My Name is Rick Hall, and I have been a Cycle instructor at the City Sports Club in Fremont, California since August 2013. I am proud to say that at 52 years old I am in the best shape of my life.
In 1990, I was at a stop light when my car was rear-ended by a pickup truck whose driver was busy on a cell phone. The impact was so hard that it bent my driver’s seat backward and left me with whiplash and my 11th vertebrae locked onto my 12th. One year after the accident (while still under doctor’s care) I was rear-ended again. Doctors put me on short-term disability to try and reduce the pain and swelling I was experiencing. At 25, I knew there was no way I was going to let this beat me.
Once I had given my back time to heal, I slowly began to work out. This started what has become an obsession with fitness. Years later while at a small independent club, the cycling instructor was moving away and the class was going to be canceled. I became certified in cycling and started teaching. A couple of years later City Sports Club opened the club in Fremont and I began teaching 5 days a week.
I joined a small independent gym and started a workout regimen. In an effort to strengthen my back, I focused on my core and abdominal muscles to build lean muscle. Everyone needs to remember that your heart is the most important organ in the body. It is essential to work that heart, as it is the fundamental basis for all good health. There is rarely a day that you will not see me working out in the gym and Sunday is the only day I do not have class. My routine always starts with weight lifting between 1 to 1 ½ hours. I superset my training, always doing pushups in between every set. I am the happiest when I am able to work out even when I am on vacation.
I am a firm believer in working the internal as much as the exterior. Cardio makes my workouts harder, faster and better due to increased stamina. In addition to my class, I am very fortunate to live right below a beautiful regional park with hundreds of miles of running trails. I have run a lot of races through the years and ran my first marathon when I was 50 years old. The majority of the training for my first marathon was through my class, as I had only run 13 miles in the hills 5 times before the run and on my second marathon I had not run in almost a year. It was solely my class that gave me the stamina. I was not even sure I could do the second marathon, and at mile 11 I had to assess if I would go on or just do the ½ marathon. I was feeling good so I pressed on finishing the full 26.2 miles.
There is no denying that my class is tough, but I constantly stress to take it at your pace, and most of all, just have fun. I never knew the impact I could have on people and I am very blessed that I have made so many great friends. What keeps me motivated is the impact that my class has had on so many people. I have 3 members who have lost 100 pounds, as well as members of all ages, sizes, and shapes – not only that, my class has improved the lives of members with various medical conditions.
I teach 5 days a week at Fremont and 1 day per week at the Whipple Hayward location. I generally burn between 800 to 900 calories per class, but I always tell members that even if you just sit there and pedal it is more than sitting on a couch. I try very hard to make members feel welcomed and tell them to leave any anxiety outside the door.
When I was 18 my father had a mild heart attack. It was that event that got me to start looking at nutritional contents of food. Because heart decease was prevalent on his side, I started maintaining a low-fat diet and began realizing that your body is like a steam locomotion. If you were to fill the fire with coal it will burn hot, but go out quickly. However, if you feed the fire a little at a time the locomotion will keep a steady pace to the station. Your body acts the same way. Food is the energy that helps sustain momentum and can improve your life and workouts.
I really don’t believe in the word ‘diet’, as it has taken on a negative stigma in society and commonly sets people up for failure. Instead, it is more important to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I keep stressing the importance of consistency not only in nutrition but also in exercise.
This can be one of the most challenging obstacles an instructor has to face. Although I can be very committed to the class, this does not guarantee that the members will have the same dedication to themselves. I try to maintain a positive attitude, provide a fun atmosphere, consistently challenge members, and lead by example teaching classes 6 days a week. What members don’t realize is the majority of the time, they are motivating me in return. I am very fortunate to have a very large following of members. There are a lot of couples that take cycle class together, I have members that travel over 30 miles away to attend, and it is always great to have new members attend.
To give you an idea of my “age bracket”, I was in Girls Athletic Association as I went to high school before there were competitive girls’ sports teams. We simply played one another in an Intramural setting. Fitness and athleticism have always been an interest and priority!
Fast forward to 2013 – I had just turned 60 years old, and after years of hiking, jogging, cycling, backpacking & fitness classes I had settled into walking. I was feeling mundane about fitness and no longer motivated. Although still at a decent weight due to healthy eating, my aging body was going south!
City Sports Club was coming to town and I joined. I wandered into Rick’s Cycle class quite by accident, and I liked the music and it looked like a lot was happening in there. Well, I was right and I could not keep up! I very dramatically collapsed across the bike. Exhausted, I sheepishly snuck out after about 20 minutes.
