Inspiring Instructor - Maggi Muirhead

October 19, 2017

Inspiring Instructor - Maggi Muirhead

Hey VitalFit Community, 
We have another awesome instructor story to share with you today! I'm sure many of you may already know Maggi - her energy, passion, and humor are not easily forgotten! Maggi has a really unique story of getting involved in the Boston fitness community and a unique perspective - she's truly one of the most unique and personable instructors in the game. 
We first met Maggi while planning a community event together at the Reebok Collective in the South End.  After chatting a bit more, we learned that Maggi was a lead instructor at Turnstyle - one of Boston's most popular fitness studio's.  For those of you that haven't been to Turnstyle, they are definitely worth checking out - it is truly a welcoming and inclusive community and with instructors like Maggi at the helm, it's hard to go wrong! 
Although both of our schedule's have been a bit hectic recently (Maggi teaches ALL of the classes!) we were able to catch up and ask Maggi some questions about how she got into the fitness space and asked her for some of her takes on some of the things she deals with every day! We hope you all enjoy and if you haven't met Maggi yet, you're definitely missing out!
Hey Maggi! We wanted to start with something we genuinely have no clue about! We kind of just met and became fast friends but I'm not sure we even know the true backstory of how you became a fitness instructor - how'd it all come together?
I started taking classes at Velo-city (now the Back Bay location of Turnstyle) when I was a bartender at Back Bay Social Club. It took about 6 months of not so gentle pressure from the owners of Velo to get me on to a bike but I was hooked immediately. I started as a rider and about 5 months later started instructing. For the first year and a half I was either bartending and teaching or working a desk job and teaching and a little over a year ago I quit everything else to pursue fitness full time.

Awesome! I know there's a huge group of fans and fellow riders that are so glad that you made the leap! We wanted to touch on something that might relate to a lot of the readers - As someone who came from a background outside of the fitness industry, what could you tell someone who does want to get into the space?

In my experience, it just kind of happens but my advice would be to do these things: 1. Choose a discipline, spin, pilates, barre, whatever. 2. Pick a studio that you like and that fits your personality/how you imagine your teaching style. 3. Take a million classes there (not really, but close) and ask if they’re hiring. You’ll be familiar with their teaching style, how the studio operates, familiar with the staff, it will be easier to hire someone they know has less bad habits to teach out of them. 



Love it! We wanted to backtrack a bit and go back to one of the points you just made - finding a studio that fits you and obviously Turnstyle is a fit for you seeing as you started there and are still there now! What makes Turnstyle so unique ? 

We like to think we’re the “every man” of spin boutiques. We offer you that beat-based, high energy class without the pretense you’ll find in a lot of other studios. The majority of our instructors also have other careers and spin is a pursuit of passion for them. I think their love for the ride and the fact that we’re all just normal, approachable people makes a huge difference in our ability to engage with riders. 

We've noticed that too - it's a really welcoming community and we like to say that Turnstyle is the most non-intimidating place to visit! I think that what makes Turnstyle so cool is that you guys are really bringing health and wellness to anyone! Why do you think that this is important? What effect has your own wellness journey had on your life?

I like to think of health and wellness in a holistic sense - my personal fitness journey has been about 80% emotional/mental and 20% physical. As a woman in today’s society, we are constantly bombarded with messages intended to make us feel less. Becoming physically strong has given me a mental strength I couldn't have foreseen. That’s what I’m hoping to bring to people in the spin room. Physical fitness is a gift and a privilege but to translate that wellness into confidence in your everyday life is just as important. I want people to walk out of that room and be able to look at all of those messages and not feel less. I want to give them the confidence to say “f*&% that, I’m great, look at what I just did.”

That's such an epic answer and certainly especially relevant with all of the news of the last few weeks - thank you so much for sharing that! We think that that energy, confidence, and tenacity is really what sets you apart – where does all of this come from and do you ever get worn down? If so, what do you do to get your vibe back?

Gee, thanks, I appreciate that! I truly, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart love what I do. Every time I step into that studio, I am inspired by all of the people that have sacrificed time in their day to be there. When I start to get tired or worn down, I remind myself why I’m there and what I want to do for every person in that room. I know it’s cheesy but that’s the truth, I feed off of them. Oh, and caffeine, a TON of caffeine. 

Everyone can certainly tell that you love what you do and have a huge passion for it - and I'm sure it doesn't hurt that the Turnstyle in Ink Block is literally surrounded by coffee shops - I know it's always a highlight of our visits! As you continue to expand your presence in the field, what are some of your goals for the future?

Long term and short term - get really, really strong. Like Thor strong. 

We wanted to switch gears a bit and talk about some things outside the studio! How about a layup question - you went to college here and obviously still live in town, so, where are some of your favorite places to go in the city? Any hot tips? 

I just moved to Southie and I have had a great time getting to know this neighborhood. Everyone is so young and fit and there is food everywhere. If you ever want to run into instructors letting loose (from a lot of different gyms), let me suggest the Southie trifecta - Loco, Lincoln, Capo - you’re bound to see a few of us!

We love that you mentioned getting together with instructors from other studios and that brings us to a point we wanted to discuss.  As we mentioned in the intro, we first met at Reebok and worked with many in the industry to bring stakeholders together for collaboration! We know that you do a lot to collaborate with just about everyone in the industry so we had to ask – how do you see collaboration as a driver for change in the wellness space moving forward?

I think it’s not only important, but necessary. All of our worlds are inextricably connected and like I said, wellness is a holistic process. The Turnstyles need the VitalFits and the Cambridge Naturals and the POST Physical Therapies. If we really care about the people we are aiming to help, it is imperative that we collaborate. I look forward to the relationships that are being built in Boston, specifically. I have seen a lot of this industry become more closely connected in the last 3 years and the more involved we are with each other, the better we can provide for our clients. 

That's so true - I know that the collaboration and growing Boston wellness network is something we've noticed in our short time in the industry too! Before we wrap up, we wanted to touch on social media and get some of your thoughts. For anyone who follows you on social media, you have this kind of “work hard, play hard” vibe – do you do this on purpose or is it just a peak inside your life? Do you think that balancing work and play is essential for your success?

Ugh, social media. My Instagram game is pretty poor and that’s on purpose. This is going to be unpopular, but I’m not a brand, I’m a human. I am not in the business of building a narrative around my life and selling it to strangers on the internet in the interest of filling bikes in my classes. The world has more than enough people posting things that misrepresent reality, everything on my Instagram is true to life. I love going out with my friends on the weekends and eating pizza on Mondays and if I’m feeling vain enough to share that with everyone, then it gets put up there. That said, 100 times yes to having time to socialize being essential. Being an instructor is physically draining sure, but it’s probably twice (if not more) emotionally draining. That time to let loose and relax is necessary for my sanity.

I think that's a perfect way to wrap this up - and that answer really encapsulates everything about you - relatable and always just being yourself! We can't wait to have some fun together soon! 

For anyone who is interested in learning more about Maggi, be sure to check out the Turnstyle schedule (she teaches all over the city!), on insta (definitely a very fun follow) @maggimuirhead or if you contact us we'll be sure to get you in touch! Thanks to Maggi for joining us for another inspiring instructor post!

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