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New fitness studio brings rhythm cycling, boxing classes to Downtown Fort Walton Beach

A new boutique fitness studio is set to hold its grand opening Saturday in downtown Fort Walton Beach, touting itself as the “premier fitness studio in Northwest Florida.” Rise N […]

A new boutique fitness studio is set to hold its grand opening Saturday in downtown Fort Walton Beach, touting itself as the “premier fitness studio in Northwest Florida.”

  • Rise N Ride, located next door to Suds N Cinema at 180 Miracle Strip Pkwy, Suite 1, will unveil signature boxing and rhythm indoor cycling classes to the local community this weekend. The studio will also host a celebratory party Saturday evening following the fitness classes.

Rise N Ride owner Sasha Lopez said her studio aims to be a one-stop shop for boutique fitness, offering boxing, cycling, strength training, mobility and Pilates-style classes all under one roof.

“If you want yoga, you have to go to the yoga studio. If you want something that includes strength training, you have to get a separate membership there,” Lopez said. “The fact that we’re centrally located in the downtown area and we offer so many styles of fitness, we want to make it super easy for people to continue to stay dedicated to their health and fitness journey.”

Lopez, a Los Angeles native and formerly of the U.S. Air Force, has over a decade of experience owning a women’s strength training gym in California. She also works as a startup boutique fitness studio consultant, helping launch small specialty fitness businesses around the country.

The owner said she first came to the Florida panhandle area after consulting for a studio in Georgia. A new opportunity came about and she ended up living in Crestview. Realizing the closest place for indoor cycling was in Pensacola, Lopez saw this as an opportunity.

  • “I was living in Crestview at the time so there was no way I was driving two hours plus every day to go cycle,” Lopez said.

After doing research and discovering no standalone cycling studios existed locally, Lopez opened a small 12-bike studio in 2021 in Valparaiso to test the waters.

The Valparaiso location was a success, selling out classes most days. But Lopez “always wanted to be in the Fort Walton Beach area,” she said.

After two years in Val-p, Lopez said she had a new opportunity to open a bigger studio back in Georgia. But within a week of deciding to close down and move the studio, Lopez got a call about the open downtown Fort Walton location.

“It was a dream, honestly,” Lopez said of the new 1,600 square foot space on Miracle Strip Parkway. “Coming from a big city, you see the potential of downtown areas.”

Rise N Ride’s grand opening Saturday will debut boxing and rhythm riding classes. The studio touts its “community and inclusivity” offered for gym newcomers to more advanced athletes.

  • “Regardless of whether you are an avid gym goer or it’s your first time stepping foot into a fitness studio, our classes are tailored to everyone,” Lopez explained.

The owner particularly encourages newcomers to try rhythm riding classes set to choreographed music. Riders match their cycling cadence, resistance and speed to the songs’ changing beats over a 45-minute workout. Lopez said this creates an atmosphere akin to a party.

“It’s not your traditional ‘let’s-just-focus-on-sweating’ workout, but we have lights and then it gets dark and the lights are changing colors and the music’s really loud,” she described.

The studio offers 16 stationary bikes now with hopes to expand to 30 in the future. Lopez said all bikes accommodate athletic shoes or spin shoes with dual pedal clips. Instructors give first-timers a full tutorial before classes begin.

Operations at Rise N Ride officially start Monday with morning and evening class schedules. Weekend hours are also offered. People can learn more about class booking and memberships by downloading the Rise N Ride app through Google Play Store and Apple. The studio also maintains an active Instagram page.

  • Intro offers include three classes for $40. Lopez said the studio provides customizable options for all budgets and commitment levels, from drop-in visits to unlimited memberships.

Besides boxing and cycling, Rise N Ride will hold mobility-focused “recovery” stretches, flexibility training and a “body and bands” class fusing Pilates and bootcamp.

The 1,600 square foot space has a dedicated cycling room upfront and a separate boxing studio in back that currently holds 10 aqua bags. Lopez hopes to expand boxing offerings to 15 bags as interest grows.

As the newest fitness studio in downtown Fort Walton Beach, Lopez believes Rise N Ride will fill a need for specialty boutique workout options in the local area.

Saturday’s 8 a.m. boxing class will provide the first sampling of what the freshly opened studio has to offer. A celebration follows at 6 p.m.

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