Sweat Diaries

This Spinning Instructor Drives Back and Forth Between Philly and the Shore Three Times a Week

Revel Ride operations manager JJ Francis balances a life between the city and the beach as he helps to open the company's new Avalon studio.


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JJ Francis, the operations manager at Revel Ride, spends half his time in Philly and half in Avalon running the spinning studio’s new location. / Photograph courtesy of JJ Francis

Who I am: JJ Francis (@jjfranci), 27

Where I live around Philly: Graduate Hospital

What I do: I’m the operations manager at Revel Ride.

What role healthy living plays in my life: My day doesn’t revolve around eating everything exactly perfect and working out 24-7. I eat whatever I need to. I drink whatever I want. And I balance it with working out.

Health memberships (and what they cost): None

Sunday

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Revel Ride’s new location in Avalon on the Shore. / Photograph courtesy of Ray Smeriglio

Note: This is the second day of opening weekend for Revel Ride’s new studio in Avalon.

5:30 a.m. — Camp Revel (what we call the team of instructors and team members that sleep in our rental house) wakes up and gets ready for day no. 2!

5:45 a.m. — I leave our house at 12th Street and Ocean Avenue with studio manager Alex Havertine and owner Jamie Promislo to walk to our studio at 21st Street and Dune Drive.

6:15 a.m. — We arrive at the studio to prepare cold eucalyptus towels for after class, fold our bike towels, fill the shoe cubbies, and get set for the first class. Today, there’s five back-to-back classes, four of them with waitlists.

I was too busy to make or buy breakfast this morning — thank god P.S. Snacks was here yesterday sampling because that means I’m snacking on its amazing chocolate chip cookie dough all morning.

7:15 a.m. — Let’s roll! I’m teaching a Ride class. After yesterday’s anxiety-inducing first class at the Avalon studio, this one feels like more of a relief. It’s the ‘You did it’ moment. Everything’s good. People are here. We did it, and we’re going to do it.

10:45 a.m. — We close the door on Ray Smeriglio’s 10:45 a.m. Ride class, and I start to get hangry. Kevin, my fiancé, grabs açai bowls ($9 each) from Surf Snack Shack, one of my favorite spots in Avalon, across the street. I always get the Jetty Bowl with strawberries, blueberries, banana, and granola with coconut flakes.

1 p.m. — Classes are done, and day two is complete. We had 11 classes and 275 riders in 48 hours!

2 p.m. — Lunch at the Princeton Bar & Grill for oysters and spicy tuna sushi ($0 thanks to Kevin’s parents <3 — who also rode today! — but it would have been $25 if I’d paid).

Afternoon — Camp Revel goes to the beach for sunblock, beach chairs, and finally a second to relax.

5:30 p.m. — Everyone heads back to the Revel house. It’s time for a cookout hosted by Haley Keenan, another Revel instructor, and Ray (both Revel instructors). The spread features burgers, hot dogs, salad, corn on the cob, and asparagus, plus quite a few Coronas. Kev and I Venmo $24 to Ray.

Night — Too many Coronas to count…

Daily total: $33

Monday

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The chicken and quinoa salad that JJ eats for most of the week. / Photograph courtesy of JJ Francis

5:30 a.m. — Up and heading to the studio with Camp Revel.

7:15 a.m. — I teach the first class of the day, a Ride session, at Revel Ride Avalon. It’s still really busy because Monday’s included in the Memorial Day craziness. But we’re in the groove.

8:30 a.m. — I teach another three classes (8:30, 9:45, and 10:45 a.m.). Opening Weekend DONE. Kevin has a Surf Shack açai bowl ready ($9).

1 p.m. — BACK TO PHILLY!

4 p.m. — Weekly grocery shopping.

Whole Foods Market haul for the week: $80

Salmon for two

Corn on the cob

Bananas

Apples

Watermelon

Quinoa salad ingredients

Granola bars

Sprouts Farmers Market: $10.50

Chicken

6:30 p.m. — Dinner of salmon, corn, and quinoa salad with arugula made from what we bought earlier. I have a glass or two of Bota Box chardonnay ($19.99 per box) with the meal and then probably two or three afterward while we catch up on Billions.

11 p.m. — Bedtime.

Daily total: $119.49

Tuesday

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Immaculate Baking Company chocolate chip cookies are JJ and Kevin’s fave. / Photograph courtesy of JJ Francis

6:30 a.m. — Sleeping in! No 5:30 a.m. class to teach today, thanks to Memorial Day. I take our two dogs, a goldendoodle named Samson and a Dobermannn named Beau, out for a walk and eat a banana, an apple, and watermelon with some granola.

9:30 a.m. — I teach a Revel in the Rhythm class at Revel Ride’s Philly location.

