Hero of the month – Hilary Gilbert
Today we met the fabulous founder of BOOM Cycle. Over green tea we chatted about her love for her BOOM Cycle team, plans for the future and why Haribo Tangfastics rule. Part husky voiced American charm, part fierce businesswoman, part killer spin instructor and hilarious to boot – Ginger Orange is a little bit in love with Hilary Gilbert.
You have an awesome brand!
Thank you! We just sort of followed our own tune. It stems from being a start up. For years my co-founder and I were the only people that worked at reception. We were interacting with the customers on such an intimate level from day one. We were checking them in and seeing how nervous they were and what makes them really happy or really angry. That experience has helped us steer BOOM to where we are now.
You have a lovely team too…
I love my team! We do loads together – from weekly strength training to team nights out and team rides – we went to a drag show the other week which I loved! I loved drag queens, they never do it half-assed, they just go for it.
How did you come up with what BOOM Cycle is now?
It’s more like a nightclub with a rave master at the front. The music is so big and the base is so heavy! When we started, quite a few of our instructors were outdoor cycling based. We had professional athletes teaching – people who win races – which is so different to where we are now. Then we realised that in the summer time they all went outside. We were like, ‘there goes all our business’! So we went back to the music – which is what had hooked me in the first place. We made it like a nightclub (their reception desk in Shoreditch is like a DJ booth!) When you’re dancing in a nightclub you don’t feel like you’re working out – you can keep going forever.
What does a typical day look like?
Oh god it differs! I guess a normal type of day would be like this: Rob (Hilary’s fiancée and co-founder of BOOM) and I get up at around 7am and we sit and eat breakfast together while we having a meeting. We’ll walk to the Holborn studio and I’ll have meetings with Bangs – she’s my number 2 and our master trainer. Then maybe team strength training, a meeting with lawyers or seeing real estate. We’re also organising events like ‘Spin up’ with Santander Cycles. Some of those are super early so you have to be there at 6.45am ready to rock with all the press, cameras and media there.
How about your diet, what do you love to eat?
I and the other instructors eat a lot! I eat lots of lean protein and loads and loads of vegetables and I love my green juice every day. But if I want to have a burger then I’m going to do it. I’m a firm believer that what you do 80% of the time matters and what you do 20% of the time not so much.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
I love Haribo Tangfastics – I will go through a bag of those in an hour, a whole bag, done! Ooh or the sour cherries. I’ll settle for Star Mix if that’s all they have but I really want the Tangfastics.
Do you have a favourite movie?
My favourite move would be American Beauty and I make a lot of time for Netflix.
What inspires you?
This is probably going to sound a little cheesy but watching my riders grow and change their lives and find strength really inspires me. When people come to me and say, ‘Since I’ve been coming here I’ve lost 3 dress sizes. I’ve never felt better in my life and I’m so much more confident now!’ – That’s really inspiring! And also watching my instructors from when they first begin to really owning it and becoming inspirational themselves – that’s so rewarding.
What does the future hold for BOOM Cycle?
Well, we are working every day on expansion but I can’t say any more than that! Our dream is to open more studios in London and then go to the cities outside of London too. We’ve had a lot of requests from cities in Europe but I think we’re going to focus on studios at home in the UK for now.
Top tips on staying healthy?
Recovery! After high intensity workouts make sure you eat within the first half hour so your body doesn’t start to metabolise your muscle. It could stop you from being lean and add to the possibility of injury – which obviously no one wants. Also, now I’m the worst person in the world for this, but if you feel exhausted… try and rest!
Have you ever been given any good advice that’s helped you on your way?
I’ve been given loads! At high school I was told, ‘Decide what you want to be and be that’. I always thought that was pretty profound.
Do you have a personal hero?
I have great mentors. One of them is Scott, one of our investors, he’s taught me a lot about business. He’s been there for us and is super supportive.
If you could choose a superpower what would you choose?
That’s really hard. I guess maybe if I didn’t need to sleep – that would be amazing! I’m a huge sleeper – 9 hours of sleep a night for sure and it’s really time consuming!
Written by Martha