Health

A 90-Hour Work Week and SoulCycle with Michelle Obama and Harry Styles in One Day: How DC Restaurant Manager Heidi Minora Fits It All In

Photo by Robel Negash.

Welcome to Busy Bodies, where we ask busy Washingtonians how they balance health and fitness while working crazy hours, raising a family, and meeting the demands of the daily hustle. Know someone who’s killing the fitness game while getting it done (maybe it’s you)? Email kolsen@washingtonian.com.

When Heidi Minora isn’t running around to each of her five restaurants with EatWell DC, where she’s in her eleventh year, or tasting food in the kitchen at Commissary, where became the general manager in 2014, you can find the 34-year-old at the West End SoulCycle—often doing two-a-days in the early morning. Here’s how the 2018 RAMMY Manager of the Year fits fitness into her 90-hour work week.

I’m an early morning person. My first class will normally be at 6 AM. I’m also not a big sleeper. My brain starts really early.

The world wakes up around 9 AM. So does your phone, so does your email.

I got into SoulCycle about three years ago. This instructor said a lot of inspirational things and it got into my head, how important personal happiness is. If I’m going to be giving so much to my job, to my friends, it’s so important that I have those two hours to myself.

When you have a job that’s very demanding—I don’t get to spend that random weekend in Miami—for some to spend $350 on a ticket, I go to the West End [SoulCycle]. In a lot of ways it relaxes me. 

There’s something to be said for having that $30 price tag hanging over my head. I could say I’m going to go running after work today, but then stay home and drink wine and watch Queer Eye. Or I could pay $30, and when you have that price tag hanging over your head, it forces you to go.

I will be honest with you: 90 percent of my clothes say SoulCycle on them. I’m a walking billboard for SoulCycle. They had a challenge where you had to do 30 classes in 30 days. At the end of it they gave you a backpack. I call it a Soul Birkin, because you basically paid $900 for it.

I think that when I first moved here [in 2006], the big thing was like, the big corporate gym. All of a sudden, this boutique life emerged in DC, where not only did it offer a workout, but it offered an aspect of luxury and exclusivity. For $30, it’s a better experience, it’s a better dynamic. They give you that cold towel at the end. You’re not under big cafeteria lights.

The new fad in a lot of ways is community. The boutique workouts have more of a social aspect than a larger gym. When you go to check in for your class, you talk to all your friends, you talk about what bike you’re on. It’s a thing. As corny as it sounds, it’s very much a tribe.

I’ve ridden with Michelle Obama and Harry Styles. It was in the same day. Harry was in town for his concert. I rode with Michelle first. She rode right behind me. She’s a really good rider. In the beginning she used to have so much Secret Service, they wouldn’t let you in the locker room. Now she’s pretty chill. I didn’t even know she was in class until I turned around and was like, Oh, shit.

That’s the thing about SoulCycle. They really want you to feel like when you’re in that room, you’re a rider.

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Kim Olsen
Associate Editor

Kim Olsen joined Washingtonian in 2016 after moving to DC from Pittsburgh, where she earned an MFA in nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Alexandria.