We’re thrilled to introduce the newest member of our Underground all-star team, Tessa. She will be teaching Revolutions on Monday and Wednesday mornings at 6:15am, so get ready, all of you early-birds! You may know her from class, but we sat down with Tessa to get to know her a bit better. After all, you probably want to know who you’ll be hanging out with when you get yourself out of bed for a killer pre-dawn workout!
Tell us a bit about yourself! What brought you to Palo Alto?
I’m from Claremont, California, where I grew up doing nothing but singing. While everyone else was playing soccer and taking dance classes, I was singing opera in foreign languages. I started doing musical theater in high school, which is where I began tapping into the diva that comes out in the Underground. At 16, I moved to Andover, Massachusetts to go to boarding school, where I traded my microphone for rowing oars. At Andover, I rowed for two years, which was the first time I was ever able to call myself an athlete. I came back to the west coast (read: best coast) for college, where I studied Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford. When I wasn’t in class, I was singing in Everyday People, Stanford’s only hip-hop, motown, and r&b a cappella group. Fun fact: Shane, fellow Rev rockstar and EP alum, auditioned me as a baby freshman and (thankfully) ushered me in as a new member 🙂
What a fun connection to the uforia community! You mentioned rowing in high school – how would you describe your history of fitness?
Outside of my two years rowing, exercise was never ever a part of my daily life. After almost 20 years of foregoing regular exercise, I started to feel down about my health and fitness in college. Then came the perfect storm of events. Three months of studying (pasta) in Florence, Italy, followed by a 10-week internship at Google (free food!!!) meant that by senior year I was in the worst shape of my life and felt super down about entering the working world feeling how I did. So, I took to the bike. I started spinning in a class with the Stanford Men’s Crew coach and running around Lake Lagunitas. Over that year, I lost about 40 pounds and more importantly, I felt strong and healthy for the first time in my life.
Wow, that’s incredible. Once you fell in love with biking and leading an active, healthy lifestyle, what led you to uforia and to teaching?
When I began working at Google, I tried my hand at instructing by leading ad hoc spin classes through the Googler-to-Googler (g2g) program. I had a blast, but after cutting down my commute by moving from SF to Palo Alto, I finally had more time to dedicate to exercise and was craving a real fitness community. My first uforia class was with Alissia and from the moment I walked in the room, I felt an energy unlike anything I’d ever experienced. At first I doubted my love for uforia because I didn’t think a hard workout could be so much fun (masochism much?), but after falling in love with more classes, making new friends, and feeling stronger, I was convinced that uforia was a fitness mecca.
We’re so happy to have you here! Now that you’ll be teaching, what is your style? What can we expect to see from you in the Underground?
I’m a music junky, so I promise the music will be kickin’ in my rides. Expect super heavy basslines, lots of diva (Beyonce, Mariah, Rihanna, Christina, etc), throwbacks galore, some gritty hip-hop, and a few Coachella and Ultra favorites. I get seriously giddy about songs with infectious beats and anthemic, soulful choruses, and I definitely bring that excitement to the Underground. (FYI my life’s dream will be fulfilled when I can teach an all-Beyonce class.) As for the workout, I love to bring out our inner athletes and rely on each other for the inspiration and energy we need to ride it out. Rev is a huge release and haven for me, and I hope to make it the same for those who ride with me. Just us and the bikes… and maybe some JT.
Personally, I can’t wait for that all-Beyonce class. What do you do when you aren’t sweating it out with us at uforia?
I spend my days working in the People Operations department at Google. When I’m not at work or uforia, you can find me serving as the sous chef and taste tester for my wonderful chef of a boyfriend, Andrew. Our favorite recipes these days are a lemony orzo chicken soup and a dreamy lemon-lavender sorbet. We’re also Jeopardy, SNL, and HBO fanatics, so I’d be lying if I said we didn’t get excited about our weekly TV lineups. Up until a few months ago, I spent most of my free-time writing, editing, and photographing for my blog, Golden State Girl. While I’ve fallen off of my blogging due to an influx of work and Rev training, it’s one of my goals to ramp up my writing again this spring.
When Andrew isn’t whipping up a culinary masterpiece for you, what are your favorite Palo Alto spots for a post-class treat?
I’m a huge fan of the SF Chronicle at Fraiche and salads from my good friends at Pluto’s. And, to be honest, I usually feel like I’ve worked so hard in evening Rev classes that my post-class treat of choice is a good IPA or stout beer when I get home 🙂