Fitness Fridays: SoulCycle’s Angela Manuel-Davis On Inspiring People For A Living And What It’s Like Teaching Beyoncé
If you are a fan of SoulCycle, there’s a chance you’ve heard of Angela Manuel-Davis, or even seen her face (she’s toured with Oprah and had a role in I Feel Pretty). The international fitness and motivational coach and mind behind the AMDIO Method is a teacher at the SoulCycle in West Hollywood, where she teaches a who’s who of celebrity clientele like Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Kelly Rowland, Usher and many other big names; but her focus isn’t on rubbing elbows with the stars when they get set up on a bike in her classes. Instead, her center of interest is treating the VIPs the same way she treats the everyday members who sign up to ride with her, ensuring they feel motivated and comfortable so they can ride away the day’s mundanities.
Manuel-Davis is stepping away from the bike this weekend though as she takes part in the Propel Co: Labs Fitness Festival from July 20-21 at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. She will be teaching in the festival’s fourth year and says those who have been looking to experience her instruction can expect to get moving to some great music and to feel thoroughly encouraged to reach their goals as they get their one, two step on.
“My goal and my intention is to shift the perspective and help you get super clear on your goals and your intentions and do my part in closing the gap for you between where you are and that goal that you set for yourself,” she told me over the phone.
Sounds like a good and very empowering time to us.
We spoke with Manuel-Davis about going from USA Track and Field star to SoulCycle teacher, what it takes to inspire people for a living, including the well-known, and what it’s like having Beyoncé as a participant in her classes.
MadameNoire: How did you go from a track and field background to teaching your very popular SoulCycle classes?
Angela Manuel-Davis: I think being a former professional athlete is something that has changed me and the way that I coach and inspire individuals. And I think when having those experiences, for me, I’m doing my best to do right by it. When you know better you do better. When there are certain things in your life that you’ve experienced, you can’t unexperience them. If you’ve seen something you can’t unsee it. So it’s really taking what I have been given in my life and doing what I can to reshape it and reform it in a way that really encourages and inspires people. So I think regardless of what the platform is, regardless of if it’s a SoulCycle class, regardless of it’s a Propel event, regardless of what kind of modality it is, really any coach can be a great coach if they take what they’ve learned and show up in that moment with that. That’s just what I try and do no matter what the platform is.
Of course I have to ask for the fans and for the Beyhive, what is it like to teach your classes and have Beyoncé come in there, and how do people in the classes react?
Bey is just a part of our community, so I think we are all blessed regardless of who shows up that particular day for the workout. Really, in all reality, every workout is different, every experience is different, and each individual person brings their own energy and spirit and effort into the room. Regardless of who it is, we change the atmosphere when we decide to show up and be our best. And I think one thing that makes her such an extraordinary human being is that she is always willing to show up and be her best, just like so many other people who show up in that moment. We really hold each other to that and it’s a special thing.
You’ve already kind of touched on it, but what do you think it is about what you bring as an instructor to your space — good vibes, good energy — that keep people like Beyoncé, and not just her but other celebrities as well as everyday people flocking to all of the types of classes you do?
Like I said earlier, I think any coach would be remiss not to bring to that moment, moments in their life that have shaped them and formed them. And I think when you can really be honest and show up in a moment super honest and super transparent, willing to do any and everything in your power to encourage, motivate and inspire somebody, I think that anyone on the other end experiencing that can feel that. I don’t think I’m any different from anyone else, I just think I choose to really lean into those moments and in those moments not much else matters. I come into those moments really willing to serve and I think if anyone can kind of adapt that mentality in whatever they do, it just changes things.
Lastly, aside from the classes you teach, SoulCycle, your AMDIO Method, what ways do you as a former professional athlete take care of your body? Are the classes enough or do you still feel the desire to run or anything like that? How do you stay fit as someone so many people look to for fitness inspiration?
I think you can’t serve anybody or get to anybody if you’re empty. So I think it’s super important to myself as someone who inspires people for a living, I have to be inspired. I think it’s mandatory to stay inspired, stay sharp mentally and obviously to stay on top of my game physically. Teaching isn’t my time to do that, that’s my time to serve those who showed up in the room that day. It is super important for me to take that time out for myself to really fill up and fuel up and have my own workouts, my own moments and my own inspiring sessions. I have to have the time to grow and learn and stretch so that I can show up with my best foot forward.