Kerry Mack: Turning a Setback into a Comeback

Kerry Mack

A Spring Break liquid diet is a concept most college kids are all too familiar with. Last April, I was one of those kids—but my situation was a bit different. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in Punta Cana partying with MTV like it was 1999. I was in a hospital bed with morphine, a new disc in my neck and soon a cringe-worthy (but badass) scar. Oatmeal and smoothies were all I could eat—if one can consider that “eating.” I was unable to walk, speak or keep my eyes open. The sickest part, you ask? All I could think about was cycling and running. Moving. Excelling. Crossing a finish line. Through a physically and emotionally tolling experience I learned quite a bit about myself. I also learned that when life throws you a curveball: find a bat and knock that sh*t out of the park.

My story begins last December, just a few days after Christmas. I was in a wistful fog of too much sugar, not being in Manhattan during The Holidays, and four weeks without responsibility. My daily tasks were deciding what to make for breakfast, finalizing which morning talk show I would watch (if I woke up before noon) and burning off those extra holiday pounds. When I attempted to rise out of bed to start my day I couldn’t move. I don’t mean I was so lazy I didn’t care to get out of bed. I literally could not move. My body from the neck up was completely frozen.

I panicked. That was a dream, right? I was a healthy, happy, active 19-year-old girl. I wanted to scream, but I was shocked I couldn’t make a sound. After a few minutes of agony, I was able to roll over onto my side and rise. I was numb physically and emotionally. I could feel in my gut—and neck—something was severely wrong.

My family and I convinced ourselves I kinked my neck and would be fine in a few days. After a week of chiropractor adjustments, Emergency Room visits, and being told to, “Just ice it,” I’d had enough. The pain became so intense I could barely move, and this is coming from a girl who has broken or sprained just about everything. One friend described me as “the healthiest, unhealthy person,” he knew.

Athletics have always played an important role in my character. As a lifelong cheerleader, tumbler and runner I viewed the resilience of my body as a miraculous, yet necessary piece to my puzzle. By no means was I ever MVP. Of anything. But, whenever I felt external stress I would run off the anxiety, flip over tension, or dance until I forgot there was anything wrong. The constant motion I lived in allowed me to not only build momentum and trust in my body. I relied on it for relief when life became overwhelming. Exercise became my meditation…until I couldn’t exercise. Then, meditation became my meditation.

After a visit to an Orthopedic Surgeon, I discovered I had a degenerative disc in my neck that was bulging out into my spinal cord. Essentially, the disc was disintegrating and would begin to cut off blood supply to my spinal cord without action. My doctor, my family, and I were confounded. There was no rhyme or reason for this injury. But, the doctor suspected that it had been in the works due to my long history of high-impact sports. As a result, I was told take it easy and return in six weeks. If the x-rays and MRIs looked the same, I would be in for major spine surgery. My options for exercise were limited to cycling or walking. I decided I would take up cycling. I think I secretly thought after six weeks I would look like Beyonce…

The jury’s still out on that one.

When I returned to Manhattan I took my first indoor cycling class at Revolve. After my 45-minute Body Ride, I was unsure if I took a fitness class or went to a nightclub. I was drenched, dizzy, sore, and on top of the world. I couldn’t wait to go back. I raved about it to everyone I knew. They in turn told me I was insane, and to relax for the time being. But, they didn’t understand that was relaxing to me. There was something about the pulse of the music, the rhythm in my feet and the sweat on my brow that made me come alive. I forgot about my neck, my potential surgery and my parents’ concern. It was as if cycling unleashed a different side of me. Frankly, I wasn’t naturally skilled (in fact, I sucked) and the challenge was intriguing. On particularly overwhelming days, those 45 minutes were my escape. I felt confident in the performance of my body in those moments because I couldn’t bring myself to think about the “what ifs.” In that short time slot, I was giving my all. I didn’t feel like my body had failed me.

After six weeks of “taking it easy,” I felt significantly better. I was no longer in pain and I felt optimistic. I went back to the Orthopedic Surgeon expecting to be cleared for all exercise. Yet, somehow my situation had intensified. My doctor explained that sometimes pain ceases without any real internal healing. I would have to wait nine more weeks until Spring Break when I would get a Spinal Fusion. The doctor would be going through the front of my neck to take the disc out and put an artificial disc in. After, I would have to recover for another 8 weeks. Altogether, this would be a six-month set back. I was devastated. I sobbed and worried my body would never move the same again. I was only 19 and had so much ahead of me!

