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The “Thrive 5” Podcast: Tunde Oyeneyin on Why Joy Is a Form of Resilience and the Importance of Leaning Into Discomfort

The Peloton instructor is known for her contagious, motivating energy — and this podcast episode is proof.

In every episode of the “Thrive 5” podcast, we talk to inspiring women about how they’re thriving, and explore how taking care of our well-being is the backbone for greater confidence and mental resilience. 

This week, host Clarice Metzger chats with Tunde Oyeneyin — a Peloton instructor who has earned a reputation for commanding and inspiring thousands of riders every time she gets on the bike. Tunde opened up about the mindset that allows her to take care of herself so she can show up for the thousands who rely on her contagious energy, and about the ways she’s using her platform to influence change — and not just the physical kind.

Here’s a little of what Tunde had to say…

On building habits and rituals that help you feel good:

“I live in New York, and the first two weeks of the pandemic, there was gloom across the whole city. I went through a phase where I was just feeling so alone, so by myself. I’ve had to tap into accessing feeling good, versus just expecting to feel good. I had to say things like, ‘OK, when you wake up, Tunde, you’re not checking your phone.’ So now I wake up, give my dog belly rubs. Then after that, I have two glasses of water and take my dog on a walk. On that walk I’ll listen to some type of meditation or podcast, something that fuels my soul. And then I start life: emails, answering texts, calling someone back. But first I give myself that hour-and-a-half to two hours every morning.”

On the importance of leaning into discomfort when talking about race:

“The Speak Up Ride was just after the murder of George Floyd, and I felt like the world was listening for the first time. My boss came to me and asked if I would be interested in leading some type of ride of solidarity. Well, that came to be the Speak Up Ride. If people were listening and open to listening, I wanted to use that platform to be so authentic and so real and to hold nothing back. That day, 22,000 people took that ride live. The ride was very uncomfortable — it was intended to be uncomfortable. I said things with the intention of making people feel uncomfortable because in order to get to change, we must be willing to face the discomfort, lean into it. People said, ‘You know, Tunde, I’ve seen you on Peloton’s platform for a year now. I’ve scrolled past your face thousands of times. I’ve never selected your class. I’m embarrassed to admit that. Why? Because we look different. And because we look different, I didn’t think that we’d have anything in common.’ I appreciate that they said that, and it wasn’t just DMs; they posted it and tagged me. And to me what was so beautiful is that it took a lot; they opened themselves up to a lot of criticism. But I think that type of bravery is required to move in the right direction.”

On choosing gratitude and spreading joy — no matter what hardships you’ve been through:

“I experienced so much tragedy before the age of 30: I lost my little brother, I lost my dad, and I lost my mom. These losses were three years apart, back to back. It was just a tremendous amount of loss. And with that, I still say I am so incredibly blessed. I message my boss daily — I’ll just randomly send a text like: ‘Oh my God, this is my life. I’m so lucky.’ I’ve received so much already in this life, and it would be a disservice for me to not push that joy out and to share that joy so that hopefully somebody else can catch on to it and feel joy in their life and push more joy out to the people in their daily world. 

On recognizing when you need to unplug and recharge:

“When your smartphone is on 10 percent, you panic. You’re at the restaurant, or wherever you are, you’re searching for outlets, searching for something to plug into. When you are running on 10 percent, why don’t you have that same sense of urgency to plug in, to recharge, to fuel up? You just allow yourself to burn and burn and run and run until it’s like you’re completely powered off. And so for me, working out is truly one of the ways I recharge and reconnect. And meditating — I like to sit in darkness with a candle and just be. Those are really moments that allow me to plug in.”

To hear more from Tunde, listen to her full podcast episode. “Thrive 5” is available on iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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