of my husband who was with the kids when I was working!). Flash forward 30+ years - and here we are at PURE JOYRide!

Kacey: All things sports and fitness have always been a huge part of my life and I have always kept fitness and health at the forefront of my lifestyle. I became a certified cycling instructor in 2015, thanks to my Mom. She has always been my biggest inspiration and so encouraging. I would watch her inspire people daily and I wanted to do my part to have an impact on people's lives in the same positive way that she has done for so many years. 

You are both so amazing, happy and JOYful! Kacey, how did you decide that you wanted to become an instructor, like your mom (in addition to your day job)?

Kacey: Growing up I always knew and understood that my mom's job was to help people be the best versions of themselves. I remember being five or six and sitting in the stereo closet in the aerobics room where she taught, and getting to actually watch my mom do her job. I loved watching all of the people move in sync with one another (this was step or HiLo class at the time). I always used to tell my mom growing up that when she became too old to move that I would teach her classes for her. Flash forward about 15 years! In college, I became an avid runner and fell in love with long distance running. My mom constantly told me "you have to cross-train! You can't JUST run! You are going to wear yourself down." Like all moms, she was right. I was so against anything OTHER than running.

I didn't think that anything would give me the same sweat, the same rush, the same love, until I reluctantly got on the bike. I wasn't an easy sell. I tend to be a bit stubborn, and of course couldn't let my mom know she was right all of this time. However, the more of my mom's classes I took, the more my love for cycling grew. Once I graduated from college and was getting my Master’s, my mom suggested that I get certified in teaching and perhaps I could teach while I went to school. I got certified and the rest has been history. We have taught together for the last five years and it is truly such a special bond. My mom has been my boss, my colleague, but most of all my biggest supporter. There is no chance I would be teaching today if it weren't for her believing in me and pushing me to step outside my comfort zone. 

BIG NEWS! Kacey is expecting her first child in less than four short months! It is amazing that she is teaching classes right now - and barely looks pregnant! How does being physically active during pregnancy affect you?
Kacey
: The biggest adjustment I have had to accept is just understanding that every day is different! I have been active my entire life and have always had a very regimented workout routine/schedule. I have maintained most of my workouts with some modifications as needed. However, I have learned so much throughout this pregnancy — I have learned that it's okay to listen to your body. Right now, I am not in control and I don't really have a say in what or how I am feeling.  I have always loved to push my limits and prove to myself that I am better, faster, stronger than I was the day before.

However, becoming pregnant, I have become okay with just MOVING. Not every day has to be about being better than yesterday. I have learned to tell myself within the last few months "It's okay to only do 30 minutes of cardio" , "It's okay to just walk", "It's okay to take a rest day" (something I was terrible at prior to being pregnant).  So far, at 26 weeks (6.5 months) I still rely heavily on my workouts for my endorphins to keep me going. I am planning on working out and riding until Baby Way gets here! But again, I have surrendered all control, so we will have to see what the next few months hold! I tell my classes all the time, "It's not always easy, but it's worth it." and that has truly helped me through this pregnancy. 

Heidi: It affects me when I see her giving it her all even though I know she isn’t feeling well!!  Her commitment and dedication is unwavering.

Heidi, did you keep up your routine similarly during pregnancy, as well? 
Heidi: Unfortunately no, I was very sick with my son my first pregnancy pretty much 24/7 the entire time. Then, with Kacey, I was put on bedrest at 22 weeks so that ended my workouts quickly!

How will you both celebrate Mother’s Day?
Kacey
: WE ARE CO-TEACHING! Sunday, May 12 at 9:30 a.m. in New Haven! We are going to dedicate our co-teach ride to my Gram (my mom's mom) who we lost in December after a long battle with cancer. This is our first Mother's Day without her, a bittersweet one for sure, but Grammie June LOVED to support us on the bike and we know she will be with us in spirit!! 

Heidi: Mother's Day has always been so special. My mom was my best friend. We always are together simply “creating a memory.”  This Mother’s Day will be different without my mom, but I know she is shining down on us and will be riding with us in our hearts!  To be on a bike next to Kacey is simply “the best." I am so beyond proud of her and honored to share the podium with her and my soon to be GRANDBABY!!  This is, in fact a Mother's Day TRI-TEACH!! My heart swells with joy every time I see Kacey teach. As she said all those years ago — she would someday be teaching just like me — And here she is! I look forward to spending Mother's Day afternoon with my family.

New Haven riders, book your bikes for this special ride at:  https://www.joyridestudio.com/joyride-new-haven-schedule#/week

lesley osborn