After a day of tears I decided feeling sorry for myself wouldn’t speed up the healing process, either. I would have to focus on what I could do. For the next nine weeks I could cycle.

The most I could cycle was 1-2 times per week while I awaited surgery. On mornings when I would sign up for an evening class I would look forward to the ride all day. During those nine weeks I didn’t allow myself to think negatively. It was too scary. I focused solely on handling day-to-day matters, remaining calm, and moving my body as much as possible.  I could not turn my back from the momentum I had created in my life through exercise. I could not deviate from my sweat-induced therapy. I needed to hold on to it then more than ever.

I was fortunate enough to heal completely from this freak injury. But, the eight weeks I spent recovering were the worst part of the whole experience. I was itching to get back to running and cycling. Between the two I knew I would be able to clear my head and push my limits. Something inside was telling me that I could come back stronger than ever. I had some badass training ahead of me to match my new badass scar.

I had so much pent up energy over those six months that my first run back was seven miles. No stopping. I could barely walk the next day; I had never been so out of shape, but I didn’t care. I performed similarly during my first indoor cycling class back. When the instructor asked if there were any injuries she should know about I was reluctant to share. Now, I am proud to share my story.

These days, I’ve never felt better. I am running a half marathon in early October, I am running my fastest mile ever, and I still cycle at least once a week. I took the curveball life threw me and knocked it out of the park—and I’m just getting in the game.

– Kerry Mack

Staying Active with a Hectic Schedule


I don’t know about you but my summers seem to fly by so quickly. A combination of work, vacations, weekend getaways, holidays, and visits with friends and family can make summer vanish in a blink of the eye. It can also make sticking to a work out schedule pretty tough. After taking a look at my calendar I realized that I am only in town for two weekends in July AND August, how crazy is that? Although my schedule has never been so hectic, I have been able to stay on top of my workouts and eating pretty clean. I have a few tips to share so that you too can have a happy, healthy, and fun summer.

1) Morning work outs – With so many after work activities I like to knock out my work outs first thing in the morning. My personal routine is the 6am class at Revolve Mon/Wed/Fri and then working with my trainer Tues/Thur. By 7am my work out is done for the day!

2) Weekday structured work outs – As if after work activities aren’t enough, lately my weekends are completely packed. I find that my body works best with 1 – 2 days of rest so I use my weekends to stay active in different ways. I love hiking, biking for transportation, and the occasional trail run. Once the weekend hits I can look back on a week of great work outs and enjoy my weekend a little bit more.

3) Stay flexible – Lately I have been heading out of town on Thursdays so I miss my Friday morning class. To “make up” for the class I will sneak in an extra cardio session on the weekend. Early morning bike rides and runs are my go to. Both activities are a great way to see the area that you are in.

4) Intuitive eating – I am the last person to skip breakfast or lunch during the week. 6am work outs mean I am always hungry for breakfast, lunch, and normally a snack in between! On the weekends I find that lately if I get up and I am not hungry I just roll with it. There is a very good chance I will be around a grill and snacks at some point in the day so if my eating times shift a bit I go with it. I used to get so stressed out about making sure I had the right food at the right times and letting go a bit I have realized it is easier than you think to trust your belly and eat when it grumbles and stick to water (or a summer beverage!) when it is is happy as is.

5) Stocked fridge – I have been pretty bad about this lately because I have been coming and going so much. A fridge full of in season fruit (watermelon!!) and vegetables is amazing. Summer foods are so light, crisp, and colorful, eat them! I tend to keep a watermelon in my fridge at all times and eat out of it with a spoon, you should definitely try it.

6) Active friends – I have a handful of friends who I know I can call up and will be down for a hike or run at any time. Getting up early on the weekends to go out with friends is a great way to give yourself an excuse to catch up on sleep and get the weekend started out nice and early.

