Peloton's Jess King on Ruling the Fitness World and Planning for the Future with Her Fiancée
Jess King, who has competed on So You Think You Can Dance and performed in Cirque du Soleil, now leads people across the world on personal wellness journeys through Peloton fitness classes
It's hard to believe it, but there was a time in the not-so-distant past that Peloton instructor Jess King didn't work out for two years.
"I was just coming out of a breakup," she recounts to PEOPLE. "I was swirling and I hadn't taken care of myself."
It was then, the now 35-year-old, known for her energetic personality, intense workouts and vibrant costumes, says she took steps to "reclaim my power, reclaim my life."
First, she says, she returned to her movement practice, including dancing, yoga and strength-training. Then, she tackled her diet, incorporating whole and plant-based foods. The next step? Therapy, or — specifically for King, seeing a shamanic healer.
"There was a lot of unraveling and unpacking of my path and trying to understand these patterns that got me to where I was, and really learning to forgive myself and step into a new inner landscape of awareness, of curiosity, and shifting those perspectives to really move through life in a way that wasn't going to be detrimental to me any longer," King explains. "I was so tired of repeating the same pattern."
Now, she helps others get out of similar redundant patterns, through her wellness program MindFULL³. King's own personal experience fueled her to become a certified life coach, helping her clients put the pieces back together of their own lives in a holistic way.
And that's all when she's not on the Peloton bike, dancing in bright spandex and pushing users of the company's products to reach personal fitness records.
"[I'm] getting even more vulnerable with my audience [this year], letting them into essentially the pages of my diary," she tells PEOPLE of connecting with riders, even though its virtually.
King kind of fell into Peloton. She grew up dancing, which eventually led her to reality dance competition series So You Think You Can Dance in 2008. After that, King performed in a Cirque du Soleil production in Las Vegas before eventually ending up in New York, where she found herself working in the city's nightclub scene.
Through her job at club The Box, she connected with a Peloton producer "before there was a studio or the brand had even launched, it would just beta testing, technology and software."
"[I] met John Foley, who is our CEO and founder," King recounts. "And he explained to me his vision and I thought, 'This is really cool. This is definitely the next thing.' And what is important to me is the ability to have a positive impact on the world beyond just creating art and making an audience feel good from watching dancers in a show, but really, really changing lives."
She continues, "And so I was so excited to join the team and start training to become an instructor. Funny story, they even asked me to audition and I said, no. I said, 'Just hire me. I'll be great at this.' "
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Now, it's been seven years of, as King puts it, creating a "visual, immersive experience" with her workouts, like her signature class series, The Jess King Experience.
Outside of the studio, King has created a fulfilling life with fiancée Sophia Urista. King and the former The Voice contestant announced their engagement in 2020.
The couple — who are based in Brooklyn — are "very excited" about their engagement, King says, but admittedly don't yet have wedding plans. "We definitely don't want to modify our wedding experience [due to the pandemic]," she explains.
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King — who last week announced she's "taking some time off" from teaching — says that though they'll "hold off" on their nuptials, that "doesn't mean we're holding off on continuing to live our lives, and create together and have a family together."
Of her future wife, King tells PEOPLE, "There have been many, many moments where I have felt that complete knowing — that deep, deep, inner knowing that this is the person that I wanted to share with, and create with."
"There's something so challenging about being with her and also so comforting," she says. "We're constantly pushing buttons in service, one another's personal growth and the growth of our relationship. There's no stagnation, there's not one day that feels like the next to be honest. And that's something that's important to me."
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