How did SHAQ end up taking my spin class? Read on for a fun story on how this basketball legend came in for workout with me.
It was a normal Tuesday in San Francisco. As I walked into EQUINOX Pine street to teach my 12:30pm cycling class, I could feel an excited energy around the club. One of the personal trainers came up to me with big eyes and whispered, “SHAQ is working out here!” It took me a second. Wait, what? Like SHAQ the REAL DEAL and living legend? She nodded her head, smiling ear to ear. “Yea! He’s over there on one of the exercise bikes!”
I looked over on the fitness floor and there he was: Shaquille O’Neal, dressed in a wife beater, basketball shorts, and huge headphones pedaling away on the exercise bicycle.
Standing 7 feet tall and weighing 315 pounds, Shaquille O’Neal is known as one of the most dominant players in the NBA. After his 2011 retirement, he became an on-screen league analyst, media personality, entrepreneur, actor, and musician. He has a PHD in Education, 6 rap albums, has been in several movies and tv shows (who didn’t love Kazaam?!), among many other impressive accomplishments. He is regarded as one of the most dominant athletes and arguably the most gregarious personality in sports history.
So yes, it would be an understatement to say: the entire club was amazed and trying not to stare as he did his workout. It was a situation where everyone wanted to jump in excitement, but no one wanted to be inappropriate or make him feel uncomfortable while trying to get his workout. I mean the man must have the hardest time in public trying to do anything, who wouldn’t want to meet and take a selfie with SHAQ!?!
I was getting ready to teach and just couldn’t let the opportunity to say hello to Shaquille O’Neal go. So I did what any fitness instructor would do: I decided to invite him to take Spin class with me. (After all, group classes are much more fun + motivating 😉 )
He was exercising with his two trainers: large, buff men who you definitely didn’t want to mess with. I calmly walked over, smiled and said, “Shaq, if you’d like to join me I teach a cycling class in twenty minutes. I may look little, but I am fierce. Promise you a great workout.” He laughed, smiled, and said, “Ok, Ill let you know”. His trainers nodded too, humored by this little instructor in purple striped pants who had the balls to walk up to 7′ Shaq and invite him to spin class.
Minutes before we started the spin class, I was helping set up students on bikes. Shaq was walking around outside the spin room. I had my micraphone on and decided to go for it one more time, “Shaq come join us! We’d love to have you!”. He smiled. And then, to my surprise, walked in the door. His two buff trainers followed in. The three of them started setting up their bikes.
I was awestruck. Shaq was in my spin class.
And it was happening. Just like that.
It was an electrifying class. On fire. Shaq and his trainers worked hard, had fun, and gave the room a good time. I wish I had a photo of the students during the ride. Everyone gave it their all with amazing energy. We were in the moment, astonished at the experience and inspired to sweat. And yes to answer your question: Shaq fit on the bicycle. He later told me the seat hurt his butt and I reassured him you get used to it 🙂
After class, there were fist pumps and sweaty hugs from the crew. One of Shaq’s trainers made me blush, “You’re a great coach. Full of energy and positivity. When do you teach next?” Wouldn’t mind having them back. Nope wouldn’t mind one bit.
The winning point of the day was after class when Shaq turned to me and asked, “Are you ready for a photo that will make EQUINOX history? Promise I wont drop you.”
I nodded and before I knew it I was more than 7 feet above the fitness floor, smiling ear to ear.
So that was that. Shaq took my spin class. And it was an experience I’ll never forget.
Shaq you are a living legend and inspiration. Thanks for reminding us all to have fun, play the game, and live a slam dunk life. You made my day by sharing your heart, hustle, and smile in spin. I hope you had a great workout and I hope to see you for another positive, power-packed class again soon.
It never hurts to be brave and ask, because you never know what might happen next. What about you? What cool chances or opportunities have brought you to surprising places? Leave me a story or two in the comments below.
Heres to living a slam dunk life,
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