7) Comfortable shoes – This may sound silly but it’s important. During the day I always wear comfortable shoes. My go-tos are my knock off Birkenstocks : ) , Saucony Kinvaras, or a pair of boat shoes. I don’t like heels and with my knee injury and habit of rolling my ankle lately I would rather be safe than sorry. Comfortable shoes mean that you can walk places! Walking is the best passive exercise ever, so make sure your feet are happy.

8) Grill food – What a tough rule… Grills are amazing, you season all the things, and then cook. No need to add any cooking oils or liquids. Grilled food also tends to not be bogged down with heavy sauces, which makes it easy to keep things healthy. My favorite go-tos on the grill are Italian sausage, burgers, zucchini, corn, and pineapple.

How do you stay active and healthy during the summer months?

Instructor Reveal: Becky Rockey

Meet Becky Rockey! While Becky has been with the Revolve family for 18 months (we’ll have to celebrate her two years in December), you’ve probably seen her face around the studio a bunch. Becky has a strong passion for indoor cycling and we wanted to get to know more about her, so we asked….



Tell us about yourself

What should I tell you? I am from central PA and am a lover of the outdoors. I have 3 sisters (1 older, 2 younger) and absolutely adore animals (all of them are welcome)! I moved to DC to work in financial development and have ended up…several years later…working as an economist at a national commercial real estate firm. I love complicated analysis and programming/model design, which is a large part of that. To say I’m a nerd could be an understatement.

How did you get into indoor cycling?

I actually got in to group fitness as a freshman at PSU, when I realized that my passion for sports was going to be limited by other things (like several knee injuries). I spoke with an orthopedist and was basically told that I will need to eventually give up running, pretty much entirely, which meant no more hockey long-term (except that I played club at PSU and occasionally still play with DC’s Association team, ever mindful of the stress I put on my body). Indoor cycling was one of the few cardio workouts that could replicate the “runners high” for me, so I was immediately drawn to it. The intensity of it was energizing and I loved that I could choose the music, that I could design and layout the ride. My approach to cycling is similar to how I approached running before–I used it as a way to maintain excellent cardio health, but I also used it as a gauge of how “in shape” I was. I knew my timed mile pace, my long-distance pace, my good and bad stats. Now, I have comparable measures for myself on the bike.

What are you excited about bringing to the Revolve Community?

I was most excited to bring my own style to Revolve. I love intense, mind-blowing workouts, but my personality juxtaposes with that, since I can be somewhat mellow and soft-spoken (until the warm-up is over, LOL!) Honestly, it is always a journey to find your own style as an instructor and I’ve evolved a lot here over the past 18 months (coming up on 2 years). I think, like each instructor here, my unique background in the fitness industry is one thing that I can continue to offer the Revolve community. 

Three words that describe you

Intelligent, hard-working, caring

What are your favorite things?

Well, I immediately think of food when I’m asked this question! Hahaha, I love nut butters like you wouldn’t believe. Seriously, I order most of mine from a company in North Carolina…and it’s something like $12 for an 8-ounce jar. Ridiculous, but I love it that much. Other non-edible favorite things include hiking/being outdoors, traveling (especially to the mountains, beach, or anywhere with scenic outdoor activities), cooking, and spending time with my family. I just got back from a family trip to Yellowstone/the Tetons and will be heading to Austin, Miami, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Dallas (at least) later this year!


#Revolve31 Success: Bethany Williams

Bethany was our second place overall finisher in our recent 31 DAYS OF SWEAT Challenge. She took the challenge on strong and received amazing mental, emotional, and PHYSICAL RESULTS. Here is her story:

