Shayna Sangster is an entrepreneur, marketing guru and an all-around badass black woman who owns and operates Just Ride Indy, an indoor cycling studio in the heart of downtown Indy. Shayna is passionate about positively impacting her community through fitness by providing a fun way for people to reach their fitness goals.
With her love for working out, being a gymnast at age 2, and her experience of running track in college, Shayna has always been very athletic. The vision to own her own studio developed after visiting several boutique studios and soon fell in love with the workout. Last year, her vision became a reality when she had the opportunity to purchase Just Ride Indy from its previous owner. Soon after taking over ownership, Shanya made several changes and now has a diverse and loyal clientele.
“Our community struggles with health and wellness in a lot of different areas and exercising has not always been a priority within our community,” Shayna states. Unlike many African Americans, Shayna grew up in an environment were her mom – a physician, instilled in her the importance of being physically active.
The need for diversity in the wellness space is vital, especially as we look at spaces owned by people of color. As we look at the health and wellness scene in Indianapolis, it’s largely run by white women and men. With only a small percentage owned by people of color – Shanya is helping to change the face of wellness in Indy.
In her studio, Shayna makes sure that the music and instructors reflect the studio’s clientele. The music ranges from Country, Pop, Hip-Hop, and R&B – ensuring there is something for everybody.
“It’s important to educate people that it doesn’t have to be painful to go to the gym or studio, it can be fun. A lot of the classes that we offer are almost like a club atmosphere, because of the playlist we put together,” said Shayna.
This year, Shayna plans to add additional workouts to the studio with a focus on the African American community. She believes in looking at ways to change things up and make it exciting, so that people can stick to a fitness routine, instead of stopping because they got bored or lost interest.
Not only does Shayna own and operate her own studio, but she also works full-time at the Indiana Pacers in the marketing department, and still finds time to instruct her own classes at the studio. The studio is open Monday-Saturday with classes starting as early as 6 a.m. at $17 a class–very affordable compared to other spin studios in Indianapolis. The studio is closed on Sundays due to her belief that Sunday is a day of rest and rejuvenation. Most importantly, Shayna and her staff are able to enjoy much-needed self-care. She believes that her vision and purpose is God-given, and desires to do what God has put her on this earth to do.
Shayna shares a moment when a young, African-American woman visited her studio to take a class. Shayna says, “She came in and I told her I was teaching the class. I ended up telling her that I was the owner of the space. She was like ‘Oh, you’re Black Girl Magic’.” The young woman was so proud and that made me proud.”
Shayna admits that she typically doesn’t think about herself as trying to break barriers. Her mission is to do what God placed on her heart and to fulfill her purpose. However, she greatly appreciates being recognized and seeing other women of color owning their own businesses and pushing the boundaries to create “new ceilings.” Her hope is to build something that she can be proud of and pass along to her children to inspire the next generation through fitness.
At Be Well Indy, we believe representation matters and it gives people the hope and courage to dream big and most importantly create change. Congrats to Shanya for being Be Well Indy’s 2019 Change Maker!
Rachel is a freelance writer who focuses on mindful living, aiming to help people live healthier, more intentional lives.