I Opened My Own Spin Studio at 23. Here’s What a Week of My Life Looks Like Now.

When Allison Bradley first opened Chestnut Hill Cycle Fitness, she taught every class herself. Now she teaches 12 classes a week.


Photographs courtesy Allison Bradley.

Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money people invest in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one Philadelphian to spend five days tracking everything they eat, all the exercise they get, and the money they spend on both. Want to submit a Sweat Diary? Email [email protected] with details. 

Who I am: Alli Bradley (@alli__bradley), 27, from Chestnut Hill

What I do: I own, operate, and am a full-time instructor at my indoor cycling and barre studio, Chestnut Hill Cycle Fitness

What role health and fitness plays in my life: I never feel more at home in my own body than when I am exerting myself and getting out of my comfort zone, connecting with my breath and breaking my own barriers. I began as a runner through high school and my young adulthood, completing five marathons and a handful of halves. But what I realized at age 23, when I opened my own studio, was that I had to somehow give others this incredible feeling I am rewarded with. Fitness isn’t about the statistics or the screens and numbers — it’s about connecting with yourself, mind and body. It’s about finding that part of you that can overcome a temporary struggle, to be rewarded with this incredible sense of achievement. Every single class. And the community that comes with it, well that’s just the best part.

Health memberships: No memberships! Like so many other full-time instructors, I work out for free at my studio, which is wonderful. I also tend to go on runs outside more than take classes when I can.

Monday

Photograph courtesy Allison Bradley.

7:30 a.m. — I wake up to my phone alarm. I have a rule that I don’t sleep with my phone near me, and I try not to be on it after 9:30 p.m. every night. I go straight for coffee. I pour a cup into my blender, and then add six ounces of Califia almond milk  and a teaspoon of organic coconut oil. I blend, and it creates the prettiest and most delicious frothy drink. I also pour some homemade gluten-free honey granola into a small bowl, and top it with almond milk and strawberries. I take a swig of my probiotic coconut water and I eat my breakfast.

8:30 a.m. — I throw on my running shoes and a sweatshirt. I head over to the studio across the street from my apartment and run around the studio gathering dirty towels that are ready to be washed and making sure the studio is tidy. Then I head out for a quick three-mile run around Chestnut Hill.

9:30 a.m. — Back home, I change into dry clothing and make myself a smoothie consisting of Vital Proteins collagen, Califia almond milk, frozen banana, and spinach. I sit down at my computer and prepare for a meeting.

1:30 p.m. — I grab a hardboiled egg, a handful of almonds, and I head out to the grocery store before my evening classes. Our studio just began a detox group for spring called the “Spring Equinox Detox.” My grocery list is both gluten-free and dairy-free to help eliminate inflammatory foods for the next six weeks. I head to Whole Foods, where I spend the next hour.

4:45 p.m. — I teach a 45-minute barre class.

5:30 p.m. — I head out to the reception area and do what I love most: hang out with the Chestnut Hill Cycle Fitness family. I say hello to everyone coming in for classes, and I dance to the sound of the spin class upstairs, and take pictures for social media.

6:30 p.m. — I teach a Full Body Spin class. It’s my favorite class to teach: 30 minutes on the spin bike, then 15 minutes on a mat next to your bike for anything from squats to lunges to arm workouts with free weights to core workouts and planks. We end in a mindful meditation.

8 p.m. — At home, my boyfriend, Adam, and I make rice noodles with chicken, sautéed veggies, lots of garlic and onion, and a peanut sauce on top. Lots of lime!

9 p.m. — Showered, in bed, reading a book, and drinking a cup of detox tea by Mighty Leaf

Daily total: $0

Tuesday

Photograph courtesy Allison Bradley.

8 a.m. — I wake up and head to grab my normal coffee blend. I make old-fashioned rolled oats with cashew milk, hemp seeds, blueberries, and blackberries, and some gluten-free granola. 

8:30 a.m. — I love taking my time in the mornings and today I savor it. I get dressed slowly, and I head out for class around 8:45.

