This Is What Self-Care Looks Like To Spiked Spin Founder Briana Owens

Briana Owens balances 18-hour workdays with cycling Spiked Spin-style.

Finding Balance

In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.

I don't know about y'all, but when I think of fitness, I definitely don't associate it with fun. For years, it has felt like the reason I won't hit the gym, I won't grab a trainor, and I'll continue to eat delicious food that is no good for my waistline is due, in part, to the fact that exercising feels like a chore.

That's why Briana Owens, the founder of Spiked Spin, a cycling class filled with hip-hop tracks from past and present playing through the classes, is possibly revolutionary. Not only is the atmosphere filled with music eclecticism, but all instructors double as DJs, alternating music based on the mood of the crowd. So yes, you could be getting your cycle on to Beyoncé, Lauryn Hill, Tupac, and countless others.

But when you're a Black woman promoting a healthy lifestyle among the community, how do you juggle others growth while tackling your own (which is ALSO your side hustle and not your 9-5)? In this installment of Finding Balance, we spoke with Briana to find out how she balances hyping up crowds while also hyping up herself.

So we know you're a busy lady! What is an average day like for you?

For me, an average day begins around 6:30 AM and ends around 12AM. I typically wake up early to go to the gym. I try my hardest to get the gym in the morning at least 4 times a week – not even for my body, but for my sanity. The gym is the one part of my day (besides when I am sleeping) that I can focus 100% on my own thoughts and goals.

After the gym, I go to my side hustle, which is in digital advertising. During the day, I work in digital strategy for tech brands. I also use my down time to do any quick housekeeping that needs to take place for Spiked Spin i.e. replying to emails, or handling customer requests. After work, I am fully committed to Spiked Spin, whether I am teaching a class, going to a meeting, updating a deck, having a conference call, etc. I make the evenings really work for me, as that's the time I get the most done for the business! It's cliché, but I really try to use every minute of the day to be productive.

What do you find to be the most hectic part of your week? How do you push through?

Everyday is hectic because right now my corporate job has to take priority. With that in mind, I have to juggle everything else that needs to be done around those hours, and meetings, and schedules that I ultimately have no control over. For me it's hectic, but it's not hard. I acknowledge that I do a lot, but I always feel like I could do more. I don't really get caught up in what I have to do, I focus on just getting it done. For me it's less overwhelming when I don't focus on what has to get done, but instead, I focus on how I'm going to do it – my Google calendar is EVERYTHING to me.

How do you practice self-care?

This may sound weird, or not the typical response, but I always operate in a posture of self-care. From my schedule, to the relationships I allow into my life, when I take a step back, I realize that it is all things that I want in my life. I don't necessarily think of self-care as doing something nice for myself, because I am always nice to myself. I try to think positive thoughts and fill my life with genuineness and love. Everything I do benefits me — my work, my business, my hectic calendar, it's all things that I've chosen and it's me taking care of myself...so I think of everything I do as "self-care." If I think of it in the terms that it's been popularized lately, I would say I love a great manicure, and I love my morning gym routines, and I LOVE talking on the phone to my mom.

"Everything I do benefits me — my work, my business, my hectic calendar, it's all things that I've chosen and it's me taking care of myself...so I think of everything I do as 'self-care.'"

How do you find balance with...


With friends, I am open with what I am willing to give, and what I have to give. I feel like friendship is a choice, so I like it to be easy and seamless. Most of my friendships, I've had for years so the relationships are solidified, and with new friends, I lay out who I am upfront. We all understand that we all lead busy lives, however, we ALWAYS make time for each other. The same way that I schedule a meeting for business, I schedule dates, lunches, etc. with my friends.


I've been in a relationship with my boyfriend for seven years, so people assume that we automatically have it all figured out, but we're actually always trying to find what works. His job requires a lot of hours, and so does mine, and it definitely weighs on me sometimes. To maintain balance, we try to talk as much as possible throughout the day, and we always like to reset in the evenings before bed or in the mornings before work! One thing we love to do is vacation! Our vacations are always a great time for us to disconnect and reconnect because the NYC hustle is nonstop! As our goals continue to change, we constantly have to reset and figure what works for us, but the best part is we always keep each other first and remember that we are partners!


One of my personal goals was to workout 4x per week outside of teaching classes because exercise is my personal time to clear my mind and focus on whatever it is that I need to get done. I go to the gym every morning to start my day.

Do you cook or find yourself eating out?

I unfortunately must admit that I eat out 95% of the time. I don't enjoy cooking, especially since it's only me and I don't have a lot of time. I typically find healthy options that I can grab quickly.

Do you ever detox?

I rarely detox but when I do, it's usually from being so connected. Sometimes I'll decide not to check social media, or even emails for a few days.

When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you
handle it?

This happens constantly but I don't allow myself to stay in those feelings. I have a few quotes and scriptures that I like to reference, but I mostly love to talk to God, my mom, and my boyfriend. My mom and Zach know me well, so they keep me level when I feel down, and out of those conversations, I am reminded of my purpose and why I keep going.

What does success mean to you?

Generational impact.

What is something you think others forget when it comes to finding balance?

I think people forget that balance is personal. Everyone's self-care or idea of balance is not the same nor should it be. It's important for people to accept their truths and live fully in the ways that provide them the most balance.

To learn more about Spiked Spin and sign up for a class, check out their website and their Instagram. Follow Bri as she lives her life #TheSpikedWay on her personal Instagram as well.

Featured image by Briana/Instagram.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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