For many years before riding with Revolve, I hardly ever broke a sweat.  I did not have a regular exercise routine.  I was busy with being a wife, working a fulltime demanding job, and being mom to two small kids. I could not envision how I could keep up with working out so I did not even try. Once my kids were a little older and more self-sufficient I decided that I wanted to make more time for myself and get in shape so two years ago I found Revolve. photo 1 On my first visit, I thought it was exciting to be in a dark, energy-packed room and to do something good for myself.  I found it challenging, but I was hooked. I have tried other workout classes but I often walk away with an injury or not feeling like it was a great use of my time.  I never feel that way with Revolve. photo 2photo 3  I especially loved that Revolve has 6 AM classes.  I could go and get my workout in and be back in time to get the kids up, make lunches and breakfast, get them out the door, and then get myself to work by 8:45 AM.  My friend Cathy has been a large part of my success.  She lives a few block away has been going with me almost the whole time.  I dragged myself out of bed on some days that maybe I would not have since I knew she was waiting to go with me.  It was fun to talk about the classes afterwards with her and encourage each other to go more each week. I started feeling better, stronger, healthier but I wanted more and was ready to up the load so I was excited when I saw the ‘31 Days of Sweat Challenge’ starting.  I wanted to up my game and I love being competitive, so for the month of May, to maximize my Revolve31 points, I went an average of 5-7 times a week as well as mixed in some cross-training and cleaned up my eating.  I came in second in the competition BUT I lost 10 pounds in the process! I’ve learned I can lose weight and can be an athlete. PLUS, I plan to keep going! Just this week I am signed up for four early morning rides!

Instructor Reveal: Mara Frisch

Meet the newest addition to the Revolve DC Instructor team, Mara Frisch!


After four years of playing college tennis, Mara retired her racket in pursuit of a new new type of workout. Sampling all that DC has to offer, seven years later Mara is still in love with spin. Her classes combine up beat jams with intense intervals that will leave you sweaty and satisfied. Her passion for making fitness fun is evident in her playlists and energy she brings to the room. Off the bike, you can find Mara in the latest gear working at lululemon athletica Clarendon or exploring DC for the perfect taco.

What are some of your favorite things?

  • Top Artist: Beyonce and Jay Z (not as a duo!)
  • Favorite Cartoon Character as a Kid: Doug Funny
  • Favorite Movie: Hitch
  • Favorite Spot in Arlington: Northside Social
  • Guilty Pleasure: Nike shoes, Mexican Food and manicures

Find Your Strength

Hey Fellow Revolve Riders!

My name is Megan and I am a local foodie and fitness blogger over at Food & Fitness. I teamed up with Revolve about a month ago and dove head first into the world of cycling. A little about me before I break into today’s topic: MeganKellyI started running seriously in March of 2012, just when I was really starting to see some huge gains in my speed and endurance I tore my ACL in a soccer game. I spent the next 6 months rehabbing and then trained for and completed my first marathon in March of 2014. I was naive thinking my body could handle that kind of training and things just started to fall apart. Add spraining my ankle in April to my bum knee and running was just off the table. The same day I sprained my ankle I went to a blogger ride at Revolve (yes I know, not smart) and we fell in lust.

MeganLegBraceInjuries can either tear you down or teach you how to find your strength and keep going. One of my favorite things about Revolve classes are the little motivational cues that all the instructors yell out at exactly the right time. The first two weeks at Revolve was really mentally tough for me. Week one went amazing and then week two came and I found that my legs were dead. Interval training like that is a tough work out and you can easily burn yourself out. I was down on myself for a minute feeling like I couldn’t push through and Dorothy told us to find our strength.

Finding your strength can mean so many things to different people. I want to focus specifically on how to over come injury, thinking outside of the box, and maintaining a positive attitude.

Quick PSA – if you are injured see a doctor, don’t count on the interwebs to diagnose yourself. Once you have been to the doctors and know what is wrong this is the time to do something. Figure out what you can do to strengthen the supporting muscles and joints. Weight lifting and cross training need to become your best friends. My first strength goal after blowing out my knee was being able to do 30 regular push ups. It may not seem like much but it was a goal that I knew I would have to work towards. As fitness lovers we also love goals, find an attainable goal and work towards it. Having a goal of getting those push ups in got me to the gym. At the gym I did full body work outs but always incorporated push ups, it is all about getting out the door.

Once you reach a goal pick a different one. Once my knee could handle it I started going to yoga and my goal was 2 – 3x a week. Small goals = higher success rate, and who doesn’t like winning?

Always take you doctor or physical therapist’s advice on when to incorporate any physical activity into your routine post-injury. For knee specific injuries, from my experience, I would not recommend cycling right away. Leaving the saddle can be a recipe for disaster for a bad knee especially at low resistance. If you choose to cycle, you can always stay in the saddle and get a great workout from there. Cycling is an incredible low impact cardio work out that will keep your endurance at the same level as pre-injury you. My favorite cardio equipment post injury was the rowing machine. If you have access to one give it a try.

