A Love Letter to Burn
Like many San Franciscans, I identify as a Burner. However, this does not mean traveling with my tribe to Black Rock City to disconnect from the “default world.”
Instead, to me, being a Burner means spending my weekend mornings in the Mission taking a cardio + pilates class with my favorite instructors. My tribe wears Lululemon and bonds over a communal dislike of plank jacks and burpees.
My journey with Burn has truly defined my past year. I joined ClassPass in the summer of 2014, when it first launched on the west coast. As someone who enjoys boutique workout classes, I was thrilled to hop from studio to studio and try out new workout methods. Reformers, HIIT, Barre – the sky was the limit!
I had always heard fantastic things about Burn and the Yelp reviews further confirmed that. During this time in my career, I had taken on all aspects of marketing for an early-stage startup. With high growth goals and a sharp learning curve, I needed a physical outlet to blow off steam. Burn was my hour to shut off and focus on myself.
All was going great until the startup laid off 80% of its employees, including myself.Even though there is always risk in an early stage venture, I was devastated that it was gone in an instant. Instead of jumping into the grind of the job search, I decided to backpack through India for a month in early 2015. I needed time to reassess priorities. What was interesting was that while away from SF, my body went through Burn withdrawals; I craved using the arm and leg springs.
(All that cardio helped with the obligatory jumping poses in Southern India)
Upon returning to SF, I shifted how I looked at life. I didn’t want to follow the intensivecareer trajectory that I had put upon myself. I made a promise that for the next month I would focus on Burn classes alone and not make any definitive life decisions. I even froze ClassPass to become a full-time Burn devotee.
During this time, I signed up for a month unlimited and was taking classes 4–5x a week and feeling amazing. I was finally able to figure out internally what drives me and where I want go to in life. I am a huge believer in the power of exercise to curb anxiety and that endorphins bring happiness. This clarity and freeness allowed me to focus on what was important and how to include more of that in my life.
Unfortunately, there comes a time in every person’s life when you have to face reality and that just focusing on pilates isn’t financially prudent. My dream world had to come to an end; however, I learned so many lessons from Burn that I would take into the next phase of my life. Working hard, knowing that I can do anything if I just focus, taking deep breaths when there is a challenge, letting go of negative thoughts, and trusting in the power of community.
This mentality helped out in my interviews – literarily. In final rounds at a venture capital firm where I would be responsible for running their content marketing, I was asked to produce a 5-minute communications exercise where I had to teach the managing partner anything I wanted. With a moments notice, I thought what is something that I am super passionate about and can articulate clearly. Instead of teaching him a practical skill-set applicable to the job responsibilities, I taught him Burn!
I wrote on the whiteboard: Cardio, Weights, Abs, Arms, Legs. Then, I physically went through the process of how Burn works (except legs – that wasn’t going to happen in a Banana Republic dress). Apparently my enthusiasm and discipline impressed him, because I was offered the job. Most importantly, I was proud of myself for staying true to my passions and what I enjoy in my everyday life. I didn’t conform to what would have been expected in that moment.
(Capturing that essence at Burn Saratoga)
After this awesome year of being a devoted Burner, I now know that anything is possible. I am so thankful for the Burn community, which inspires and promotes so many people to live active and amazing lives!