You also cry, laugh, and get angry to make your day better at Ida Paras’ indoor cycling class

By Eric Nicole Salta | Photos by RG Medestomas | Makeup by Hannah Patriarca | Hair by Koi Castillo

This isn’t the first time I’ve met Ida Paras.

A year ago, we featured a CrossFit gym in which she was still a part of. She was quiet and reserved back then. Happy to be in the sidelines partaking in a little shoot session with other athletes and instructors.

We meet again a couple months ago but this time as the lead instructor and general manager of Ride Revolution. There, sitting alongside fellow instructor Lexi Gancayco, Paras appeared as calm and quiet as I remember.

Then Paras showed why she’s the best person to lead a group of indoor cycling instructors. Once in front of the camera, it’s as if Paras accelerated so explosively—metaphorically of course even if she was on the bike—that you immediately get it.

If you are obsessed with music and fitness, if you love to perform and make new friends every day, if you are a selfless person and just want to make people around you happy, if you want be around a bunch of passionate strong beasts like yourself then yes this is definitely a viable career option,” she says.

But for the lithe 31-year-old however, the joys of indoor cycling are accompanied by the challenges of balancing several other fitness interests. “Aside from indoor cycling, I lift weights for strength training and I have a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (currently training in Atos Philippines)… oh yeah, and I believe in eating carbs only at night. I skip breakfast too!”

Looks like Paras is the one motivation we need to get out of a workout slump.

When and how did your fitness journey begin?

I’m actually a very late bloomer as far as fitness goes. All the way up to my mid-20s, I was a chronic party girl—drinking, smoking—you name it. Everything changed when I decided to try out Brazilian jiu-jitsu with my boyfriend and instantly fell in love with the sport. That was nine years ago. We’ve been at this fitness thing ever since.

What is it about indoor cycling that makes it a great workout?

To be totally honest, there is nothing particularly magical about the workout itself. It’s not like we reinvented the HIIT wheel or anything. You can get a similar physiological response biking on hills out in the mountains. However what makes our brand of indoor cycling special is the collaboration of human beings with different stories and aspirations moving together as one. As soon as the lights dim out and resistance knobs are turned two times to the right, the bike room instantly becomes an escape from all the negativity and toxicity of our everyday lives.

When people ask what I love about indoor cycling, I always answer ‘I go for the music and the release!’ Have you ever experienced working out like crazy, sweating, laughing and crying all at the same time? I have seen riders cry, laugh, and be so fueled by anger and frustration all in one ride. And at the end of each 50-minute class, it is always so fascinating to see these same people all happy after the ride. So, what makes it a great workout? The answer is, it isn’t only a workout, it is also a great escape from reality.

What makes our brand of indoor cycling special is the collaboration of human beings with different stories and aspirations moving together as one

What’s the toughest part of your job?

Being human. Like everyone, I have days when I am not at my 100 percent best. Regardless, when we are up on the podium, instructors have to seem super human, invincible, and impossibly enthusiastic, which can be difficult enough on good days. It’s not that we are faking our motivation but at times, we really have to dig deep for that happy place. Nonetheless it is a challenge that I have grown to love. Getting a simple heartfelt thanks from riders never ceases to brighten up my mood though. It’s amazing.

What advice would you give to someone struggling to meet their fitness goals?

First of all, everyone trying to meet fitness goals should have a plan of action. It is one thing to have an end goal, but what people fail to do, is how to get to that end goal—most people don’t plan.

Second, find a plan that works, not just because it is popular. Research and know what you are getting into—go back again and see if it will bring you closer to your goal. Lastly, leave egos at the door. When you are trying achieve a goal, be ready to fail, be ready to plateau a little bit. Be prepared to have setbacks and be prepared to come back stronger each time. So many people quit so early because they didn’t get the results they desire just because of lack of planning and having so much ego.

Share a specific tip or trick to be able to finish a spinning class.

Never have a heavy meal right before a class—not only will you have a high chance of throwing up in class, it might also hinder you from breathing properly. I usually have a cup of cold brew or an espresso shot before a class because well, coffee is life! (laughs)

Listen to what your body is asking. If you are already not feeling well, rest. If you’re body is asking to be pushed, push it. Never overcompensate and never hold yourself back from your full potential. Lastly, check your ego (and smartphones, I am serious) in your lockers, come in with an open mind and open heart. Participate in class. Sing along, cheer, and howl if you have to. It really means so much to us instructors too when we see riders so engaged to the playlist and ride we gave so much of ourselves to.