Wimberly is preparing for his trip to Denver to perform his signature workout in collaboration with an additional PrideFest performance on Saturday, June 17. On Saturday morning, he’ll be leading a full-body workout at the REBEL Workout before trading in his tennis shoes for something a little more risqué at the Mile High Party Weekend on Saturday night. As an openly gay trainer, Wimberly’s decade-long career has very much been about creating a name and a space for himself in the fitness industry.
“I always feel like an outsider in the fitness industry in a lot of ways,” Wimberly says, alluding to his appearance. Once dubbed the “Ken Doll of the Fitness World,” Wimberly appeared in his first instructional DVD in booty shorts, lip gloss and false eyelashes. “The industry is inherently heterosexual, filled with these big muscle guys that look a certain way. There’s not a lot of openly gay, flamboyant male trainers.”
Almost immediately into his professional career, though, Wimberly says he lost the passion for dance and began searching for something else. “One of my first directors told me it is essential as an artist to teach what we learn,” he says. “I decided right then and there to teach.”
While his dance trajectory was quick, that of his training career was even quicker. After what he calls an “emotional response” during his first-ever spinning class that he signed up for at the age of 22, Wimberly began taking classes three days a week until he became an instructor at a local 24 Hour Fitness. He was discovered soon after by SoulCycle in 2008, which flew him to New York City and offered him a job at one of the company's only seven studios at the time. It was Wimberly who opened the first Los Angeles-based SoulCycle studios, and he stayed with the company until the opening of first Wimberlean and then THE WALL.
The concept behind Wimberly’s THE WALL is literally overcoming obstacles, whether physical or mental. “Our dialogue is all about breakthrough, and for me, that’s being true to myself.”
In the early days of his fitness career, Wimberly struggled to find his place in a scene in which nobody seemed to resemble him. While lesbian trainers like Jillian Michaels found success in the industry, he hid his true identity behind baggy clothes, and even went as far as trying steroids to alter his appearance.
He adds, “My story was that it didn’t matter what I look like. I had to be strong and carry myself. You have to make your own path.”
Wimberly says he’s not an actor, he’s a trainer, and though he was already coming to Denver as part of his pre-scheduled Mile High Party Weekend performance, he says he loves to teach on the road. As far as his workout at the REBEL Workout, gym-goers can expect a traditional Wimberly experience.
“At THE WALL, we do what’s called the 1-2-3 Stack, which is based on ten minutes of core, twenty minutes of weights and thirty minutes on a spin bike,” Wimberly says. “The REBEL doesn’t have as many bikes as we need, so we’ll work on full-body moves in the cardio portion to get the same caloric burn. And we’ll do high kicks in between.”
Wimberly’s workout will take place Saturday, June 17, at 10 a.m., at the REBEL Workout, 324 South Broadway. The cost of working out with Wimberly is $25 per person, and each guest will receive a FABLETICS goody bag. An RSVP is required, and can be done here.