Flywheel Co-Founder Ruth Zukerman: What I’d Tell My 20-Something Self

Flywheel co-founder and indoor cycling instructor Ruth Zukerman. (Photo: Ruth Zukerman)

Five years ago, Ruth Zukerman co-founded Flywheel, an indoor cycling studio committed to offering workouts that are the rare cross-section of hardcore, empowering and fun. It’s a balance that’s anything but easy to strike. For Zukerman, helping improve people’s lives, and getting that feedback regularly is as gratifying as it gets. The mom of 24 year-old twins is dedicated to making each rider “feel not only included, but important, no matter what they look like or ‘who they are.’” If you’ve been to the studio, you’ve likely experienced that customer service on a whole other level, in addition to a sweat-drenching, epic workout. We caught up with the fitness phenom about all the things she wished she’d known early on. 20-somethings take note.

Success doesn’t mean finding a husband: In my 20s, my idea of success was finding a husband.  Boy, was I misguided, only because it was my way of avoiding self-exploration and taking risks. That being said, I would never regret it as I have two wonderful twin daughters, Kate and Rachel, who also happen to be my best friends.

Even bad jobs can lead you in the right direction: I’d tell my younger self to calm down and to a certain extent, trust the universe. After giving up my passion of dancing in my early 20s, I was at a complete loss. I had my share of unsatisfying jobs where I was miserable. I learned that the less-than-desirable jobs and experiences eventually help us find our calling. I tried a dance/aerobics class in the early 80’s that I really enjoyed and eventually was asked to teach at the studio. That was my first foray into group fitness. If I hadn’t tried a neighborhood dance/aerobics studio then, I wouldn’t have ended up where I am today. The learning? You are far more capable than you think you are. Take risks and don’t be afraid to fail.

Follow your passion whether it is lucrative or not: My daughters are both are struggling to find their passion and dream job. I tell them to be open to trying different fields and networking as much as possible. Patience and positivity are important. Your 20s should be a learning curve — take risks, make mistakes, fail, and ultimately succeed. Once you find your passion, follow it whether it is lucrative now or not. I was happy teaching indoor cycling classes at various gyms for very little money because I believed in what I was doing. I created a business and ultimately, a way to support myself through my commitment to my passion.”

Invest in skincare, not makeup: I didn’t wear much makeup in my 20s, but I religiously used Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream on my lips every evening before bed and still do. It’s extremely hydrating and really lasts eight hours! As for beauty trends I regret, “big hair” is on the list. Some of those old pictures are painful to revisit!

Confidence increases with age: “My confidence has come a long way since my 20s. The good news (and the bad news) is that confidence only really increases with age and life experiences. Knowing then what I know now would have saved me many mistakes, however, we learn a lot through trial and error.


How One In Demand Fitness Instructor Eats All Day Long

Work Out With Karlie Kloss’ Trainer

Physique 57 Founder Tanya Becker: Raising the Barre