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Get in formation

During the Saturday session of Portland Monthly’s Woman Up! event, attendees can choose their own adventure by checking out half-hour intro workshops from some of Portland’s most innovative fitness thinkers (read on for more about other offerings). Among them: BurnCycle, the cult-favorite spin boutique that has garnered a committed following. Founder Jessi Duley shares the secrets of a workout brand on the rise.

What’s BurnCycle’s story? When did it begin and why?

I’ve always had a ton of energy. Movement is where I feel most at home. It’s what allows me to go “all in” in every other area of life. But I couldn’t find a workout that was as intense as I wanted; I wanted a workout that would melt my face off—something so intense it would take me out of my everyday B.S. There was no high-intensity interval training boutique spin in Portland, so I decided to do it myself. I want to change your day so that when you leave you’re more patient, clear, creative. You’re a better partner, mother, boss. We need to refill the cup, and so many people don’t do that.

What’s the environment like at BurnCycle?

We’re a screen-free experience. We don’t allow cell phones and we don’t measure through metrics. The room is dark with low lighting, which is amazing because then no one makes a “sexy face.” You get to vibe off the people around you without having to worry about the people around you. There’s no judgment. No worrying about not being good enough. You leave and you feel incredible because you’ve actually been able to hit pause. So when you head out, you put your game face on and you’re ready. 

What does a typical class look like?

We go above and beyond to make people feel welcome. Starting a new workout routine is intimidating. There’s fear. Am I going to be able to do it? We start the process the second you walk in the door. The vibes are good and high. When the lights go off, you get to turn your brain off and just move. We do everything to the beat of the music, so there’s this incredible feeling like you’re tethered to something larger. It’s an infusion of energy, a collaborative feeling. It’s powerful. Moving to the beat of the music also enables us to add choreography. We’ll add push-ups or drills that target your upper body and core. And there’s a five to seven-minute arm series in each 45-minute class with small hand-weights.

BurnCycle has a dedicated following. Why is that?

We have the best instructors in this city. We take what we do seriously, but we never take ourselves too seriously. We know what we’re here to do, and it’s not make people skinnier. We’re here to make people stronger, on every level of being a human—mentally, physical, spiritually, emotionally. We create a space where people can find their edge, because people don’t realize their potential until they’re pushed. We know what we’re here to do—to help people live their best lives.

Portland Monthly’s second annual Woman Up! event (May 12–13) brings together experts from across the city—and state—for a weekend of wellness and a celebration of the bold women shaping Oregon’s future and those who’ve paved the way. Get tickets!

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