10:30 a.m. — On days I teach, I get a large dirty chai latte ($3.40) at the Capital One Café. If you have the Capital One credit card, coffee is 50 percent off, so my drink is actually $1.70. If I’m not at Revel, I’m pretty much always working here. It’s open, light, bright, just a really good space.

Noonish — Lunch of chicken and quinoa salad that I made ahead of time.

Afternoon — Working at home! As the operations manager, everything goes through me — scheduling, payroll, logistics.

5:30 p.m. — Back to the studio to help with classes. I like to be there to greet riders and get them all set up.

6 p.m. — I head to Jet Wine Bar with Jamie for happy hour and get two glasses of the house white ($12).

6:30 p.m. — Dinner is the same as lunch — chicken and quinoa salad. (Boring, I know.)

8 p.m. — Two-thirds glasses of Bota chardonnay.

9 p.m. — Kevin and I frequently make two cookies of Immaculate Baking Company chocolate chip cookie dough from Whole Foods and split it. Tonight is no different.

11 p.m. — Bed.

Daily total: $13.70

Wednesday

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Soft pretzels and green tea at Capital One Café. / Photograph courtesy of JJ Francis

6 a.m. — Wake up and take the dogs out. Almost the same breakfast as yesterday: fruit and a granola bar.

9:30 a.m. — Take a class at Revel Ride that Jamie’s teaching. I teach so many classes, so it’s a nice release to take one and not really think about it.

11 a.m. — Green tea at Capital One Café with one Philly Pretzel Factory pretzel. OK, there were two ($3.25).

2 p.m. — To the studio to work.

5:30 p.m. — Teach a Revel in the Rhythm class.

6:30 p.m. — Home and take the dogs for a long walk.

7:30 p.m. — Chicken and quinoa salad for dinner again.

8:30 p.m. — Weekly meeting at our house with Jamie; her husband, Steve; Kevin; and me. We share a box of Bota.

10 p.m. — Bed.

Daily total: $3.25

Thursday

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JJ and his friend Max head to Barre3 for an early-morning workout. / Photograph courtesy of JJ Francis

5 a.m. — Wake up and have a little bit of watermelon and a banana. I walk to Max’s. He’s one of my best friends and a very loyal Revel Rider. He helps with the front desk in Avalon during the busy times. We walk to Barre3 Rittenhouse, which is one of Revel Ride’s partners. (Our staff can go there for free and vice versa.)

6 a.m. — Barre3 class with Max. I really like it because everything’s to the beat of the music. Max and I are always the only guys there lol.

7:15 a.m. — Stop at the studio for class changeover help. The 15 minutes between classes are always the busiest times, and it’s nice if I’m there so the two front desk people can go in and clean the room.

7:30 a.m. — Home to take the dogs out before I dig into an apple and a granola bar.

9:30 a.m. — Teach a Rhythm class.

11 a.m. — Back to Capital One Café for a large iced dirty chai latte ($3.89 but 50 percent off off with Capital One credit card). I should get a kickback from Capital One for this write-up tysm.

1 p.m. — Home for lunch. Guess what I had! (Chicken, quinoa salad.)

2 p.m. — Off to Avalon with Alex Amati, another Revel instructor. Stops at Home Depot and Target. As always, we have a list of little things to get — a flowerpot, a corkboard, a clipboard. They’re business expenses, so they’re all on Revel.

4 p.m. — Checking in at the Avalon studio and installing new lights.

6 p.m. — Meet my parents at La Fontana Del Mare in Strathmere (highly recommend). I get the chicken fontana and drink two-thirds glasses of Bota chard like usual ($0, thanks to my parents).

8 p.m. — Two drinks at the Princeton with Alex and Nick ($18).

Daily total: $19.95

Friday

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Crab fried rice from Bistro Southeast. / Photograph courtesy of JJ Francis

7:15 a.m. — Teach a Ride class at Revel Avalon.

8:30 a.m. — Head back to Philly with a stop at Wawa for a breakfast sandwich ($3.25).

10:30 a.m. — Working at Revel Philly.

Noon — Teach a Rhythm class.

1 p.m. — Lunch of chicken and quinoa salad at home.

2 p.m. — The strip lighting below the bikes at Revel’s Philly location goes out, so I make a Home Depot run.

4 p.m. — Back to Revel to help out with the 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. classes.

6 p.m. — We order crab fried rice from Bistro SouthEast to-go ($18) and enjoy the beautiful night on the roof of our apartment.

8 p.m. — Three glasses of Bota and one Immaculate Baking Co. cookie.

Daily total: $21.25

Weekly Totals

Money spent: $210.64

Spinning classes taught at Revel Ride Avalon: 7 (counting Saturday)

Spinning classes taught at Revel Ride Philly: 4

Barre classes taken: 1

Chicken and quinoa salad meals eaten: 5

Glasses of Bota Box chardonnay drank: 12ish

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