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When Cody Rigsby was announced as a celebrity contender on Season 30 of Dancing With the Stars back in September, the Peloton community collectively celebrated the exciting news by flooding the beloved instructor's Instagram page with supportive messages. And while the experience itself has been something of a rollercoaster, Rigsby is grateful to be part of the ride.
"Dancing With the Stars has been an incredible journey, but it's also really, really challenging in a lot of different ways," Rigsby tells Shape. "It's a lot more than I thought I was signing up for, especially mentally and emotionally. It's awesome, but it's also a challenge and we love challenges."
Now entering the seventh week of the competition, Rigsby, who's paired with professional dancer Cheryl Burke, has already overcome a slew of unexpected obstacles this season, including a second COVID-19 diagnosis after combatting the virus earlier this year. Fortunately, Rigsby was fully vaccinated at the time and experienced minor symptoms as a result of the breakthrough infection. "The second bout with COVID was really mild," he says. "I had symptoms for like two or three days when I was congested and had a bit of a headache but other than that I was pretty easy, thank God." (Related: Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke Returned to the 'DWTS' Ballroom In Impressive Fashion After COVID Diagnoses)
With his COVID-19 behind him, Rigsby, 34, has since settled into his new routine in Los Angeles, which includes almost daily dance practices with Burke, 37, and teaching three Peloton classes a week at the company's Pasadena showroom. To keep up with a physically demanding schedule, Rigsby says he relies on Chobani's Complete Mixed Berry Vanilla Shake as a post-workout snack; the yogurt shake is Chobani's first-ever celebrity co-branded product and offers up to 25 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of added sugar. "I need something quick that I could grab and it's got everything I need," he says of the product, which is only available in shake format (FYI, other Chobani Complete items are available in single-serve cups and multi-serve tubs). "I use it to refuel after class and take care of myself because I don't really have time to think."
Given that Dancing With the Stars is now a major component of Rigsby's active lifestyle, he's focusing on improving his performances week after week — with a little help from Burke, of course. "We've gone through all these ups and downs sort of like a married couple, but what I think our chemistry is rooted in and our connection is rooted in is honest conversations, and being able to provide feedback in a space that's constructive... It can be rough at times, but know that it's rooted in love," he says. "Both of us are really big mental health advocates, and I think we are vulnerable enough to share any of the anxiety that comes with the show and performing, and that's what I'm really proud of."
For instance, last week, Burke and Rigsby closed out the show with a quickstep performance set to "We Go Together" by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John from the 1971 film Grease. And while the duo received high marks from the judges — a 32 out of a possible 40 points — Rigsby says he felt fortunate to have Burke by his side to calm the nerves. "This was the first time we did a minute-and-a-half performance. Typically, the performances are about a minute, so we're doing almost one and half times the amount of dancing, and my boyfriend was in the audience so I was having a little bit of anxiety," he says. "She [Burke] quoted me, she's like, 'It's not that deep, you're not dancing for your life right now, you're dancing on a fun reality show so take a breath, and just have fun.' That support, that awareness of each other that I really respect, and I think that's what roots our chemistry." (Related: Cheryl Burke and Cody Rigsby Dance to Britney Spears In Remote 'DWTS' Performance)
Rigsby and Burke's quest for the Mirror Ball Trophy will continue on Monday's episode of Dancing With the Stars, when the fan favorites will perform a horror-themed cha-cha-cha in honor of Halloween.