9:15 a.m. — I teach a barre class and end with mindfulness. I love my 9:15 a.m. ladies; they’re some of my closest clients so we have a great time together.

10 a.m. — After class, I chug a Glowing Green juice from Top of the Hill Markets, who we partnered with to stock the studio with fresh juice daily ($6).

10:30 a.m. — I spend the rest of the late morning running errands for the studio. While I’m out, I swing into Starbucks for a matcha iced white tea with coconut milk ($3.65).

1 p.m. — I teach a private barre and stretch class to one of my clients for an hour. 

2:30 p.m. — I take my dog on a long walk around the neighborhood and I grab fresh salmon at Top of the Hill Markets to cook for dinner. Their fish is the absolute freshest I have had, and I love treating myself to it weekly ($19).

3:30 p.m. — Back at home, I’m getting really hungry and I know I wont be eating dinner until late. I cut up a cucumber and grab some baby carrots and have some hummus. I also grab a hard boiled egg and eat that, too. I wash it down with some beet-flavored Health-Ade Kombucha.

5:30 p.m. — I head over to the studio to hangout with my front desk manager and catch up on the week’s tasks.

6:30 p.m. — I teach a barre class, and we have a lot of energy for an evening class! We steam up the mirrors and really go to work on our glutes. 

7:30 p.m. — I close up the studio and head home.

7:45 p.m. — Dinner is waiting for me! I’m a lucky gal. It’s baked salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatos. It’s probably my favorite dinner after a long day. 

9 p.m. — I take a hot shower and get ready for bed. I love The Ordinary skin care’s Rose Hip Seed Oil. I always lather up on this at night.

9:45 p.m. — I read my book and doze off.

Daily total: $28.65

Wednesday

Photograph courtesy Allison Bradley.

5 a.m. — I wake up and go directly for the coffee. I am not typically an early-morning person. I pour black coffee into a mug and top it with some almond milk. I eat half of a banana and some almond butter. Then I get dressed for my Full Body Spin class, and head over to the studio.

5:30 a.m. — I open the studio by lighting candles, setting the lighting, getting my mic ready, and making sure everything is good to go. I BLAST my playlist on the studio system so that I can listen to our playlist while I set up. 

6 a.m. — We are off and riding! My 6 a.m. Full Body crew is one of my favorites. As much as I dread waking up so early, this class is worth it.

7 a.m. — Back at home, I grab the dog and take her on a walk.

7:45 a.m. — I eat some gluten-free granola with berries and coconut milk. I do some work on the computer for the studio.

9 a.m. — I head back to the studio to prepare for a personal training client. This client broke her elbow over a year ago and is still working on gaining strength and movement in this arm. I am so proud of her when she completes a few push-ups. She is a rockstar.

10:30 a.m. — I grab a juice and head back home to work more on my website and some scheduling for the studio ($6).

1 p.m. — I make a salad with kale, strawberries, and almond slivers. I make a quick balsamic dressing (extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, a tiny bit of dijon mustard, and sea salt) and whip the salad up! It’s so good and fresh. 

2 p.m. — Finished with work, I grab my foam roller and spend about 40 minutes on it. While I do this, I go over my playlist for the early evening barre class.

3 p.m. — I am in need of a pick-me-up, and I am helplessly addicted to that matcha drink at Starbucks. I walk my dog on the way to get my drink ($3.65).

4:15 p.m. — I head over to the studio and set up for my barre class. 

4:45 p.m. — Barre class begins and we are off! I make this class particularly challenging with lots of arm work and push-ups. 

5:30 p.m. — It’s an early night for me to be off, so I take advantage of this and go home to make dinner: a veggie bowl with brown rice, sauteed kale, mushrooms, butternut squash, black beans, and guacamole.

7:30 p.m. — We take our dog on a walk.

8 p.m. — Back home, I take an epsom salt bath and put on a bentonite clay face mask.

9:45 p.m. — I stay up to read the rest of my book and then doze off.

