When I really don't feel like working out, there's only one person I turn to: Cody Rigsby. The professional dancer turned Peloton instructor's pop rides are famously upbeat and often stand-up comedy-level funny — fitting since Rigsby has "always seen himself as an entertainer" above all else.
Rigsby's appeal is that he doesn't take himself too seriously, but it isn't lost on him that his classes have helped people get through serious things, serving as pseudo-therapy for the Peloton community that has exploded during quarantine. "I take it as an honor and I'm grateful and take the responsibility that people see me as a space, a distraction, or an escape, or a place to process things," Rigsby tells me. "I love that and I love that I can create a space that welcomes a lot of different people — whether it's the 70-year-old, straight man in Ohio, or the young professional in Brooklyn."
His latest gig, co-designing a collection for adidas with fellow Peloton trainers Ally Love and Robin Arzón, is similarly rooted in inclusivity, he says. The partnership will begin with the adidas x Peloton SS21 collection, a line of performance wear and lifestyle pieces that has nods to the '90s (arguably Rigsby's favorite decade) and includes a range of sizing from XS-2X and designs spanning men's, women's, and unisex styles.
"I'm someone who uses clothes and apparel and style to express myself. And so it's been really a joyful experience to collaborate with the Peloton apparel team, the Adidas team, my colleagues, Ally and Robin, and come up with this dope collection," he says. Some of his favorite designs? "A composition notebook pattern that makes me super nostalgic of the nineties and Saved by the Bell and a bright pink unisex T-shirt that I absolutely love."
For Rigsby, who majored in consumer apparel and retail studies, getting to flex his fashion knowledge is a bit of a full-circle moment. "I love it. I loved living my Project Runway and America's Next Top Model challenge fantasies — all the reality shows! Next is RuPaul's Drag Race. Just watch out!," Rigsby jokes. And BooCrew members will know he's got his wig snatched and ready to go.
Throughout our conversation, Rigsby is just as upbeat as you'd imagine, an impressive feat especially considering he's just on the other side of Covid-19 after weeks of intense respiratory symptoms, aches, and fatigue. Although he's back to teaching now (his first live class back, where he shared his hilariously unfiltered thoughts on the Britney Spears documentary, has been taken by hundreds of thousands of riders), the recovery process was longer than he expected. "I thought I might be getting better and then it was like one step forward and three steps back. I think I watched like, 15 seasons of The Simpsons in bed — and Will and Grace," he says. "I had to meet my body where it was ... even though my mind was ready to jump into it, full force, I could tell my body wasn't."
After a month, he was able to start easing back into exercise, which he says ended up being a surprisingly emotional experience. "The first class that I took post-COVID was a 20-minute beginner yoga class with Kristin McGee. And even though it wasn't intense, I was immensely grateful for my body's ability to move," he says. "I just remember crying after that because I had been craving movement and to be able to work my body."
Rigsby is humbled by knowing his classes have helped people get through dark times (he's now frequently recognized by tearful fans while walking around in New York City), but he finds teaching to be a therapeutic experience for him, too. "We're all in the same collective grieving and processing of everything that's going on right now so, to be honest, I just really look forward to getting on that bike when I do every day. I love going to work. I love moving my body. I love listening to the music," he says. "Half of the stuff that comes out of my mouth, like when I'm trying to inspire and push people, it's the stuff that I also need to hear. When I go see my therapist every week, via Zoom, sometimes I just need to say something out loud so I can process it. And I think the bike is also that therapy for me."
Of course, being able to be so 'on' for his classes also means being intense about his recovery and self-care routine. "I'm pretty ritualistic with my Theragun — it's like a little pocket PT [physical therapist] in my house. I also make sure to jump on and do some of my colleagues' 10-minute stretches to move out the kinks in my body. That's super important to my recovery," he says. "But the biggest thing is prioritizing sleep. I try to be in bed by 11 to 12 and not just watch tons of TV on the couch. That's what really helps me have the energy for all my days." He also considers his morning routine to be a "sacred ritual" that sets him up for success in his day. "For me, it's just 20 to 30 minutes where I wake up, stay off of my phone, have two big glasses of water, make my coffee, and jump into a five or 10-minute meditation. That really helps me feel like I have my own time and space and can create joy."
As for what he wants to do as soon as this is all over? "I want to go shake my ass on a dance floor in a room full of people. That is what I want to do. Like if I could just like go to a room, packed full of sweaty people and shake my ass with my shirt off underneath the disco ball ... that's all I want."