Faces of Joy: Elise Cavanaugh

Introducing our "Faces of JoyRide Series," starting with new mom and Wilton JoyRider, Elise Cavanaugh


What initially brought you to JoyRide?

I found JoyRide when I started working in Wilton. I was looking for a way to reincorporate exercise into my week. Unlike some other fitness studios I had tried, I was looking for something closer to my office that would be non-intimidating.

Has exercise been a part of your life for a long time?

I played sports in college, and always tried to stay fit. However, when I started a new job, I found myself sitting at a desk most of the day. Also, at 36 years old, my metabolism really slowed down. I was probably the least fit I had ever been when my pregnancy started. I found myself making excuses to avoid working out, like “I am too tired in the morning, It’s too early. It’s a weekend.” 

When I found out I was pregnant, I said it is time to get back into taking care of myself and I tried Stacia’s 7:30 a.m. JoyCircuit class in Studio 2 (beneath the cycle room) and absolutely loved it. I could take this class twice a week and still be at my desk by 9:00am. As I fell into a routine that included JoyRide 3-4 times a week I would sometimes find myself tempted to slack off. The early mornings when I felt tired, or nauseous were hard. But something Stacia said in my first class really stuck with me. During a ride she said something along the lines of: "There is always a way, it is up to you to find it." That really stuck with me. I woke up tired, but I just kept going. I would say to myself: “Today is not the day I give up. There’s always a way.”  With Stacia’s words in my mind, I would make it to the early class, take a walk at lunch or find ways to make time for exercise on my own.

What motivates you on a daily basis?

It’s the feeling afterwards — you know the day will be 100% better - because you started off the day doing something for yourself! Right now I go to JoyRide as much as my baby's schedule allows. I think taking some time for myself, when I can, makes me a better mother.

How would you describe your JoyRide experience to friends and family?

Community. JoyRide has been an integral part of my journey to motherhood. It might seem small, but Stacia and the other riders I met at Joy have made a huge difference to me personally. My family lives on the West Coast now, so seeing the same group of women at class throughout my pregnancy made me feel supported. They would always ask how I felt and would listen to my questions, as they were mothers themselves. I had heard that "It takes a Village" and the JoyRide community was a big part of mine! When Margot was born I emailed her photo to Lauren Mallozzi (General Manager, JoyRide Wilton) from my hospital bed. I wanted her to know why I would be missing class that morning!

What are/were goals that you wish to accomplish with the help of JoyRide, or that you already accomplished

My goal was to be fit during pregnancy so that recovery was smoother. I had a C-Section and I wanted to go back to feeling like myself more quickly. During the surgery the doctors asked if I was an athlete because my pulse was so low. I replied no, and my husband corrected me, saying to the doctor, "yes she is, she takes her spin class like four times a week". I smiled and realized how proud I was of myself. After being cleared by my doctor, I was back to JoyRide two weeks after her birth! I took Jaime's Saturday Spin 60. The class felt like a vacation, I had so much fun, and needless to say, I enjoyed being out of the house all alone. It was the greatest feeling - and I could then go back home and be a better mom because I took the time for myself.