The beloved out and proud instructor is set on bringing the fun to your fitness journey…
By Christopher Turner
A former television reporter, born entertainer and Broadway lover, Matty Maggiacomo is one of Peloton’s most popular and infectious strength and tread instructors. He is, of course, incredibly handsome, but his appeal goes beyond his good looks. Maggiacomo teaches a range of classes on the treadmill from power walks to intense runs, outdoor hikes and runs, as well as strength classes, full body mobility stretches and resistance band workouts. The workouts are accessible, for all fitness levels, and always lighthearted and entertaining. You may even find him occasionally teaching class as his drag queen persona, Mara.
IN Magazine caught up with Maggiacomo recently and chatted with him about everything from how he started at Peloton, to how he picks the music for his classes, to living his life authentically, to activism and role models. Oh… and, of course, his favourite Drag Race queens.
Let’s talk Peloton! How did you start with the company?
Ever since I was a kid, I knew I would be on ‘television’ in some way and so I sought out broadcast journalism in college. But I certainly wasn’t an athletic youth, so finding myself in fitness was definitely a surprise to me. I fell in love with boutique fitness around 2011, and promptly started training and then instructing shortly thereafter. I was basically doing it as a side hustle while I was learning how to field reports in broadcast news. To be honest, the grind really got to me and I swapped out my handheld microphone and suit and tie for a headset microphone and short shorts! A few years after I committed to teaching fitness full-time, I learned that Peloton was bringing the Tread to market and was looking for instructors. I auditioned for Robin Arzon…had a series of 10 (maybe 11!) interviews, and the rest is history!
How would you describe a Matty Maggiacomo class – either on the treadmill or a strength workout? You know…for someone who has never taken a class with you.
Fun, accessible and effective. I’ve never wanted to be the most hard-ass instructor. My classes are for a person who needs to be distracted and entertained in order to get their minds off the hard work they are doing. I like to say that there is a place for everyone at my (fitness) table. I’m Italian, so everything is about food and family! I also love to infuse my left-of-centre humour and some commentary on pop culture. Not to mention, my music heavily features BDE. That stands for big DIVA energy!
How do you pick the music you play in your classes?
I only play what I would listen to myself. It leans heavily into pop, but I always like to drop fun remixes and covers. I love to play music that you’re familiar with – but present it to you in a way you may never have heard before.
I’ve been a Peloton member for a few years now and regularly take your strength classes. There is one thing that I’m really loving on the platform right now and it comes courtesy of you. Your evening stretches are much-needed. Can I personally request a whole lot more of those?
Of course! I literally just planned one just before this interview. Are you snoring yet?
And, Mara! Where did your drag queen persona come from?
Mara is a legend. It’s her world; we’re just living in it. That woman loves Peloton more than anyone I’ve ever met – though she’s very prone to exaggeration. I wouldn’t go so far as to call her a liar – she just has her own skewed reality. She’s also a feast for the eyes.… I just wish I was present for when she has guest taught for me!
Honestly, Mara is an amalgamation of fun character traits from my mom, my aunts and some of my close friends. That said, she’s inherently part of me. I fully embrace the feminine side of my being – and when I put on that wig, Mara comes through in full force. I love to say ‘larger than life is just the right size’ – fave quote from cult classic To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar – and Mara is representative of that!
Speaking of drag queens…who are your favourite drag artists?
Jinkx Monsoon. Trixie Mattel. Bianca Del Rio. Alyssa Edwards. I’m newly in love with Sasha Colby and Anetra from Season 15 of Drag Race.
We are seeing so much political hate and legislation happening throughout the US right now.… How do you think the community can best combat the landslide of hate?
We really are and, honestly, I’m not surprised, because these issues have raised their ugly head for decades. I view this anti-drag, anti-trans and ‘don’t say gay’ legislation as a distraction from the major issues that we’re grappling with as a nation. I honestly believe the loudest voices on these issues are the most extreme. In my heart I believe the majority of Americans don’t feel the same way as a lot of these politicians who are pushing this limiting, hateful legislation. In my role, I try to shine a light on where this legislation stands and I try to show the [Peloton] members who follow me how to be the best allies they can possibly be.
At the end of the day, I want to be a positive and uniting force. The queer community stands for LOVE…that’s the best way to combat hate. Also, VOTE…and go one step further by making sure family and friends are fully aware if they are voting for politicians or policies that will hurt queer people.
How are you celebrating Pride this summer?
It’s my favourite time of the year. Gay Christmas! We will have a full slate of Pride classes for one! And hopefully Mara will be back from Boca in time. Wink wink!
What does your personal workout routine look like?
I try to incorporate movement in some way at least six days a week. On top of my class schedule of walking, running, strength and stretching classes, I currently lift heavy four times per week. On the days I’m not lifting, I try to get a few extra miles in on my own. I use the Peloton App almost daily to do a 10-minute core or yoga class as well.
Any tips for adding more strength training to complement our lives?
If you can incorporate strength, cardio and flexibility, then you’re hitting all of the bases for a well-rounded fit lifestyle. Strength training is so important. You also have to do what you love! Don’t force yourself into a fitness routine that you don’t love. Maybe it’s weightlifting, maybe it’s swimming, CrossFit or fencing – do what you love!
What is your advice to people who are looking to you as a role model?
Oh wow! Don’t take life TOO seriously. Even when I think of my lowest moments, I’ve had the confidence that there are better days ahead. People ask me how I could possibly be so ‘happy’ all the time…and believe me, there are days when I am the full GREMLIN. But being an OPTIMISTIC person means that even on the cloudiest days, you know that the sun is just beyond the clouds – and they ALWAYS clear eventually. Also, embrace your ‘weird’.… Misfits rule the world.
Who do you consider a role model?
It may sound unoriginal, but: my family. My mother specifically, because she has always fought for her family and what she believes in. My father because he taught me how to play fair. My sister Alissa, who is the oldest, because she taught me how to take risks. My younger sister, Rebecca, because she taught me patience – and is also the most incredible mom. I can’t wait to have children and follow her lead in raising them. My partner, Evan, because he just brings more light and love into my life than I’ve ever had.
Fave TV show, movie and song?
Fun fact: I’ve seen every single episode of all 48 seasons of Saturday Night Live. I’m a huge SNL nerd.
Fave movie: Jurassic Park or La Dolce Vita.
Song: “Believe” by Cher.
What do you want people to know about you that they might not already know?
I eat in bed more than I’d like to admit.
What’s next for Matty?
Evan and I are exploring parenthood in the next few years. So building a family is definitely next. I’m also co-writing a novel with my mother, so that has been taking up a good portion of my time this year. I’m open to whatever the universe wants to throw my way!
Last question. If someone could only take one Matty Maggiacomo class…which one should it be?
I think I’d throw it back to my first appearance as Mara! My Halloween class from 2020 [“Matty’s 30 min Halloween Run” from October 28, 2020 @ 7 pm]. It was a wild time for everyone – and I think Mara embodied a lot of that. It was her birth!
CHRISTOPHER TURNER acted as guest editor for this issue of IN Magazine. He is a Toronto-based writer, editor and lifelong fashionisto with a passion for pop culture and sneakers. Follow him on social media at @Turnstylin.