Jill Wood grew up in the fitness world, literally. Her father owned a fitness and racquet club in her hometown of Bristol, TN, and she has never known a life without fitness. Now, she is the proud owner of her own boutique fitness gym, Red Ride Fitness. Her following is loyal and her retention rate is high, mainly because she cares so much about clients. Here, Jill shares the secrets behind fitness success as today’s FACES of Louisville feature.
What did you do before you worked in fitness? How long have you worked this industry?
I grew up playing tennis competitively in East Tennessee and worked during high school at my dad’s racket and fitness club. Training as an athlete has been part of my regimen since I was 7 years old. I worked for Merck after graduating from UK and transitioned into fitness in 2007. My peace of mind and passion come from movement.
Tell us what you do at Red Ride that differentiates it from other gyms.
Red Ride Fitness is a boutique fitness facility where the fitness experience is very personalized. We have a smaller studio environment, which clients find less intimidating than bigger gyms. We have all the latest and greatest functional training tools, and our Keiser M3 indoor cycling bikes are definitely top of the line. When clients walk in to spin, our instructors take the time to make sure their bikes are adjusted properly, they understand the goals of the ride (gears utilized for sprints versus hills, RPM goals, mileage goals). We offer one of the most effective on-impact, high-intensity, interval training options available with our group training and spin class options, and results most definitely follow. I had a client today who had a weight loss goal of 20 pounds in January that not only hit that goal but had her husband state she looks better now than the day they got married! How about that for a success story? She has a newly forged path of health and wellness that she is inspired to stick with. I love that!
How can you convince our readers to not be scared of spinning? What’s it all about and why does it work?
I think fitness is more fun with a friend who commits to trying something new with you, which is why we offer a “first class free” option you can register for online. Know when you walk into the studio, it is a more intimate setting. We only have 11 bikes total, including the instructor’s. You are going to get the best calorie-shedding bang for your buck around, where you burn 500-plus calories per hour, all non-impact. We personally fit all new clients to the bikes. It is a full-body workout, utilizing hand weights, push-ups and oblique crunches while jammin’ to the best tunes, which makes it a fun, results-specific workout. You leave knowing how many miles were ridden and calories burned.
What kind of workout produces the best results in your opinion? What kind of workout is a waste of time?
Best results workout is high-intensity interval training, with a combination of cardio and strength training. Our most popular spin class is a 45-minute ride followed by 15 minutes of strength training utilizing TRX suspension trainers, sand bells, battle ropes and boxing. A waste of time workout is simply one that you don’t enjoy and therefore won’t stick with. Our clients like the variety of different options that are available to them, which we always change up to keep them motivated and guessing and wanting to come back again. Our retention rate is as high as it is because we make it a fun, sweaty, challenging experience, and our instructors are in it because they are passionate about what they’re doing.
Okay, full honesty here. What is your favorite splurge food?
My favorite splurge food is definitely a big ol’ Southern breakfast with a loaded omelette, Applewood-smoked bacon and biscuits with fresh blackberry jam or honey. Yummy!!!
Give us a peek at your agenda. What’s a typical day or week like for you?
My typical days start at 6:30 a.m. or 7 a.m. with personal/group training sessions, followed by spin/shed classes taught by me or one of my awesome instructors. I then have additional personal/group training sessions with a little break midday, and some late afternoon training sessions. Evenings are chock full of field hockey or lacrosse games for my daughters, Jordan and Sydney.
Who are your mentors, and what advice do you treasure?
My mentor is my dad. He encouraged me to go for it and knew the challenges of owning your own business. He was my biggest cheerleader on good days and always reminded me of how strong and capable I was on the more challenging ones. He was my coach as a junior tennis player and knows all the right things to say to keep me fired up and knowing “I can.” Several of my clients are whippersnappers also. I seek their input, and we change things as we need to, based on feedback.
Fill in the blank. You’ll never see me without my:
Mascara and a little lipstick. I’m from the South, and we don’t even answer the mail without a little mascara on. I was brought up with the mindset that you get up, get dressed and go, and I do that to this day.
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
I’m at the studio, Red Ride Fitness, at a girls’ lacrosse or field hockey game at Sacred Heart, or riding my bike around the loop at Cherokee Park. On weekends, the brunch at the Silver Dollar is one of my favorites.
What’s your bucket list travel destination?
Positano and Florence, Italy; the Greek Islands; and the Maldives. I have definite wanderlust, and traveling at least once a quarter is a must.
Favorite thing to do in Louisville?
Oaks/Derby weekend is like no other. I love biking along all the beautiful park trails we have, and you’ll find me on a tennis court now and then.
Night owl or early bird? What do you do during that quiet time?
I am more of an early bird now, based on my work schedule. Sleeping in on the weekends, then hitting one of our awesome farmers markets around town, followed by brunch at the Silver Dollar is just heaven.
Tell us some of your favorite local restaurants.
What’s on your personal reading list right now?
I just finished 10% Happier by Dan Harris, because a little mindful meditation for all of us has got to be a good thing, right? I’m reading Mennonite in a Little Black Dress next, which is supposed to be laugh-out-loud funny.
Lightning round! Give us your:
- Candy or junk food splurge: Reese’s Pieces and Quest bars, cookie dough flavor, are a favorite with more protein when you get the munchies
- Guilty pleasure song: “Brown-Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison always makes me smile
- Tearjerker movie pick: The Notebook, because Ryan Gosling is so tough to watch onscreen
- Standby nail polish color: For fall/winter, Smokin Hot/Essie; for summer, Daydream/Motives
- Favorite cocktail: Grey Goose and soda with lemon wedges
- Cartoon alter-ego: Wonder Woman. As a mom and fitness entrepreneur, I sure could use all her superhero strength.
Thank you to KentuckyOne Health, our underwriter for FACES of Louisville. And as always, much gratitude to our FACES photographer, Adele Reding, for her fantastic work. Visit her website at adeleredingphotography.com.