Life in Los Angeles is giving fitness model and trainer Shannon Decker a greater appreciation for Santa Barbara’s natural and friendly environment. The 31-year-old actress can be seen as one of the stars of E!’s reality show, Hollywood Cycle, which airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. with the season finale set to air tonight, August 11. The show follows the competitive world of indoor cycling and captures the professional and personal lives of its instructors and trainees at Los Angeles cycling studio, Cycle House.
Decker is one of the hopeful trainees looking to land an instructor position at the studio. With only two episodes left, fans will have to tune in to see if she makes the final cut.
Growing up in Washington, Decker would spend childhood summers and holidays with family in Santa Barbara. After attending Santa Barbara High and California State University-Channel Islands, she eschewed years of competitive team sports, including basketball and volleyball, for more personal outdoor sports like surfing and snowboarding.
Among the many places to get a good workout in Santa Barbara, Decker considers the Santa Barbara City College track and Cold Spring Trail in Montecito among her favorites. “I never realized how lucky we were to have so many trails,” she said. “Being down in L.A., you go to hike Runyon and it’s just not the same. You appreciate the beauty and the nature and the calmness of Santa Barbara 100 times more.”
Decker’s initial plans involved going into nursing, even getting accepted into SBCC’s nursing program, all the while managing a successful modeling career on the side. But she soon quit nursing school when she decided to get her personal training certificate and pursue modeling. Decker would split her time between family and day jobs in Santa Barbara and a burgeoning modeling and acting career in Los Angeles before making the full move less than a year ago.
In between casting calls and auditions in L.A., she would go spin at Cycle House, which specializes in creating an immersive experience out of a session of cycling. “It’s amazing. It’s addicting. It’s such a good workout,” Decker explained. “It’s a really magical thing that happens within the room. It’s the ambiance. It’s the atmosphere. You have 60 bodies side by side in a dark space and the instructors are putting on a show, they’re engaged, they’re energized the whole time, and the music is such a huge part of it.”
It was at the West Hollywood cycling gym where Decker would meet friend and costar Nick Hounslow, and soon after be asked to join the reality show. While not without her reservations, Decker ultimately decided it would be a good stepping-stone as she develops her career as a fitness personality. “I was a little hesitant at first,” she said. “But I mean, it’s based on fitness and that’s what I wanted to do. So hopefully it’ll be a platform for bigger things for me.”
She attributes her successful transition to her maintaining a positive “Santa Barbara attitude,” as she calls it, whenever small-town friendliness is sometimes at odds with the superficial ways of Hollywood. “I’ve found that if you keep your Santa Barbara attitude in L.A., it’s like a super power,” said. “People aren’t used to that small town mentality, where you smile at people, and you say ‘hi’ and you’re friendly, and you are exactly who you say you are, and you keep it real. And in L.A., but Hollywood in general, that’s a rare thing.”