Anyone who has ever tried to get in shape knows that a major part of that equation is being active. In the epicenter of fitness and wellness, New York City, it’s not uncommon for a single pilates or spin class to cost upwards of $40, nearly a week’s worth of groceries. 

For most, dropping that much to workout is utterly unfathomable, and for communities of color, that are disproportionately impacted by chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, living a healthy lifestyle is quite literally an issue of life and death. Acutely aware of this conundrum Briana Owens took action. 

Spiked Spin [New York City-based hip-hop cycling classes] was created in response to the need for quality affordable fitness options for minorities. There are many crazes that cater to other demographics, and often times minorities are an afterthought,” she shares with ESSENCE.  

This desire, to create a fitness experience for us by us, is Briana’s passion. “My professional background is digital advertising, but I took and taught cycling classes for about five years before I founded Spiked Spin. To get to this point, I’ve been trusting God to guide my steps, and allow me to fully walk in my purpose,” Briana says. 

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As ESSENCE has previously shared, Black women are underrepresented in the fitness and wellness communities. “Take a look through some of the top health/fitness publications and it is apparent that diversity is lacking mostly because while there seems to be a lot of Black/minority women in fitness, compared to white women, there aren’t many,” Briana is quick to point out. “So I’ve created a brand that caters to the preferences and cultural ethos of minorities,” she tells ESSENCE. 

Despite working a full-time job in advertising, and not having a professional background in fitness, Briana is committed to being the change she so desperately wants to see. “Spiked Spin provides a space for people of all body types, and all stages of their journey to feel comfortable working out. We want to fill the void of diversity within the wellness space; not only in terms of race and culture, but also body types, and socioeconomic backgrounds,” Briana shares. 

Taking a Spiked Spin class, however, is still quite pricey for some which Briana does acknowledge — a single class runs about $20. For that reason, she often runs specials to try to make classes more affordable. Her goal is to remove as many potential obstacles for Black women to get active. “START,” she says. “Don’t psych yourself out to wait for a Monday, or the first, or the new year. As soon as you get an inkling that you want to do something, do it,” Briana shares. 

As for goals for the upcoming year Briana wants to open a flagship in Brooklyn, grow ridership and establish Spiked as a minority resource for health and wellness. “Anytime, I feel discouraged, or want to give up, I remember that the Spiked Spin mission is to improve the state of health and wellness in minority communities. We’re committed to supporting people in every phase of their journey.”