Spinning a love story at Warner Bros.
Boot camps before meetings? Yoga classes at lunch? Workouts near or at work are convenient and efficient. But if you happen to be employed at Warner Bros. in Burbank, there’s more to it than accessibility.
On Fridays when the sitcom “Mike & Molly” isn’t shooting, actor Reno Wilson teaches a 45-minute spinning class to anyone on the lot who shows up; many of his students are staff and crew from his show.
Wilson leads spinning classes for love. Yes, he has a love of spinning, but it’s more about his love for the student who was front and center at one recent class: his wife, Coco Fausone-Wilson, a yoga and spinning instructor at YAS Fitness Centers.
Coco introduced Wilson to spinning, and when she began training to be a teacher, he went to classes with her. He took to wearing YAS shirts on set, prompting questions about when he would start teaching too. So he took on the challenge.
On a recent day, Wilson, dressed in a black sleeveless workout shirt and shorts, roamed the studio gym — converted from offices at the request of Burt Reynolds — to say hello and help his 20 or so students adjust the bikes. Students have included actors Katy Mixon and Louis Mustillo, both on “Mike & Molly.”
“The show that spins together stays together, wins Emmys together,” Wilson announced at the end of the class.
Wilson plays Carlton “Carl” McMillan, a police officer on the CBS sitcom and a friend and partner of one of the main characters, actor Billy Gardell’s Mike. Mike and Molly, played by Melissa McCarthy, met, two seasons ago, in an Overeaters Anonymous meeting and finally married at the end of last season. Carl encourages his friend in weight loss and romance.
“The show is about everybody dealing with their health,” Fausone-Wilson said. Gardell “has a trainer now, and he’s working on it,” Wilson added.
The class has the jokey name “Lean-o With Reno,” the creation of a producer who “conveniently” never shows up to actually take the class.
During the spinning session, Wilson asked the class to “be grateful that we can move our bodies,” as he started to ramp up the pedal speed and resistance.
“Keep your heart open to the room,” he instructed. Later, he explained: “That’s a Coco quote to remind you to keep your back straight. But it’s also to let your spirit flow through. To not just crunch it down. Shine your light on the world.”
After class he and Coco stopped at a tiny cafe, Paradise Juice, where he ordered at peanut butter date smoothie with soy milk. It’s a spot he has patronized since he arrived in L.A. in January 1993.
Wilson grew up in Brooklyn and became hooked on acting at age 9. His dad, a blues musician, died when he was 4, and his opera singer mom raised him and his three older sisters on her own. He and Fausone-Wilson made a commitment to health and fitness early in their relationship.
“We planned to get super fit and super clean and then procreate,” Wilson joked.
Apparently It worked.
They have a 10-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter.
Wilson, 42, and his wife run 28 miles a week, at a 7-minute, 40-second pace, in addition to the workout classes they take and teach. He tries to take all of his wife’s classes, and he plays basketball, though not without ill effect, including a first-season fractured ankle and a recent cut under his eye that resulted in a middle-of-the-night trip to a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.