'She Pivots' With Robin Arzón: On Building Resilience Through Running

The Peloton instructor and best-selling author opens up about the difficult experience that put her on a new career path.

Peloton instructor Robin Arzón
(Image credit: Future)

In partnership with Marie Claire, 'She Pivots' challenges the typical definitions of success and explores the role our personal stories play in our professional journeys.

You know her as an upbeat, exercise icon. But it was a traumatic encounter that led Robin Arzón to fitness. Arzón began running in law school after she was held hostage at a wine bar in New York City. “100 percent [running] was moving therapy; there's no question about it,” Arzón shares on the latest She Pivots. “And there was something really magical that was happening during the runs. It was abysmal. But after the runs…I feel like a hero when I'm done. And I thought, I want to live a life that is filled with that. And movement became a real tool for that experience.”

Initially, Arzón continued with her career plans and worked as a corporate litigator. Even though she found purpose in being able to advocate for her clients, her heart was elsewhere. And so she made the decision to leave the law firm to pursue a career in fitness. Her first gig was as a blogger covering the Olympic Games in London. “I slept on my friend's couch for the entirety of the games for three weeks…had a cracked iPhone,” she says. “I reached out to athletes, like professional athletes who are now collaborators and friends of mine. But I was so bold. I didn't know what I didn't know. So I was just like, ‘Hey, what's up? I love running, you want to talk about it?’ And I'm not kidding, that is what I did all through London.”

That turned into a job at Nike which turned into a gig at Peloton. A dream job that Arzón had on her vision board. But not long after she started, she got a major health scare. “I [was] feeling super lethargic and fatigued,” says Arzón. “I took a blood test and I found out that I am a Type I diabetic…I'm on the precipice of this amazing job that is physical, it's in front of cameras, I've never done this before, and I also had an ultra marathon a few weeks after my diagnosis. I was like, I'm just gonna have to figure this out.”

That level of resilience allowed Arzón to successfully pivot—becoming the Peloton instructor pushing everyone to become their best selves. Not that Arzón is done yet. “We have such a capacity to iterate and I think that that's so freeing,” says Arzón. “When we give ourselves permission to self-define a finish line, I find that really liberating because it means that you can always course correct. And the pivot for me is that beautiful conversation that we're able to have with ourselves to ask like, ‘Is this as good as it gets? What if it could be better? And why not me?’”

Tune in below to hear more about the mantras Arzón shares in her Peloton classes, her experience postpartum, and her new children’s book, Strong Baby.

Emily Tisch Sussman
Contributing Editor

Emily Tisch Sussman is the Founder and Host of “She Pivots,” the podcast in partnership with Marie Claire about women, their stories, and how their pivot became their success. She is a contributing editor to Maire Claire and the guest host of the Marie Claire Instagram Live series “Getting Down to Business.”