While tearing my ACL, rehabbing, and giving away a small fortune to pay for it was not ideal it did show me how resilient I was. It also opened my eyes to so many different types of exercise.


What was your last major injury and how did you rehab / stay active after it?

Ways to get in touch with Megan:
Twitter: @megankellly
Instagram: @megankelly
M/W/F @6am on bike 17 or 7 : )

Revolve DC’s 31 Days of Sweat 2014: #Revolve31

We’re kicking off summer in DC with the 31 Days of Sweat Challenge  #Revolve31. Compete for weekly prizes from Revolve’s local partners, and in celebration of National Bike Month, our Grand Prize is a brand new Electra 7D Townie Bicycle in Fushia – we know our Riders will be tearing up the streets this summer!



Our challenge begins May 1. The last day to earn points is Thursday May 29.

Points are compiled and updated every Friday for each weekly prize as well as totaled for the month towards the Grand Prize. Weekly winners and the top ten overall will be announced on Facebook as well as our Monday emails.

Point tracking is a mutual effort by RIDERS and STAFF (see “Tracking” below for directions). Revolve audits the top 10 forms as well as randomly selected submissions.

A #Revolve31 “week” is a considered Friday to Thursday. With the exception of week one where the week will run Thursday to Thursday.


Submit your points via the online form Revolve 31 Weekly Points Submission at the following link:

We HIGHLY recommend reviewing this form before our Challenge begins on Thursday May 1. 

Forms must be submitted by NOON on Fridays. No exceptions.

  • Week 1: 12:00a Thurs May 1 thru 11:59p Thurs May 8, form due Fri May 9 by NOON.
  • Week 2: 12:00a Fri May 9 thru 11:59p Thurs May 15, form due Fri May 16 by NOON.
  • Week 3: 12:00a Fri May 16 thru 11:59p Thurs May 22, form due Fri May 23 by NOON.
  • Week 4: 12:00a Fri May 23 thru 11:59p Thurs May 29, form due Fri May 30 by NOON.




You can earn 3 points per ride for up to seven rides per week. Bonus point opportunities are available for hitting any of the following with those seven rides:

  • Attending a theme ride Friday,
  • Hitting all three ride formats (Body, Barre, and Real Ride),
  • Riding at least five times
  • Riding with four different instructors


All social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram MUST contain #Revolve31 to be eligible for points. Earn 1 point for:

  • Each RevolveDC Metro check-in on Facebook w/ #Revolve31 tag. Up to 2 check-ins per day.
  • Each @RevolveDC mention on Twitter w/ #Revolve31 tag. Up to four mentions per day.
  • Each Instagram post of your healthy eats w/ #Revolve31 tag. Up to 2 per day. Extra point available for each Healthy Eats post that features and tags either South Block or Fuego.


We love pictures! Two ways to earn big points on Social Media:

  • Share your picture of your cross-training session and tag #Revolve31. You will earn 1 point for each social media channel your share to, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, for a total of three points. If any of your cross-training is with NOVA MMA, Verve Health & Fitness, or MyBootCamp you can earn an additional point per post for a maximum four points.
  • Share your post-ride pictures of you with AT LEAST two other riders and tag #Revolve31. You will earn 2 points for each social media channel your share to, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, for a total of six points. If any of your pics also feature your instructor in addition to your group of three you can earn an additional point per pic for a maximum seven points.


All members as of May 1, 2014 will begin with 10 points in recognition of their monthly commitment to Revolve. If you purchase a new monthly membership in May, you will also receive 10 points. Points are also available for the purchase of 5, 10, & 20 packs.

Earn points for bringing a new rider to class and for buying Revolve gear from the store.

Visit lululemon Clarendon or Revolution Cycles, our 31 Days of Sweat partners, and earn points for sharing your visit on social media either. You must tag our partners and include #Revolve31. This can be on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter; Earn points for each channel.

Revolve is also sponsoring three Cross Training Events in May. You can earn 5 bonus points for each event just by attending.