Realizing it was fun and that cycling could be the answer to my fitness woes, I went and spoke with Rick. He encouraged me to keep coming to class, to do it at my own pace and to be consistent. I asked him what he meant by consistent and he said 3 – 4 times per week. I shoot for 4 times per week and attend more if my schedule allows
Fast forward to 2018 – I have been attending Rick’s classes for almost 5 years. I’m happy to say that everything that was going south before is back where it should be. I enjoy a high level of health and fitness.
Rick is able to teach a class that is challenging to every level of fitness, age, and background. His dedication and enthusiasm is contagious and it shows as there is a community of folks who follow him on a regular basis and make it a priority to attend his class. Rick is a friend to many and I know I look forward to seeing him and others at the end of the day in cycle class. People are there for a myriad of reasons. Some come for weight loss, others for mental health and fitness. As for me, I am stronger, I am healthier, and I just plain enjoy it! Thank you, Rick and City Sports Club.Carol C.
My whole life has always been filled with sports: baseball, football, wrestling, basketball etc. I was active, athletic, and constantly moving until I settled down and got married at 25. Along came work, children, grown-up life! In other words, I got lazy. Okay, maybe I had some good excuses to not make time for exercise, but I certainly wasn’t making it a top priority. They say that the average man gains 2-3 pounds every year that they are married. I gained over 5 pounds per year over 22 years of being married – that’s 110-120 pounds! At the time I was wearing waist size 42” jeans and XXL size shirts. Not to mention how sluggish and tired I constantly felt and how much my back and joints hurt. The wakeup call for me was when my oldest brother, who was only 3 years older than me, died as a direct result of his unhealthy lifestyle over many years. It finally caught up with him. I was heading down that same road – high blood pressure, pre-diabetic, and a BMI that was off the charts! Something had to change.
As we walked out of this popular restaurant that I loved to eat at, we noticed that a new building was going in next door. We walked over and saw that it was a new gym. I had memberships at other gyms in the past, but at the encouragement of my wife, we decided to give this one a go – City Sports Club. I ran into a good friend and he suggested I go to the Cycle class with him. I figured it’s just pedaling a bike so I gave it a shot – boy was I wrong! My first night in class was a Tuesday evening at the end of July 2013. I was dying! I was just praying that I wouldn’t give up or pass out. I thought the class was 30 minutes until the spin instructor Rick shouted, “We’re halfway there – keep working!” After that very first class I thought to myself, “I’m never coming back,” but Rick caught me as I was leaving and encouraged me by saying 3 things: “Keep coming back, it gets easier the more you do it, and what I was doing was better than just sitting on the couch watching television.” So that’s exactly what I did. I started showing up 3-4 times a week, always trying to do better than I did the week before. In the first year of committing to “showing up” I lost 50 pounds! The second year I lost another 50 pounds for a total of 100 pounds over a 2-year time period! It has been almost 5 years now since that first spin class and I have lost a total of 125 pounds. I now wear a size 32’ waist jeans and M/L size shirt. I wouldn’t have been able to have this degree of success with keeping the weight off if it wasn’t for the love and support of my wife Candy and Rick Hall, my Cycle “guru,” kicking my butt and keeping me engaged in our Cycle class at City Sports Club! Thanks, Rick for always challenging me over the years, for not letting me use excuses to fall back into my old habits, and for genuinely caring for the everyone that steps into ourCycle class.
Thanks, City Sports Club.Lindsey A.
When I was young, I was very athletic. I played softball and tennis. I made varsity tennis all four years of high school. Unfortunately, I developed very bad eating habits and became lazy. I ballooned up to 386 lbs. I was taking insulin 4 times a day. I was very depressed. I became more depressed when I saw the pictures of myself at my middle son’s wedding.
What got me into fitness was my doctor. He helped me lose about 60 pounds with a diet and said that I needed to start exercising. I started going to City Sports Club. I had tried doing the weights and treadmills, but I did not see results. I felt like I was going to go back to where I was in weight.
One day, I saw one of Rick’s classes and noticed that one of my high school friends was taking his intense class. I told her I would love to do what she was doing, but there was no way I could keep up. She had Rick come and speak with me. He said his Cycle class was all about my own workout. He said you could just sit on the bike and pedal. He said as long as I wasn’t sitting on a couch eating a bag of potato chips, that was all that mattered.
So I tried his class. It took me about three months before I could stand up during the class. I started his class weighing in at 320 pounds. remember being so tired after class and how I would try to make excuses to not go to Cycle. But then I started noticing I was sleeping better and had so much energy. I started walking to things, instead of driving. Then one day someone said, “Wow you have lost so much weight!” I think that was my driving force. nd so my fitness journey had begun. I started going to the gym at least an hour before Cycle class and worked out with the weights 5 times a week. Some of the people in my Cycle classes showed me how to use some of the equipment and we became friends. About a year and a half after I started Rick’s class, I heard everyone talking about running in Vegas. I had never been to Vegas. When Rick found out, he invited me to come. I ran my first 5k and had a great time (I was so sore). The next year I did another 5k and 10k and then I did a ½ marathon (the worst and best day of my life). At least I can now say I did a ½ marathon.
