Jen Barnet had never taught an indoor cycling class until the morning she opened her own studio, XCYCLE in Boca Park on the west side.
“I was on the car ride there and I told myself I had a decision to make,” she says. “I can either royally mess this up and have my nerves take over, or I can get up there and knock their socks off. When the lights got low and the first song came on, something came over me. There were 35 people in front of me believing in me, they were here for me, and that gave me so much confidence.”
That was almost a year ago. Now, XCYCLE classes are so packed there is a daily waitlist, and the 32-year-old is planning an expansion by late spring so more riders can join her community.
That’s right, Barnet’s doing more than just helping people get in shape.
“It really is a sense of family,” she says. “The whole reason why I wanted to do this was mainly community, bringing a community together that I was addicted to. It’s happening right now. I have people coming up to me crying, laughing, saying they would have never been friends with half of the people in here. They would have walked right past them on the street. They thank me. They say there are so many great men and women here that [they’ve] become friends with that [they’re] going to take [with them] throughout life. That makes me smile.”
A dancer all her life, Barnet’s passion for fitness and cycling started when she was 18 and took her first class at a 24-Hour Fitness.
“What I liked about it was the movement and the music,” she says. “It was nothing like what I am doing right now, but it was a start.”
After moving to West Hollywood at 24, Barnet became obsessed with the growing fitness trend, sometimes even going twice a day. Several years later, while in a long-distance relationship with her fiancé, Larry Rudolph, she began making lengthy visits to Las Vegas and was surprised to learn that there wasn’t an indoor cycling studio. Though the famed cycling company SoulCycle was recruiting her to join their team, Barnet knew her true passion would be to open her own studio in Vegas. So she declined to go through their training and instead moved to the west side and started to work on creating XCYCLE.
“Playlists and finding instructors are two of the biggest challenges in owning an indoor cycling studio,” she says. “Everyone wants to be up there, but not everyone is right for it. I picked people based on personality. I allow them to be who they are.”
When she’s off the bike, Barnet enjoys dining at Carbone at Aria, catching a great show and maybe having a glass of wine.
“Vegas has really welcomed me,” she says. “The community is way better than I even thought.”