Yoga teacher Ron Habla wants you to experience the emotional and mental sides of indoor cycling
By Eric Nicole Salta | Photos by RG Medestomas | Grooming by Hannah Patriarca | Hair by Koi Castillo
Call it what you want but Ron Habla’s life is as flexible as his kapotasanas.
“I try to wear as many different hats as my 24-hour day will allow me to,” says the towering Habla. “I was never good at doing just one thing, but the difference now is I get to do all that I want to do and actually earn from them.
A yoga teacher by morning, an account manager for a business consulting firm by midday, and an indoor cycling instructor by night, this 27-year-old is a quiet force of flexibility packed in a lofty build that, to be quite honest, lifts spirits as soon as he twists and turns, bends but not break on the bike itself.
It’s as if Habla is translating one form of expression to another—from yoga to cycling—constantly moving and shaping his body to suit the situation. It makes for an enchantingly beautiful performance.
Getting to know Habla even more reveals, over time, how movement emerged from practically nowhere to the core of his career, thrusting himself into the fitness and active lifestyle scene to become an ideal many people seek.
When and how did your fitness journey begin?
I was never the athletic kid, so I didn’t play any sports growing up. I really discovered my love for movement (and being active) through dance. When I stopped dancing, I got into fitness because I wanted to stay in shape. I got a little more serious and consistent with going to the gym. I also discovered yoga around the same time and started to cultivate a regular practice. I fell in love with it so much that I ended up taking teacher training. I am now on my third year as a yoga teacher. Indoor cycling came into the picture because I wanted to add cardio to my fitness regimen. Like yoga, I ended up teaching it too.
Make it count. I always say that at the start of class. I do not encourage them to push all the time. I tell them instead to make a decision for themselves on how they want this to go at this moment in time. Then whatever they decide to do, they have to make it count
What is it about indoor cycling that makes it a great workout?
It’s a high-intensity, low-impact cardio workout. It’s said that you can burn about 500 calories in one class. I personally think you can burn more than that though, especially if the teacher gets creative about it. It’s a great workout because you go through an experience. You are there to stay, linger, and perhaps come back for more. One class or one ride will never be fully the same experience as the next one.
What’s so unique about your class?
I bring all that I am into my class, every single time. My background in dance and performance, the intensity that I like to have when I am in the gym, the teachings of and the learnings I get from my yoga practice, my knowledge of body alignment, kinesis and movement. My class is still primarily a physical workout experience, but I also leave room to explore the mental and emotional sides. There is only so much you can do on a bike and in an indoor cycling class, but if you bring who you are and your creativity, it can set you apart from the others.
What’s the toughest part of your job?
The reality that you are teaching a group and public class in itself is the toughest part of the job. You cannot expect people of the same fitness background to attend your public classes. You cannot expect people with the same passion for a particular music genre or intensity in a workout to attend your classes. They will all come from different backgrounds, with different expectations and goals, with different likes and dislikes, but your job still is to create a wonderful experience for each and everyone in that room. It is tough, but it is a challenge that I signed up for.
What advice would you give to someone struggling to meet their fitness goals?
Set a goal and have a picture in mind, then put those aside and focus on the day-by-day plan. Most fitness goals fail because we put so much emphasis on the outcome and too much pressure to achieve the end picture exactly how we envisioned it. When we cling on the results too much and they do not happen quite as planned, we lose motivation and immediately jump ship. When I set a goal, I focus more on the plan of attack and the day-to-day hustle. That keeps me excited and motivated to keep going, but, most importantly, it keeps away from obsessing over the results. I find also that focusing on the day-to-day plan helps create good habits, teaches us more about ourselves, and helps build overall character. That is the beauty of aiming for a fitness goal, not just achieving the goal itself.
Share a specific tip or trick to be able to finish a spinning class
Make it count. I always say that at the start of class. I do not encourage them to push all the time. I tell them instead to make a decision for themselves on how they want this to go at this moment in time. Then whatever they decide to do, they have to make it count. If they need to scale back because their body is really telling them to, they still need to do something and make that something count. They do not need to give up; they just need to make what they are doing count. That is all that matters. After all, what they put in will be what they get. When their mind is conditioned that way, they are in charge and in control. They are accountable. It is self-driven; they are self-motivated. I think it helps a lot, not just to get through the class per se but maybe to get them through life when they leave the bike or the studio too.