I feel like I am in a good place right now. I am still going to class and trying to lose my last 50 lbs. My other two sons were married and I was really happy to see the pictures of me after my weight loss. Check out those legs!
I recently became a grandmother and I get on the floor with my granddaughter and play with her, things I could not physically do before. I am still running 5ks and 10ks, things I would have never done at 386 pounds. Last summer, we rode our bikes over the Golden Gate Bridge on the hottest day San Francisco had ever had. But I did it! Who knows, maybe I will start dating again.
My true motivation is the wonderful friendships I have made in Rick’s class. We run, hike, bike ride, go to movies, go eat at awesome restaurants, and go on vacations together. We all agree that we have made an extended family with our group from Rick’s class. I have stopped all of my medications I was on for diabetes and cholesterol. I have not felt this healthy in a long time. I will continue taking Rick’s Cycle classes; the energy in his class is awesome.Teresa T.
I started attending Rick’s cycling class at a different health and fitness club in 2008. Wow, it’s been a full decade!
I originally joined the gym to stay fit and control my weight gain during pregnancy, and to subsequently help with weight loss after pregnancy. I powered through cycling classes during pregnancy until I could no longer reach the handles. I came back to the gym after Peyton was born to try to lose the weight gained. It was definitely a struggle at the beginning, and making it through a full class was no easy feat.
I followed Rick when he left to work at City Sports Club, and that was a huge upgrade from the previous gym. I went from a class of less than 10 with bikes that were always in need of repair to a class with 30+ bikes which could be reserved in advance.
Rick’s Cycle class has an energy that I haven’t gotten in any other fitness class. Over the course of taking his class regularly, I have lost over 15 lbs., run 3 half marathons, completed a sprint triathlon, and run dozens of 5K’s, 10K’s, and even a few challenging mud-runs. I wasn’t really into any of those extracurricular activities before that. I even bought myself a commuter bike and started riding to work every day. The energy I gain from taking his class has also expanded to weight training, which helps me to stay fit and strong enough to care for my 14-year-old special needs daughter who is now the same size as me.
I continue to stay motivated simply through the friendships I have acquired over the many years of taking Rick’s class. It is such a social and rewarding experience that has extended beyond the classroom into activities such as an annual hiking weekend in Yosemite with fellow classmates. My family continues to encourage me to Cycle because they realize how much it improves my mood after a long and stressful day at work. I will continue to go as long as I possibly can so I can be healthy and happy and take care of my family.Rosie L.
What can I say about Rick and his class? I have been an off-and-on member at this club since it first opened its doors about five years ago. Shortly thereafter I noticed this great vibe – pulsing music and exuberant, joyful people pouring out of the room with all of these new bikes. Both the bikes and the class were totally foreign to me at the time, but it was really the first time I had witnessed people so excited and sweaty at the same time. My typical experience to that point when seeing someone drenched with that level of sweat was that the energy and enthusiasm would totally be sapped out of them after the class!
Not so with Rick’s class. I soon figured out the secret to getting into one of Rick’s classes. Shortly after the club’s opening, the class would be so full you literally had to camp out upwards of 30-60 minutes in order to get a bike! Once I figured out the system, I quickly became a regular. In those initial few years, I was hovering around 270+ lbs. As of the time I write this message today, I’m hovering at 220 lbs. – still not quite where I want it to be, but so much better than where I had been in those days.
I credit Rick’s energy and enthusiasm in helping me stay motivated. His class is just super fun! The music is loud and keeps you pumped and going. He’s like a master DJ in the front of the class, picking up the pace and slowing it down masterfully in order to help his students maximize their burn.
In recent years I have unfortunately been dealt a blow, in that I have been diagnosed with an inherited retinal disease (IRD) called Cone-Rod Dystrophy. This condition has caused me to struggle with things like biking, team sports, even driving – which I have had to largely give up about three years ago. Rick (by way of his class) has provided me a healthy outlet to help keep me in shape. Beyond that, I’ve realized that it also serves to help keep my mind on a positive track which is no small thing when you are dealing with a condition like this. Depression is real and you have to work hard to keep yourself from falling into that trap.
I am extremely grateful for Rick and his Cycle class at City Sports Club in Fremont, CA. It has helped keep me well in mind and body. I couldn’t ask for anything more out of a health club – and couldn’t think of going to any other club. In my opinion, more instructors like Rick are needed.Jesse N.