28-05-2021 |

Harry French: how I became an Indoor Cycling instructor

CycleMasters instructor Harry French giving spinning lessons

The Early Years

Exercise runs in my family. Everyone played field hockey from a young age, most continuing into adulthood, but I never experienced the same camaraderie. On the pitch, I felt out of place. Aged five and only ten months into my hockey career, the coach told my mum that I preferred drawing pictures in the sand to playing hockey.
Whilst I enjoyed surfing, wakeboarding, skiing, swimming, and coast steering in my youth, I never associated these with being athletic because they were always a part of our holidays. I dabbled in after school sports here and there, and even played as prop on my high school rugby team for six months before quitting halfway through a match. He’s more suited to drama club people said, including me, and that is where I spent the rest of my teenage years. Nobody guessed that I would be the only family member to pursue a career in fitness.

The Troubled Years

I hit a particularly difficult patch in my life at age eighteen. My parents divorced, I got a series of tattoos I regretted, and I gained a lot of weight. From a tiny guest house in the north of the Philippines, having been away from England for eighteen months, I booked a flight home. I boarded twelve hours later and only informed my mum via text whilst sitting in the departure lounge. Once I convinced my family I was not the victim of a cartel smuggling scheme, they were excited to have me back.

The Better Years

On home soil, I joined the local gym. I feared the weights section but found comfort in a variety of exercise classes alongside yummy mummies who had just dropped their kids off at school. I was welcomed and appreciated in a fitness space for the first time in my life, and within a few months, I lost weight and gained confidence. Looking back on that gym, those classes, the teachers, and my fellow participants, I feel great joy.

When I moved to the Netherlands in 2015, I stuck to what I knew and continued attending exercise classes. I tried indoor cycling and, having enjoyed it, began attending two classes per week. When I moved to Amsterdam in 2018, a Tinder date gave me a coupon to a new, luxury indoor cycling studio. The owner scouted me at my first class. The Tinder relationship was short-lived, but that’s ok because I have my career to thank him for.

The first year of Indoor Cycling

Gratification and belonging. Those words explain a lot. In the first few months of teaching Indoor Cycling, I had a new sense of purpose. I was powerful, I was motivational, and I was a leader. Moreover, people came to be taught by me. Indoor cycling made me proud of myself in ways no other sport had before.

The Last Year

When the pandemic hit, most parts of the fitness industry came to a halt. I twiddled my thumbs and persevered without change for a long time until, in February 2021, I took the power back. I refused to let these troubling times complicate my career and financial status. By March, I was recording my first online indoor cycling classes with Cycle Masters. So, whilst I still don’t know how to play field hockey, I do know how to return a curveball (that’s a baseball reference, by the way, maybe tennis too).

I often reflect on how honored I am to work with all the studios and businesses I do because fitness is more than my job – it was my recovery and remains my passion. I live and breathe it. With every indoor cycling class I teach, my skills grow, and my love strengthens. It runs in my blood, faster and faster each day.

Harry French


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