After taking fitness classes and realizing that there was something missing in the predominantly white space, Briana Owens took matters into her own hands and created Spiked Spin. If you’re asking yourself why she did that, the answer is quite simple — she wanted fitness to be inclusive.
So, in an effort to create a safe space for Black women to work out, Briana Owens has begun to build a fitness and wellness empire. Spiked Spin is an amazing way to get into physical shape, but perhaps more importantly, Spiked Spin is a space where community is being built class by class and day by day. Briana reaches an audience through speaking engagements, pop-up shops, and the Internet with initiatives like her #SpikedBHM challenge. The #SpikedBHM challenge is happening right now through the end of February and requires participants to work out once daily and simply use the hashtag to let the world know about their progress. This challenge helps participants be accountable for themselves, each other, and showcases the values of Spiked Spin.
A digital advertising professional by day, Briana is making Spiked Spin more than a fitness mission but a lifestyle, and she told Black Love’s managing editor, Taj Rani, all about it for the latest installment of Wellness Wednesdays.
Black Love: What inspired you to start Spiked Spin?
Briana Owens: Spiked Spin was created in response to the lack of diversity in the boutique fitness industry, the need for quality affordable fitness, and the necessity for people to be educated about health and wellness – beyond body image. There are many crazes that cater to other demographics, and often times people of color are an afterthought. As I continue to educate myself about the disproportionate rates that people of color suffer from obesity and the diseases correlated with it, it reaffirms that Spiked Spin is needed.
BL: Before becoming the founder of Spiked Spin, what was your relationship with wellness? Did you have any specific routines that you adhered to?
BO: I’ve always had a healthy relationship with wellness, both physical and mental. While much of my family suffers from being overweight and the resulting diseases, my parents have instilled it in me, through their living practices, to make the smartest decisions possible when it comes to my mind and body, whether that’s working out or maintaining healthy relationships. I don’t follow any specific routine outside of when I teach Spiked Spin, however, I love to workout at least 5x a week because working out gives me clarity and mental vigor to accomplish my goals.
BL: Both men and women take Spiked Spin classes, but for you, as a Black woman, has Spiked Spin been a way for you to connect within a sisterhood? I’m asking because so many of us share similar experiences, especially when we are under pressure, stressed from work, or anxious.
BO: Absolutely! Although the classes are open to everyone, I find that the core target is definitely Black women. I tell people all the time that fitness and wellness is such a personal experience. When women are on a journey to better themselves, I understand how difficult it can be, but it’s even better when they share their stories with me. Spiked Spin has created a level of vulnerability for me to share my journey with so many people, but more importantly, they share their journeys with me. I’ve definitely made so many amazing new relationships with women who take my classes and other women who I’ve met while growing the brand. I am so appreciative for this aspect of the business!
BL: If you ever faced any doubt when you were developing Spiked Spin, what it stands for and the atmosphere you wanted to provide, how did you push beyond the doubt to get the result that you wanted?
BO: I face doubts daily. To this point, the business has been completely bootstrapped which means funded by me. Obviously, that presents limitations because the experience that I truly want to provide to my customers requires more than I have access to at this point. There are days when this pressure weighs on me heavily! I complain, I doubt, I am uncertain… and then I have a class of people who express their gratitude and the impact the brand is making in their lives as it is, and I am reminded to keep going. I always remind myself that this is a journey, and it’s my specific journey. I have to keep my blinders on and keep my focus toward the goals and the overall mission of the company.
BL: How did you get the word about Spiked Spin out when you began?
BO: Emails to family and friends, social media, and most importantly word of mouth!
BL: Spiked Spin is more than a workout, it’s a movement — did you know that it was going to grow in the way that it has and become something that people need and want?
BO: Honestly, no. It has taken time for me to accept what this calling is and what the impact will be. It’s exciting but scary!
BL: I found out about Spiked Spin because of a special ride that you did as a benefit for my friend Niaje. What are other ways that you have intentionally touched our community outside of workouts?
BO: I think through myself, and through the brand, I try to ensure that everything is done authentically. Beyond workouts, the movement and culture of Spiked encourage people to operate as the best version of themselves. I love speaking to people one on one, or on panels, and at events that allow me to remind people of their greatness! The company has done many partnerships with non-profits that work with children, health organizations, and other community events that positively impact the community beyond working out.
BL: When did you realize the importance of self care and why it needs to be a priority in people’s lives? How do you do self care?
BO: This is a loaded question, but I’ll try my best to answer. I’ve always understood the importance of self care, because again I’ve been exposed to generations of people (men and women) who have stressed the importance of taking care of yourself. That has ranged from consistent hair styling to grand vacations, but either way, I reflect on my grandma and my mom, and my family, always taking time for themselves throughout my life. When it comes to self care for myself, I may be hard on myself, but I am single with no children…every decision I make is about me, so I think of everything as self care. I am always thinking about my bigger picture, the legacy I want to leave for my future family, and the impact I want to make on my family. But I fully acknowledge that right now, I am still able to be a bit selfish. I think the number one way that I practice self care is I make choices that align with the visions I have for my life from who I choose to converse with to how often I workout, to my bedtime.
BL: If you ever fall off from your workout routines, how do you get back into a groove? I have to ask because this happens to the best of us [laughs].
BO: There is no secret to maintaining a routine, whether it’s workouts or otherwise. The number one thing is discipline and commitment and the number two thing is being willing to keep going. What I mean by that is discipline and commitment is required because there will likely be more days when you do not feel like going than you do. The discipline and commitment to yourself are what will keep you in the game regardless of what your feelings say. When I say you need to be able to keep going, that means every day is a new day. It doesn’t serve you to dwell on what was not done in the past, we only have the present. So when I fall off, I re-commit and keep going. I don’t spend too much time on why I fell off; I just get back to it!
BL: What inspired you to begin #SpikedBHM?
BO: I wanted to launch 28 Days of Accountability during BHM because I wanted an opportunity to engage with people to remind them of the necessity for discipline, commitment, but also accountability to ourselves and others. I believe these traits are necessary, of course, in wellness, but they’re necessary for every aspect of life, especially in the Black community. I thought BHM would be a good time to leverage each other to better ourselves together.
BL: What does 2019 have in store for you and Spiked Spin?
BO: Hopefully lots of growth!!
BL: What’s your biggest accomplishment to date as a fitness entrepreneur, and what is one goal that you’d like to reach in the near future?
BO: The impact the brand makes on people’s lives is the biggest accomplishment! But, one goal is opening the flagship location!!