Tunde, born to Nigerian parents in Houston, Texas, has always known the importance of confidence. Growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood, Tunde was one of the only dark-skinned students in her class. Even beyond that, she believed she was overweight, leading her to feel the fitness space wasn’t for her until her mid 20s.
From Makeup Artist to Peloton Instructor: Trusting the Process
Tunde began her fitness journey in her mid-20s while working as a makeup artist and trainer for a cosmetic brand. She soon realized her passion lay in fitness and cycling, but it wasn’t an easy transition, since for some time her makeup artist job led to travel and long workdays. Eventually, Tunde left her day job, and after notorious Peloton recruiter Cody Rigsby slid into her DMs, in September 2019 she was announced as Peloton’s newest instructor, alongside Kendall Toole.
Finding Herself: Authenticity and Vulnerability
Being a Black woman in a predominantly white space, Tunde initially felt the need to alter herself to relate to her audience. However, this changed with time and repetition (and some pep talks from Robin Arzon), and she learned the importance of authenticity and vulnerability. By offering up more rawness and vulnerability, such as letting out her infectious laugh mid-class, Tunde felt the connection grow with her audience. (Author’s note- when I first started Peloton, Tunde was the first instructor that made me come back to her– she felt like a friend and someone I wanted to spend more time with, and that made me get on the bike AND do the stretch afterward!)
Advocacy and Positive Self-Talk: The Strongest Muscles
Women’s Health photograph of Tunde Oyeneyin
Tunde uses her classes to discuss topics like race issues and LGBTQ+ inclusion. She believes that working out is an incredible space to deliver a message. Alongside her advocacy work, Tunde also practices positive self-talk in front of a mirror, knowing that the mind is the strongest muscle. She believes that mental health requires just as much exercise as your physical self does, a concept she discussed in her recent book Speak: Find Your Voice, Trust Your Gut, and Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.
“At the end of the day,” she told Women’s Health, “ if you’re working out and it’s improving your confidence, self-esteem, the way you feel about yourself in your body—who am I to judge or not support that?”