Hands down… Kevin is the sexiest Backstreet Boy, ”Cody Rigsby tells me and my fellow Peloton runners as we sweat through a hill climb until one of his 30 minute pop lessons. The 34-year-old New Yorker stands up in his rainbow-patterned cycling shorts, snapping his fingers as the song plays over a track by Britney Spears, the popstar who he says made him realize that ‘he was gay as a teenager.
Funny to imagine the man who came up with the vacation plan spending the first half hour of his day riding Rigsby’s hymns and sassy hand gestures alongside me, but that’s probably how the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, will spend his next eight days in isolation. “I’m a huge fan of Cody Rigsby, he’s definitely my long-term favorite,” Sunak, 41, told the 20 Minute VC podcast last month, saying he enjoyed joining the featured cycling instructor for a ride. Britney ride at 6 am on the £ 1,750 bicycle each morning.
Rigsby’s comments about having a hot post-pandemic summer or ‘girl on a girl’ could be a kick in the teeth to Sunak, currently locked in her apartment at number 10 after contacting the secretary to Health Sajid Javid, who tested positive. But if that’s the motivation he’s looking for, he’s definitely turned to the right person. The former professional dancer joined the cult US spin bike brand seven years ago after a touring career with Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj. Peloton has since amassed 5.4 million members worldwide and the fitness hunk has become fitness royalty, with nearly 800,000 subscribers on Instagram and 129,000 on TikTok – 16 times that of his favorite Backstreet Boy and among the best of all Peloton instructors. Last summer, his Britney Spears themed live cycling class in New York City drew 24,000 runners and Vogue called him the ‘king of the forties’ of Peloton as a growing wave of addicts to the spin looked to Rigsby’s classes to help them get through the long, dark days. at home in confinement.
Today, from the balcony of his new $ 1.46 million penthouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Rigsby is a little more reserved than he is when he is having fun with Britney. “I feel like a stupid American … someone must have explained to me who [Sunak] was, ”he laughs, adjusting his baseball cap to hide his usually expertly styled hair after a workout. Last year his Instagram grid was littered with messages urging Americans to vote in the US election, but he admits he’s less up to date with UK politics and is more excited by a recent shout from the RuPaul’s Drag Race star Trixie Mattel. “I [looked up who Sunak was] and I was like, ‘Well that’s cool … very, very influential people are inspired and influenced by me,’ ”he says blushing.
Sure, inspiring is what Rigsby does best. It’s funny to imagine Sunak waking up to a larger than life American in a lightning bolt earring telling him he’s “vaccinated and ready to hit him.” “The masks are going to fall off this summer, so brush your teeth …” Rigsby told the runners in his final “XOXO, Cody” lap, in which he asks fans to send questions about their love life post -pandemic. “Because we didn’t survive a pandemic to be wiped out by your bad breath, okay?” “
The more time I spend with Rigsby, the more Sunak fandom I get. If there’s one thing the spin guru offers more than any instructor, it’s motivation and hashtag-worthy slogans – surely exactly what any leader needs before making big decisions that affect 66 million people. “You are fierce, you are amazing, you are strong, you are confident,” Rigsby will tell you as you wonder how you are going to survive the next 16 minutes of torture. “Get out of that cranky attitude,” he will tell you when you recover from that pre-work alarm again. He’s even known for telling his riders to imagine himself as a singer in Britney’s Toxic video, wearing a red wig. Maybe Sunak replaces the wig with his red briefcase – the way he walks up to number 11 is certainly more sassy than his predecessor, Philip Hammond.
I ask Rigsby how he conjures up his simple lines and he tells me most come to him in the moment – he’s always been a “chatty Cathy” and likes to say things as they come to him, “unfiltered”. But he also keeps a list on Apple Notes. “Sometimes I walk around town and think of something funny, so I write it down on my iPhone and put it back on a merry-go-round,” he laughs at the way he, like a lot of people. ‘between us, likes to scroll through the “mess” of shopping lists interspersed with notes on his deepest and darkest thoughts.
Clearly, it is this human approach that riders love. Rigsby can boast of having the body of an athlete and the face of a Disney Prince (he has a Mickey Mouse tattoo on his inner bicep), but he’s also recognizable, chatting with runners about his plans for the 4th. July and growing up gay in the southern states. He’s openly talked about his relationship with his partner for two years, Barry’s Bootcamp instructor Andrés Alfaro, and his mother Cindy is regularly the subject of anecdotes (he moved her from North Carolina to an apartment for five blocks 18 months ago and they try to see each other once a week).
I ask questions about his rise to success and Rigsby tells the story of his childhood: growing up “super poor” with a single mother after the death of her father, spending three years homeless, living in hotels or with friends. of the family. “We were on food stamps at one point and my mom struggled with addiction as well,” he tells me. “I started working at McDonald’s when I was 16, just so I could afford a car and some of my mom’s bills.
