Riley O'Donnell

Growing up in an athletic family in the western suburbs of Chicago, Riley adopted an early love for anything that got her blood pumping and body moving. She began dancing at a young age, studying ballet and jazz throughout her childhood and high school years. Riley later went on to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she majored in Dance and minored in Movement Science.

After graduating, Riley knew she wanted to move to New York to pursue a professional dance career. Since she always loved working out and taking group fitness classes, she decided to look into becoming a fitness instructor as a means to support herself while auditioning for dance companies. What began as a “side gig” in fitness, almost instantly became a passion. Riley loves spending her days connecting with her clients, helping them reach their goals and watching them grow.

When Riley isn’t getting her FHIX, you can find her taking a ballet class at Steps On Broadway, or seeing live music around the city!



Professional Certifications:

NASM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), ACE Group Fitness Certification

21 Questions

1 First FHIX experience?

My first class was on a Sunday with Carlos and Simon. I remember loving their chemistry with the class and each other, and I remember being surprised (but loving it) whenever Carlos would call me out! I was immediately hooked!

2 Who is your FHITspiration?

My parents! They do 5:30 am workouts together everyday before work. #relationshipgoals

3 Personal theme song?

“I Love It” Icona Pop

4 Celebrity doppelganger?

I’ve been told Kendall Jenner mixed with Ariel Winter in her early “Modern Family” days.

5 Favorite guilty pleasure?

Seamless when I’m feeling lazy; margaritas when I’m feeling fun!

6 What is it about group fitness?

The energy, the music, the community, and the drive to keep up with the person next to you! I fell in love with group fitness for the same reason I fell in love with dance- when the lights go down and you get to work, there’s a certain magic that comes over the room.

7 Post workout snack?

Peanut Butter and Banana

8 What is your sign? Do you read your horoscope?

I’m a very proud Pisces! Yes, all the time, I love astrology.

9 What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A Ballerina. I was a total bunhead who lived in the studio.

10 Perfect Sunday afternoon activity?

Going for a walk along the Hudson River--maybe getting to pet a few dogs along the way.

11 Best advice you ever received?

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

12 Most challenging exercise movement and why?

Thrusters- especially at the end of a workout! They require explosive power from your entire body, and when you’re already exhausted, you need to be mentally locked in. I feel stronger in my mind and my body when I do them!

13 Food you can’t live without?


14 Your biggest accomplishment?

Seeing my choreography onstage during my senior year of college. That, and making a life that I love in New York.

15 Favorite sneaker brand?


16 Best vacation you have ever taken?

Tulum, Mexico or Manchester, Tennessee for Bonnaroo Music Festival.

17 17. Favorite athlete?

Serena Williams

18 What is your favorite movie?

My Big Fat Greek Wedding! My mom’s side is Greek, so this movie REALLY speaks to me.

19 Who you would love to meet and have dinner with?

OPRAH! We would make dinner together using vegetables we picked from her garden... (if you haven’t looked at her Instagram, do yourself a favor and check it out now.)

20 Favorite restaurant in the city?

Piccola Cucina Enoteca! This tiny hole in the wall Italian place where they serve pasta in giant pots and they blast everything from Journey to Frank Sinatra.

21 Best gift you have ever received?

All of my family and friends who lift me up, cheer me on, and push me to be better. Cheesy, but they are the gifts that keep on giving!