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Kaleigh Cohen Fitness

From creating an online class for her mum, to full-time content creation and a community that’s hundreds of thousands strong – Kaleigh Cohen shares her story with RIDE HIGH.
Published 20. March 2024

Why did you create Kaleigh Cohen Fitness?

In the 90s, mum and I went to fitness classes together, but ever since I qualified as an instructor – I’m Spinning-certified and also have Stages Beat, PT and weight loss certifications – I’ve lived elsewhere in the US and even overseas. It meant mum could never come to my classes.

Cohen is a qualified indoor cycling coach who began her influencer journey by creating a video for her mum

In 2019, my husband and I were living in Dubai with our five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter and I was missing teaching. I’d given mum my old indoor bike, so I decided to create a workout video for her. The first recording was dreadful, so my husband – who was getting back into videography – filmed it for me and we uploaded it to YouTube. 

“We have 275,000 cycling and 100,000+ strength subscribers, allowing this to be a full-time job for my husband and me”

Mum did the workout, but so did other people, so we decided to create more. We weren’t very consistent at first, uploading just one or two a month, but uptake began to grow organically from people searching YouTube for indoor cycling content. There was one video in particular, a cycling class for beginners, that did really well. Things took off from there. 

We then launched a separate Strength channel two years ago. Cycling is a great stress-reliever and a fun way to sweat it out, but strength is also crucial if you want to change your body.

All of Cohen’s workouts are free for everyone to use, with one or two uploaded each week

How has your community grown?

We’ve never really done any marketing, but we now have 275,000 indoor cycling subscribers and over 100,000 strength subscribers, many of whom are unique to strength. 

For over a year now, this has allowed Kaleigh Cohen Fitness to be a full-time job for my husband and me: I do the workouts and Jason does the production and editing.

Cohen launched a dedicated Strength channel on YouTube two years ago

All our workouts are free for everyone to use, so the majority of our income comes from YouTube AdSense, sponsors and regulars who choose to purchase our US$15/month Kaleigh Cohen Fitness membership. This gives them early access to all workouts posted on YouTube, a monthly Zoom ride, a private Discord session where we can discuss anything from goal-setting to nutrition, and free downloadable bundles of support material for all our Cycle and Strength programmes.

Tell us about your content.

I used to struggle with confidence and self-image and indoor cycling helped me in the most amazing ways, so it’s at the heart of what we do. I want to help others take that crucial first step, because you never know what will happen from there!

Cohen is now a full-time content creator and influencer

That’s why, although I encourage people to challenge themselves – getting stronger on a bike to be stronger in life – I never want anyone to feel a workout is too hard. My role is to uplift and motivate and make you feel glad you pressed ‘play’, and of the 110,000+ clicks we get each week, around half go on to do the whole class.

Most classes are pre-recorded and 20–30 minutes long; each takes around 20 hours to design, film and edit, so we upload one or two a week. We ride to the beat, although it isn’t rhythm cycling: I include sprints, climbs and jumps and every song has its own focus. 

“My role is to make you feel glad you pressed ‘play’. Of the 110,000+ clicks we get each week, around half go on to do the whole class.”

“What really inspires us are the stories of how we’re changing lives,” says Cohen

However, we do have a 45- to 60-minute live ride every Saturday, with around 500 participants each week. People join from across the world, including a lady in New Zealand who’s cycling in the middle of her night! There are lots of regulars, so people know each other and interact in the live chat; a US$1.99/month YouTube channel membership gives you a badge by your name and unlocks special emojis to use in our live chats. 

“We’re so grateful to have almost fallen into this and to have so many people coming along for the ride”

Our community really does make what we do so special, and it’s also the community that shapes what we do: we listen to what they tell us in the live chat and on our social platforms and gear our content around this.

What are your USPs?

I use non-mainstream music and really harness the lyrics to mean something in class.

I keep it real. If I mess up in class, I go with it. If you allow yourself to be vulnerable as an instructor – to just be yourself – you’re more approachable.

And I explain why we’re doing things, sharing the knowledge I’ve gathered over 15+ years to ensure there’s purpose in every workout.

Cohen “keeps it real” and aims to always be herself in class, so people find her approachable

What are you most proud of?

What really inspires us are the stories of how we’re changing lives. One lady who’s been with us from the beginning has lost 100lbs. One man broke his back, but he’s worked back up and can now cycle for 45 minutes. We’ve had people going through cancer treatment, telling us we’ve helped them overcome things they didn’t think they could.

We’re just so grateful to have almost fallen into this and to have so many people coming along for the ride.

Published 20. March 2024


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