KELLY RIPA, SOS EDITOR CLAUDIA LEBENTHAL, STACEY GRIFFITH
PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEOS BY DEBBY HYMOWITZ
From daytime television to morning television, Kelly Ripa has been making her presence known on the airwaves since 1990. We first got to know her as Hayley Vaughan on ABC’s “All My Children”, before becoming the co-host of “Live with Regis and Kelly” in 2001. Now the solo host of “Live with Kelly”, Kelly Ripa has proven she’s a force to be reckoned with and not just on the small screen. Packed into a 5’3” frame, this media powerhouse is a whole lot of muscle and endless energy, all of which I’ve witnessed plenty while riding with her over the last few years at SoulCycle.
The bubbly personality we all know and love on television is balanced by a sarcastic wit that fellow riders at SoulCycle experience on a regular basis. There is no diva here; Kelly is just a fresh-faced, funny, and approachable spin mate who didn’t hesitate to say yes when I worked up the nerve to ask if she’d be on Style of Sport. Her only request was that she didn’t have to wear any makeup. ‘How cool’, I thought, ‘How real! How Alicia Keys!’ The daily application of makeup is one part of her job that she is happy to skip when not required.
CLICK IMAGE ABOVE TO WATCH US IN ACTION!
For this installment of “WOW: Working Out With”, Kelly and I “doubled” at SoulCycle with one of our favorite instructors, Stacey Griffith — a star in her own right whose book, Two Turns from Zero, comes out this March. Anyone who rides with Stacey knows we are a tight knit group. The “double” seems to be a phenomenon unique to SoulCycle where riders just can’t get enough, taking not just one, but two classes in a row.
Very sweaty, we sat down post rides to talk about Kelly’s fitness regimen, what riding that bike does inside and out, and why we keep coming back for more.
STYLE OF SPORT: When did you start riding at Soul and how did you start riding with Stacey?
Kelly Ripa: Stacey was my first ride. A friend took me to a charity spin. They had just opened the Barn (SoulCycle’s Bridgehampton studio). Halfway through class Stacey came over to me and gently said, “You can sit down.” I couldn’t conceptualize what was happening. I had taken spin classes before, never really liked them, never really thought anything about them. They seemed kind of disorganized and this was organized. I was trying to keep up but I really didn’t know what I was doing. My legs were flying all over the place. She really paid attention to my first ride, and I thought, ‘This is for me’, because it’s a group atmosphere but you get one-on-one attention. It’s almost like a private training session in a large group.
SOS: I love how she gives everyone shout outs and has nicknames for all of us. I’m “SOS”.
KR: And I’m “KR”.
SOS: There are some people I don’t actually know what their real name is. Like “White Lightning”. I don’t know what her real name is.
KR: …and “Sexy Grandma”
SOS: Let’s talk about the “double”. This term and phenomenon is unique to SoulCycle. People think were nuts — the fact that we like to take two classes in a row, that one leaves us wanting more. What is this compulsion that we have?
KR: I think it’s like when you get to the club — and everything to me goes back to the club, because A, I never went to the club when it was age appropriate, and B, this is my version of the club. It’s the only place I feel really comfortable and where I have sort of found my “tribe” to coin a phrase. You know when you’re in the club and the DJ gets to the really good part? You don’t just pick up your shoes and go home. You go, ‘I just have to get a sip of water and I’ll be right back.’ And that’s what the double is.
SOS: It’s like another dance. I find the second class is easier, which people think is crazy. You’re warmed up, you’ve had a little rest, and your body is on auto pilot.
KR: You have to treat your first class like it’s your only class or you’ll half-step it through going ‘Well, I’ve got that second class.’
SOS: You’re in killer shape. Besides SoulCycle what other workouts do you do?
KR: I don’t think I’m in killer shape, but thank you. I’ve always been small so I try really hard to build muscle.
SOS: But you’re so cut up! Do you do other classes?
KR: I go to AKT which is Anna Kaiser Technique. I’ve known Anna almost as long as I’ve known Stacey. I’ve been riding with Stacey 10 years and training with Anna for 8 years. I find they go well together. It’s cardio dance training, and then we do a lot of resistance bands and we do a lot of heavier weights. So I do the majority of my muscle building there. I also run a lot. I’m a big runner. My son runs cross country for college so I run after him. I like to say we started running together and I used to drag him. It was like dragging a puppy on a leash. And then we started running together which was really nice but he’d be complaining the whole time. Then he started running where I was saying “Wait, wait, wait up. I can’t keep up with you.” Now we start together and he says, “I’ll see you back home.”
SOS: I think that’s something so special and something you see at SoulCycle, which is people taking class with their kids. I’ve seen you here with your daughter. Who drags who to class?
KR: Well, Lola never wants to spin with me. She wants to spin, but just not with me in the class.
SOS: But I see you here together a lot.
KR: Begrudgingly. She’ll say, “What you’re in Stacey’s class too?” She’s mortified. This will kill her. “Style of Sport? First of all you’re not sporty, and you have no style. So I’m not sure why they’re talking to you.”
SOS: Besides working out, do you watch what you eat?
KR: I eat a mostly clean diet. I definitely reward myself once in a while. I’ve never been a sweets eater. It actually hurts my teeth.
SOS: You’re lucky! So what’s your vice?
KR: Cheese! I love cheese. Every time I have my cholesterol tested I think is this the day where they say you need Lipitor.
SOS: So do you need Lipitor?
SOS: Then you’re offsetting it with all the exercise! Speaking of our insides, I don’t know about you, but so much of working out for me is mental.
KR: Oh, it’s all mental!
SOS: The energy I get, the confidence I get — and you now, you’re this one woman show. It’s “Live with Kelly” and you can’t really slack.
CHATTING IN STACEY’S OFFICE. CLICK IMAGE ABOVE TO WATCH OUR INTERVIEW!
KR: You can’t get sick. That’s the main thing. I’m super focused on not getting sick!
SOS: You’re carrying the show, and with different co-host everyday and that’s got to be hard.
KR: It’s not that hard. It’s kind of like being in SoulCycle, right? You get into the room and you may not feel like doing it that day, but once you get here you feel a thousand times better. Even if I wasn’t feeling well that morning, once I get I front of the studio audience, I feel a thousand times better.
SOS: How does working out help?
KR: It just centers me. It gives me things that I don’t even know I need when I need them. I think that’s why this is such a happy place for me, because when I’m exhausted or when I’m tired or I feel unfocused or I’m in a bad mood, I come here and it vanishes. It evaporates and I feel confident and restored and renewed and part of something. I feel like I’m a better parent and a better wife. I’m a better worker and I’m a better leader when I have this in my life.
SOS: You mentioned the word “tribe” earlier, which is something I hear so often when people talking about working out together.
KR: If everyone thought of each other as our tribe instead of our competition, the world would be a better place.
SOS: I do always think it’s amazing that we are all friends from riding a bike together in a dark room. It’s why we’re sitting here right now and why I had the balls to ask you to be on my website and you said yes.
KR: And I said, “What’s a website?” I know our show has a website but I have never been there. I don’t know how to find it. I’d be like, ‘How would I get there?’
SOS: It’s called the World Wide Web. But seriously this is big deal for me. I can’t even tell you! A huge thank you!
OUR TRIBE, INCLUDING PHOTOGRAPHER DEBBY HYMOWITZ!