SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- From the moment you step inside Pure Indoor Cycling in downtown San Diego, you immediately feel the positive and welcoming energy. And it's all thanks to the mantra owner Maria Disla created when she opened in 2016.
"One of the greatest reviews I've ever received is they've never taken a spin class and didn't feel fit, but came and felt really great and achieved, and welcome. We're really community-based and a place for everyone," the 33-year-old Disla said.
But as smooth as business looks on the outside, Disla admits there were bumps along the way. Perhaps the biggest was breaking into an industry where she found few Hispanic trainers had succeeded.
"There were a lot of resources out there, but everyone I met didn't look like me or didn't experience things in the same way. So, I think that was the hardest part, and I think it's still hard for women and women of color to find people going through things in the way they're going through it,” she told ABC 10News.
Another obstacle was Disla's lack of experience in personal training or fitness. Before running the studio, Disla worked in the tech industry and was simply a spin addict on the side.
"I hadn't found a place that felt like what I wanted in a studio, just that sense of community, people who looked like me. I didn't feel like I found a place that was for me,” she said.
Ultimately, what drew Disla’s vision was inspiring words a college professor once told her.
"He said, 'If you don't see the roles out there for yourself, create them,’” said Disla.
She also credits her drive and ambition to her Dominican Republic heritage.
"I feel I was always brought up to take risks and not to sell yourself short,” she said.
Disla been running the studio off Columbia Street solo for five years. After keeping it afloat through a global pandemic, she's proving anything is possible with a bit of help from the community, hard work, and remembering where you came from.
"I try to live authentically as to what I preach and do what I love, and I love I get the opportunity to do that, so I try not to waste any second in that opportunity,” said Disla.