Her understanding of the fitness industry’s history of scarce representation and lack of inclusive spaces became a compass to not only disrupt the traditional wellness industry norms but also provide premium wellness experiences for Black women.
“I feel like the fitness and wellness industry has become so capitalized and commercialized, it oftentimes leaves out communities of color, regardless of their economic status,” she tells ESSENCE. “I wanted to create a space that was inviting for those people who are often outsiders in the industry.”
Thompson understands the importance of preventative care within the Black community, and while she’s devoted years to developing the physical progression of women with Spiked Spin, her newest expansion seeks to put the mental and overall well-being of Black women at the forefront.
Spiked Spin & Wellness Co. is Thompson’s reimagined wellness company. It serves as a holistic and intuitive wellness space that offers new in-person and virtual class formats, including pilates, yoga, wellness education courses, monthly mental wellness sessions with licensed therapists and psychologists, and nutrition resources and guides.
With the new expansion, Thompson hopes to provide Black women with the ability to “take hold of their health journey and prioritize progress over perfection.”
“It’s time to provide the resources that we need and to really reclaim our space in the wellness landscape,” she shares. “Let’s reclaim what belongs to us, make it beautiful, make it inviting, and make it authentic, so we understand that we belong in this space and that we deserve to be well.”
ESSENCE: How has your relationship with wellness evolved since first starting Spiked Spin?
Briana Thompson: It’s evolved tremendously because, in the beginning, I had the same point of view as the rest of the industry, which was this rigorous, sweaty, and strenuous task that came along with wellness. Since then, I’ve evolved to understand that wellness is actually something that should not be so strenuous and should be something that we’re guided to do by listening to our bodies.
I’ve transitioned from the idea of wellness being this heavy, fitness-driven experience to a holistic point of view and understanding that wellness can — and should — include the mental, physical, emotional, and relational aspects that truly embody what it means to be well.
Why was it important to include your new offerings like monthly mental wellness sessions with licensed therapists and psychologists into the new studio expansion?
A lot of the new offerings are virtual, and that was by design because we want to be able to reach the masses. I didn’t want to be limited to the four walls of the brick and mortar. I wanted to be able to reach Black women and allies wherever they are and that comes with realizing that Black women are actually a global demographic. So it’s not limited to even Brooklyn or even America — it’s Black women who feel like they need these types of resources and support wherever they are.
There’s such a strong correlation between the mind and the body that people don’t take into account. As we were thinking about the expansion, we were like, “How do we really cater to this woman? Who is this woman?” There are just so many things that happen in a woman’s life and we want to be a part of the solution and support as much as possible.
Could you tell us more about the mantra “progress over perfection” and how it informs the mission behind your company?
We know that there is this really strong relationship with [Black women] having to be and do everything, and we wanted to remove some of that burden. We want to use language that breaks down some of the hardening that has taken place over our lives to remind people that each day you do something that pushes you forward, even if it’s just an inch, you’re doing better than doing nothing.
We’re not a bodybuilding business, we are a people-building business; we are truly a people-focused community. While other gyms are there to tell you to change your body, I’m focused on the before and after of the person.
Aside from being a business owner, you are also a mother. What has motherhood taught you and what do you hope your legacy in the fitness/wellness industry will be?
Motherhood is like, I know, people say this, and it’s so cliche, but it really is a wake-up call to the realities of the world that we live in. And it’s a wake-up call to my need to be a part of creating a world that I would want my son and my future children to be a part of. I definitely took time to enjoy pregnancy and raising my son. But now he’s back in school, and I’m more motivated than ever to run it up and really show the world that we belong here, and this company matters because the impact that we are making and will continue to make is going to change generations.
What do you hope Black women will take away from their experience at Spiked Spin & Wellness Co?
I want them to take away mental and physical progression. I want them to think about the moment that they’re in fulfilling everything that they need at that time and taking it all with them into the rest of their lives. That’s what we’re here to do, helping you find areas of improvement and supporting you through it and understanding that it’s a day by day by day thing. It’s not a 30-day challenge, it’s not a six-week quick fix. It’s an every day commitment to your well-being and that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to support you every single day.
Spiked Spin & Wellness Co officially launched on July 25, 2022 offering a hybrid of in-person and digital experiences. Visit www.spikedwellness.com to learn more.