Verve Studios, a local and woman-owned indoor cycle studio, recently celebrated one year of sweat, movement, motivation and community connections in the Beachside Del Mar center. Owner and founder Lena Rakijian has poured all her heart and energy into building a studio that aims to teach people that strength, confidence and joy in life can be created through moving together on a bike.
“I made it my life’s work to help people live better more wholehearted lives,” said Rakijian.
Verve Studios is tucked into the Vons side of Beachside Del Mar, between Boto Sushi and Sport Clips with a patio out front.
Inside the stylish and modern Verve, the studio has 38 custom-designed magnetic resistance bikes featuring SprintShift controls that allow for quick resistance changes for riders. Rakijian said that the result is a challenging workout and bikes that provide “the ultimate ride” for climbing, sprinting and dancing to the beat.
Rakijian has worked in the fitness industry for close to 10 years and being an entrepreneur and building her own brand was essential for her. A Carlsbad native, she moved to New York City to pursue a career as a dietitian after graduating from UC Santa Barbara. In the city she started working part-time as a cycling instructor at a boutique fitness studio, tapping into her skills as a lifelong athlete and her theatrical abilities as a performer (her background includes musical theater and show choir and her lifelong dream is to duet with Celine Dion).
“I fell in love with the workout and the community around it,” Rakijian said.
After she graduated from Columbia University with a master’s degree in nutrition and public health, she moved to Boston and worked as a dietitian and for a start-up cycling studio. She learned everything about the business, working as an instructor and then becoming the director of teaching, training new instructors and helping the start-up to expand and open new locations.
In 2017 she moved back to San Diego to be closer to family armed with the goal of starting her own cycling studio and bringing home that strong fitness community that she had experienced. Finding a space was one of the hardest parts to starting the business but she eventually found her niche in Del Mar, an area she has always loved.
Rakijian opened her doors in January 2019, thrilled to see 300 people fill the space on her opening weekend…and stick around.
“The brand, the community and the experiences that I envisioned have definitely come to life,” Rakijian said of the people who have bought into Verve’s vibe. She has been pleasantly surprised that clients are not just from Del Mar but come for classes from all over the county, from Point Loma to Oceanside.
At Verve, 45-minute classes follow Rakijian’s curriculum that emphasizes rhythm-based choreography, high-intensity intervals and upper body strength. Trainers bring big energy and center each class on a positive and uplifting message—this week the studio hosted a Self-Care Series where rides focused on themes such as self-acceptance, empowerment, confidence and consistency.
Rakijian still teaches seven to nine classes a week and loves being at the studio to connect with her clients to learn how she can support them and help transform lives for the better, “It’s not just 45 minutes,” she said of her belief that getting on the bike allows people to improve physical and mental strength, reduce stress and gain confidence. She believes in the power of bringing people together for fitness that is fun and inspiring.
“Verve is my life, my life is Verve and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Rakijian said. “It’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in the most beautiful way.”
Verve is located at 2630 Del Mar Heights Road. To book a class or sign up for a package, visit thevervestudios.com. Shoes can be rented for classes and lockers and showers are available.