  • Sunday May 4 1:00 PM: At Verve Health & Fitness: TOTAL BODY CONDITIONING & STRETCH: RSVP to Verve directly by calling 703-465-8100. Space is limited.
  • Saturday May 10 12:45 PM: At 11th St Park: MyBootCamp OUTDOOR TRAINING: RSVP to Revolve by emailing Space is limited.
  • Sunday May 18 1:30 PM: At NOVA MMA: Intro Women’s KICKBOXING: RSVP to NOVA MMA directly by calling 703-807-0342. Space is limited.



Meet our DC Studio Manager: Stephanie Wheeler

We’d like to introduce to you our new DC area Studio Manager, Stephanie Wheeler! 


We asked her a few questions to help you get to know her better. Here’s what she had to say: 

Tell us about Stephanie: I recently worked in retail management for a family-owned specialty running store.  Prior to that I worked as a fitness coach and group exercise instructor at various studios in the DC Metro area. I am a late-life athlete (that means I was artsy and kind of a book nerd growing up) with a background in exercise science and a healthy respect for adrenaline-producing sports.  I’ll run any distance from 5k to 50 miles — if it can be covered by foot I’ll likely give it a go.  And I’m currently working on qualifying for Western States 100.

What are you excited about bringing to the Revolve community?:  My enthusiasm for fun fitness and my head full of ridiculous pop culture and obscure trivia.

 Some of your favorite things:  Dogs (I will stop in the middle of a run to say hello to a dog), circus aerials and pole dance, chocolate (its cliche, but I would perish without it)

 Three words that describe you:  Adventurous, crunchy, goofy

Instructor Reveal: Kate Karafotas

Meet the newest addition to the DC Instructor team, Kate Karafotas! 

Tell us about yourself! 
I was born in Connecticut and raised in New York City. After high school I took a gap year (and a half!) snowboarding in Aspen, CO. I couldn’t bear to leave Colorado so I decided to go to the University of Colorado at Boulder. While there I would snowboard in the winter and mountain bike in the summer. After college, my boyfriend (now husband!) and I moved to DC, and other than a brief stint in the Chicago area, have stayed here since. We have two beautiful daughters, Maya and Zoe. I spend a lot of time shuttling them around to activities and school, but my fitness time is MY time to zone everything and everyone else out and find my center. Making time for fitness has made me a saner, happier lady!


How did you get into Indoor Cycling?
A few years ago I was visiting my mom at the beach in NY and was trying to find an exercise class since there isn’t a traditional gym there. I had seen a studio the previous summer, but had been too afraid to try it. This time I had more courage! I had spent the last 6 months working hard to train for a sprint triathlon in an effort to shed those final pounds from my second pregnancy. I signed up for a class and 45 minutes later was totally hooked.I  loved the music, the motivation, and that I was drenched in sweat when I left – it was a cathartic experience! I went every day when I was there and when I came home I decided I wanted to pursue getting certified so I could bring my own energy and playlist!

What are you excited about bringing to the Revolve community?
I am excited to bring my enthusiasm for indoor cycling and music to Revolve. In terms of music I play a lot of current stuff, but sometimes you need a little Whitney or Michael!! I’ll push you hard and remind you that you are stronger than you think. I’ll help you reach your fitness goals and then help you set those standards higher!

Three words that describe you.
Outgoing. Relaxed (mostly!). Shopaholic.

What are some of your favorite things? 
Kale, lululemon, and Bravo TV. Seriously – I wish I was kidding. I like to fuel my body, be comfortable, and rot my brain 😉 I also love spending time outside; whether it be biking with the kids or walking the dogs. I used to love winter, but now I am spring/summer gal through and through!


12 Days of Revolve Success: Kate Beller

Day 12! There you have it! 12 stories, 12 reasons, 12 inspirations to get you going and keep you going in 2014. Here is the final story of our series featuring DC Rider, Kate Beller.

I had never been to an indoor class before my husband bought me a package as a gift in December 2011.  I’m now completely hooked and usually make 4-7 classes a week.  I had struggled adjusting from the life of a student – which left me ample time to workout on any given day – to the attorney lifestyle.  I had a hard time motivating myself to workout in the limited free time I had.  Revolve filled this void perfectly – it provided with a fun community, motivating instructors, and a great workout that only took 45 mins/an hour from my day.  Since joining, I now have found a way to balance work and working out, and have seen all sorts of results in my health and everyday life.