Cody Rigsby Went From Struggling Back-Up Dancer to Top Peloton Coach

Many entrepreneurs will tell you that what they are doing now is not what they did in the beginning. Making major professional changes—even in mid- to late-career life—can often lead to more fulfilling and successful results. this is our series spindle About Each month, we talk to founders, business leaders, and entrepreneurs about how—and why—they changed course and found success in an entirely different industry. Here, we talk to Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby.

Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby has developed a cult following for his hilarious and relatable messages of encouragement. He is known for cheeky catchphrases such as asking riders to climb hills in order to catch their man cheating. Leading sweaty cycling and bootcamp classes for Peloton’s nearly seven million members, Rigsby shouts out to “everybody who didn’t peak in high school,” calls herself a trash bitch and calls herself a pop Music, twerk and lose body mid-workout.

His hilarious and high energy approach has made him one of the most popular trainers on the platform. Last year, Rigsby’s Classes crossed the 100 million stream mark. And now, he has his own series, “LOL Cody” (think talk show on two wheels, featuring celebrity guests like Carly Rae Jepsen and JC Chasez), which has already generated more than half a million rides since launching in November. Have passed

While the 35-year-old buff is in her element, Rigsby’s current gig is a far cry from where she started. Rigsby grew up in Greensboro, NC, and was raised by a single mother. He loved dancing as a child, but with barely enough money for food, there was no question of lessons. So he used to learn dance moves by watching videos in shows like MTV total requests live, She eventually took her first classes at the community center—the only free ballet classes available. “I was 18 and 6-foot-2 and taking a class with 12-year-olds,” he says. “I had to start somewhere!”

Rigsby held a few summer internships at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City throughout university, and after graduating from the University of North Carolina Greensboro where she studied consumer apparel and retail studies, she moved to the Big Apple for good. She worked in freelance fashion PR while auditioning for dancing gigs and got her first paid job dancing back-up real housewives of new yorkLuann de Lesseps’ cabaret show in 2010. “It was sad and trashy for her to dance and sing ‘Money Can’t Buy You Class,’ but I was so happy,” he says. From there, dancing jobs started coming in for big names like Pitbull, Katy Perry, and even the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

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Despite his professional dance career progressing, Rigsby felt stuck. He was booking work but it was inconsistent; He found himself longing for stability. He recalls thinking, “Hey, universe, world, God, Britney Spears, anyone listening—I’m ready for something new. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but throw it my way.” Two.

A few months later, in 2014, a choreographer she was working with at Manhattan nightclub The Box mentioned an exercise start-up called Peloton that was looking for artists performing in fitness. The company was opening Peloton Cycling Studios in New York City and recruiting instructors. Rigsby saw the opportunity as a way to make some extra cash, so he sent in his headshot and resume and was hired the day of his interview. At the time, Peloton was selling Internet-connected bikes and monthly class subscriptions so riders could do indoor cycling workouts either live or on-demand at home.

“I infused storytelling and who I am as a person to create a space where people felt welcome so that exercise and fitness didn’t have to be scary”

Early on, he spent a lot of time teaching cycling to other coaches, such as coach Robin Arzon, whom Rigsby calls a “badass multi-athlete”. “I used to observe and use what I was doing in my classes,” he says. But ultimately, copying her style never felt authentic to her. So Rigsby analyzed his classes every day to see what was catching on with riders and what kind of response he was getting on social media. “It always brings me back to this place and having fun doing things,” Rigsby says. “That’s when I started putting my time and energy into it, and leaned towards the entertainment factor. I infused storytelling and who I am as a person to create a space where people felt welcome so that exercise and fitness didn’t have to be intimidating.

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The brand started building its ridership and slowly grew. In 2019, the company’s revenue was approximately US$915 million, nearly double its 2018 revenue—despite a 2019 viral holiday commercial when a husband buys his nervous wife a bike. When the pandemic hit, both Peloton and Rigsby became household names. With people stuck at home and gyms closed, Peloton sales increased 172 percent in 2020, and Rigsby was dubbed the “King of Quarantine” by riders during the lockdown. He now has the most Instagram followers of any instructor on the platform at upwards of 1.3 million.

That doesn’t mean Rigsby’s time in the peloton hasn’t had its ups and downs. High demand for its bikes and treadmills during the height of Covid led to product-shipment delays in 2021, as Peloton’s maker struggled to maintain orders. The company also recalled its treadmill after an accident on the machine killed one child and injured dozens more. The organization suffered another blow of bad publicity when Mr. Big died of a heart attack after riding a Peloton bike sex and the city reboot, and just like that, By the end of 2022, Peloton will let go of hundreds of employees in several rounds of layoffs as sales slow and revenue falls. But Peloton CEO Barry McCarthy, a former Spotify and Netflix exec, may be turning things around: He’s focused on growing its digital apps and engaging Peloton customers through a bike-rental program, among other strategies. Shares of the public company were up nearly 71 per cent till mid-February.

Rigsby’s life has been moving at a very fast pace since the pandemic. Feeling the need to recalibrate, she took a pause last summer to prioritize her own mental health through meditation, therapy, and conversations with friends and colleagues. These days, Rigsby plans each of his classes, creates playlists for them, and teaches several live sessions a week. He says he is just as busy as when he was working as a dancer, but the hustle is tied to a purpose. Rigsby believes that Peloton members have a connection to workouts and community. “It creates joy and transforms members mentally, physically and emotionally,” he says. “I always feel honored and really grateful for that because I think so many of us have jobs that we don’t feel are connected to a greater purpose.”

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Further, he is currently working on a book. Maybe a self-help book made out of her sassy hot takes? The details are still secret, but Rigsby is adamant that he wants to remain a community leader who prioritizes mental health and physical wellness. “But it’s also someone who’s willing to say it when I’m having a hard time, or haven’t quite understood it,” he says.

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