Daily total: $9.65

Thursday

Photograph courtesy Allison Bradley.

7:45 a.m. — I wake up late today, and I love it! I head for the coffee machine and make my favorite blend. I also make another bowl of gluten-free oatmeal.

9 a.m. — I head over to the studio and begin to check in the ladies arriving for my class. Some ladies from the 8:30 a.m. spin class come downstairs and hit my barre class — they’re amazing because that’s an intense 90 minutes of working out!  

9:45 a.m. — I teach a 45-minute barre class and as always, it’s a lot of fun and a lot of shaking. 

10:30 a.m. — I run over to my apartment and have an energy ball made of pressed dates, almonds, and hemp seeds. Then I grab my pup and head over to the Wissahickon trails for a run. 

11:45 a.m. — I head to Rebel Yoga for their noon Flow & Reflect class ($17). I grab a kombucha after class at their canteen ($6).

1:30 p.m. — Back at home, I sit down to do some work. I promise myself after I’ll go to Lululemon to get a shirt I’ve been eyeing for two weeks.

3:30 p.m. — Leaving Lululemon, I head to Sweetgreen. I order their new guacamole chopped salad with grilled chicken to go ($9.95).

4:30 p.m. — At home, I eat part of my salad, then I head over to the studio to get things clean and ready for evening classes.

6:30 p.m.  I teach barre class and I personally take part in a good bit of the workout tonight.

Photograph courtesy Allison Bradley.

7:30 p.m. — At home, I more of my Sweetgreen salad and make a big salad for dinner with chicken and chopped veggies and almonds.

8:30 p.m. — We watch some Bob’s Burgers and I keep sneaking into the kitchen for spoonfuls of peanut butter. I am craving something sweet but trying to stick to this detox!

9:45 p.m. — I hop in the shower and get ready for bed. I am so tired.

10:20 p.m. — Bed. No book tonight.

Daily total: $32.95

Friday

Photograph courtesy Allison Bradley.

7 a.m. — I wake up and stretch. I’m a little sore from yesterday’s barre classes. I make my coffee concoction, grab a banana, and take my probiotic and vitamins.

7:45 a.m. — I get ready for my class and I head over to the studio a little early to clean and set up.

8:30 a.m. — I teach one of my longest-running classes on the schedule, a Full Body spin class. I have to give my bike up since our class is overly full, and although I wanted to work out, I definitely do not mind. I teach from the floor and coach.

9:30 a.m. — I have a private session with a client and she crushes it. 

10:30 a.m. — I grab an orange turmeric juice ($6) we sell at the studio and head out for a run around town.

11:10 a.m. — I run a quick three miles and then I am back at the studio in my barre room to work my arms and core.

12:15 p.m. — I head out to run errands for the studio and I fall prey to Starbucks’ matcha drink once again ($3.65).

1:30 p.m. — On Fridays, I like to blast music in the studio, have some coffee, and clean the whole place.

Photograph courtesy Allison Bradley.

4 p.m. — I am back home, and I’m starved. I make myself sweet potato toast by throwing a slice of raw sweet potato in the toaster top with avocado and a sunny-side-up egg on the side with some berries.

4:30 p.m. — I walk my dog and grab some fresh cut flowers at the co-op.

6 p.m. — I hop in the shower and throw on jeans and a sweater (rare occasion; I live in yoga pants). Adam and I head to Top of the Hill Market for their grand opening party.

7:30 p.m. — We load up on mussels and shrimp, and I even have my wine for the week (he detox only allows for three glasses at most). It’s such a beautiful evening under the string lights and we have a really lovely time ($25).

10 p.m. — We walk home, and I get all ready for my classes in the morning by laying out my outfit and washing my face, setting my alarm to wake up early. I’m ready for bed and we bring our laptop into bed and watch a movie before dozing off!

Daily total: $34.65

Weekly Totals

Money spent: $105.90

Matcha drinks: 3

Fresh juices: 3

Classes taught: 9

Private training sessions: 3

Runs: 3

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