Rigsby moved to New York in 2009 and when he started out as a spin instructor Peloton paid him $ 150 per class (at one point he taught 15 per week) – a serious improvement by compared to the $ 25 an hour he previously earned as a waiter. . Today, the company’s revenue is up 172% from a year ago – its founder John Foley is worth $ 1.3 billion – and given its lavish new penthouse in Brooklyn, Rigsby is clearly doing well. “Monetary success is obviously something that is… it’s great, you know,” he says humbly. “But it takes a lot of hard work – it’s something I never thought I would achieve.”
Today, Rigsby has obvious confidence. His Instagram grid is a mosaic of smoldering shirtless selfies, wellness brands, and colorful drag costumes. “I don’t have enough time to waste trying to be someone else,” he tells me. But just like its monetary success, it was not always so. Growing up in North Carolina, he denied his sexuality for years and remembers trying to date a girl but “nothing worked.” “Just to be clear, this song [Hit Me Baby One More Time] made me gay, ”he told bikers on a ride in the ’90s. (“ You must listen to a lot of Britney – but you know, it’s not a bad thing to try to motivate you, “Sunak admitted).
With new classes being added most of the time, I expect Rigsby to tell me he gets up at 5 a.m. to build up his muscles before a class. But Rigsby’s routine is more relaxed. His alarm clock goes off at 8:30 or 9:30 am most of the time and he swallows two glasses of water before coffee, a breakfast salad, cherries and yogurt (“I’m really a fan of cherries right now”) and eggs (“always eggs”). If he runs out of time, he will drink a cup of egg whites.
Her pre-class routine? Definitely not burpees or meditation like some of his Peloton peers. “I go to work, I eat a salad. I do my hair because I’m very specific about it and then I brush my teeth because there is something about having a clean mouth that makes me feel like I’m ready to be on stage, ”said to me. -he. When the camera starts rolling he doesn’t feel like he’s alone as he can see the names on the leaderboard. “It’s really special to be able to get together like this.”
Rightly or foolishly, I expect Rigsby to spend hours on the bike every day, perfecting his technique, testing playlists, training for back-to-back classes. But I am also wrong about that. Aside from EDM lessons from fellow instructor Ben (he’s “really” into house music), Rigsby says he saves most of his driving for when the camera is on and does most of his other workouts. on the Peloton treadmill or in the gym with his trainer, Brett. He trains with Brett two to four times a week and really, I shouldn’t be surprised. Obviously, the man paid to motivate thousands of people around the world also needs his own motivator (and you don’t get guns like that just by spinning).
Surprisingly, Rigsby is not as political as he looks. Although he calls himself a “stubborn homosexual” and calls on his supporters to vote and #freeBritney, he believes Peloton should be an apolitical space. “It doesn’t matter where you are, the moment you start talking about these things you are alienating people,” he says. “I think there is a lot of good to be done by inviting people into the Peloton space, by teaching them to love each other, to be more compassionate, to be more open-minded … Also, we are in a society where something can be completely misinterpreted the way you actually mean it. “
Rigsby seems excited when he talks about what’s to come. He is already an ambassador for the Therabody wellness brand and has many top secret projects coming up in the coming months. His main goal in the meantime? Introducing more and more people to fitness, whether they are new to sports, experienced cyclists or even politicians. Would he like to coax Boris Johnson on the bike? Rigsby laughs and gazes at the gray New York skyline. “I guess we could try.”
4 other top instructors
Barry’s Bootcamp master trainer and star of the brand’s bootcamp at 8:20 am every morning during the lockdown. The former singer and actress has around 15,000 followers on Instagram. She was invited to host a live class for Good Morning America viewers from her home in Kensal Green last year. @anyalahiri
AppleFitness + users might recognize Hartshorne at Other Space’s boutique studios across the capital. The former West End star now lives in LA and broadcasts his new life by running along Santa Monica Beach and training in Apple’s stylish California studio to its 28,000 subscribers. @iamjamieray
Hainsby is another of Sunak’s favorite Peloton instructors, after his daughters introduced him to his lessons. The former dancer trained at the Royal Ballet and toured with Taylor Swift before being recruited by Rigsby to become the UK’s first peloton instructor. She has over 233,000 followers on Instagram and is dating her fellow Peloton Brit Ben Alldis. @leannehainsby
The Los Angeles musician-turned-fitness star gave birth to daughter Aluna last month and spent the final months of her pregnancy as the face of Apple Fitness + ‘s new pregnancy workouts. She has 66,000 Instagram followers and is the founder of a non-profit organization that provides medical aid and school supplies to people with disabilities in Kenya. @betinagozo