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What you failed to learn from Ferris Bueller

Thursday, June 12, 2014
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You killed the bike!

"Nearly all the crazy things that we see people doing on indoor cycling bikes are a product of two things: Lack of class planning on behalf of the instructor and the insatiable desire to please people with something new and exciting every 15 seconds, regardless of the risk or lack of benefit." - CamQuote 

Pedaling backwards falls into this category, and to be totally transparent I would love nothing more than to never need to address these types of issues.  I'm bored out of my gourd discussing what NOT to do in indoor cycling, and with exercise in general. But alas, it's tough to move onto the good stuff until we can cover ze basics. So, I'll have yet another go at this topic but from a different angle.

In the iconic 80's flick, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," the happy-go-lucky Ferris manages to convince his best friend Cameron (no relation) to let him borrow his father's rare 1960 250-GT Ferrari for what turns out to be a wild ride around the town.

After realizing that noticeable mileage accumulated during their adventure-filled day of playing hooky they “ingeniously" decide to put the hot rod up on blocks and run the engine in reverse.  Apparently neither Ferris nor Cameron understand how an odometer works, and with the resulting consequences.

You killed the car. (Love that scene!).

I see a curious parallel here: Despite how brilliant the idea may first appear, running a car in reverse does not magically take the miles off of the odometer. That's just not how an odometer works! Likewise, pedaling backwards on an indoor cycling bike (or an outdoor one for that matter) does not 'undo' or balance out the work of the primary muscles used in cycling. Despite this fact, many people continue to believe the myth that pedaling backwards 'creates muscle balance' and 'promotes recovery.'

But the thing is, I've come to realize that it doesn't matter how much evidence I share to support this claim, because unfortunately science isn't sexy enough for most people (not you of course, you're smart). Sure, I could spout off info regarding the mechanical inefficiencies of force production during the steepest angle of knee flexion, or the risks associated with the corresponding compressive and sheering forces in regards to the patellofemoral junction, but I won't because that would be bo-ring. Besides, if you 'feel the burn' or somehow sense that it's 'working' then it must be good for you, right? :(

Nope. Instead of attempting to appeal to your sense of physical self-preservation, let's talk about preservation of your job as an indoor cycling instructor.  Do you really want Ferris telling you, "You killed the bike!"?  Or how about your general manager saying, "This is going to cost me how much to replace these bikes?"  That's right, not only does it have no physical or physiological benefits, but just like running a Ferrari in reverse, pedaling backwards on any indoor cycling bike is no bueno for the bike itself. 

When pedaling backwards there is the potential for the threads on the pedal spindle to back the pedal out, effectively loosening the pedals and causing them to detach from the crank arms (the steel arm that attaches the pedals to the bike via the bottom-bracket). Bicycle pedals are reverse threaded (or left-hand threaded) on the rider's left side so that mechanical precession effectively tightens the pedals over time (the right pedal is “righty-tighty” as always).  I’m no physics major, so I won’t even try to explain the mechanical forces at work, but here’s a nifty gif of how this works.

Green arrow = you apply force on the pedal in a FORWARDS direction
Red circle = crank arm, hole where pedal spindle makes contact
Blue circle = pedal spindle (axle).

Cool huh? Now, all that to say, If the pedals were initially locked using a 15mm pedal wrench, the pedal spindle washer is in place and a waterproof grease has been applied, the likelihood of the pedals backing out is slim.  HOWEVER, pedals don’t last long in the indoor cycling setting and as such need frequent replacing.  Unfortunately, if the pedal washer gets lost or a hurried technician decides to finger-tighten only, then the pedals WILL eventually come loose especially with people pedaling backwards.  Worse still, if they don't fall out, but say the next rider pedals forward like a good little cyclist and thus re-tightens them while the threads are (unbeknownst to them) misaligned, this can strip the threads all together. If this happens on the left side the left crank and pedal can be replaced; about $300 if you’re riding with a left crank arm mounted power sensor. If this happens on the right side of ANY bike the entire drive train needs to be replaced, which requires a knowledgeable technician, time and even more money. In some cases, it's more cost effective to replace the bike. Yikes!

So if you should see Psycho Sally pedaling backwards again in the middle of class, kindly pull her aside afterwards and tell her that for her own safety and that of the individuals that ride the same bike after her, to please refrain from pedaling backwards, lest she wants to be responsible for this:

...or pay for parts on one of these: 

Of course, say it with a smile and be nice.  You don’t want to lose your job over being a turkey-jerky know-it-all.

-Cameron Chinatti

Love Thy Tourists Part 2: Is she gonna pick on me?

Thursday, January 23, 2014
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New participants to indoor cycling (or group exercise for that matter) typically fall into one of two categories: the 'show up early' types or the 'sneak in the side door' crowd.  At Stages® Indoor Cycling we have two mantras when it comes to starting class: 

1) Get class started on time! 

That may seem like a no-brainer but as our experienced instructors know all too well, this is easier said than done, especially during 'Tourist Season' (see post on 1/2/14). 

2) Get riders in the "safe zone."  
The safe zone we are referring to has everything to do with appropriate bike set-up given the fact that just prior to class we are severely restricted with time.  

So what's an instructor to do?  Your front row regulars keep glancing at the clock, chomping at the bit to get started, yet you can see out of the corner of your eye that new folks are still filtering in to the back of the room.  Quite the conundrum…

For our purposes, we're not going to focus on the veterans-- they'll succeed with or without your guidance. We're not really going to focus on the 'show up early' new folks either because once you've provided them with a quick tutorial on bike fit they're going to flourish.  These individuals, just by the nature of their personalities, are likely to feel successful once you've provided them with ample information and resources, and since they arrived early you can dedicate that time to specifically to them. 

Instead, let's focus on the later group -- our wallflowers trying to sneak in undetected.  Now what I am about to say on the subject might surprise you, so hold onto your hats… 

I want you to ignore the wallflowers.

Yes, you heard that correctly.  The tourists-- the one's sneaking in the side door once the lights are low-- leave them be.  ...At least let them believe that's what you're doing. 

Indeed, this totally flies in the face of everything you have ever learned as a fitness professional: Identify and introduce yourself to all the new participants, be sure to tell them to go at their own pace, remind them that everyone feels sore after their first indoor cycling class… blah, blah, blah.  We must ask ourselves if this 'attack the new people' tactic is really working.  Let's look at this from a psychological angle.  

Why are the new folks showing up AFTER class has already begun in the first place?  Is it because they can't or didn't read the studio schedule? Unlikely. Is it because they're trying to disrespect you and your masterful class plan?  Also unlikely. MAYBE, just maybe it's because they don't want YOU to approach them at all!  No one likes to be called out as the new kid in class, let alone adults with egos and pride and incredible skills and gifts in other areas of their lives.  It just so happens that in the group exercise realm they are novices. This beginner feeling makes just about everyone uncomfortable.  

Is she gonna pick on me?

At this juncture, empathy and emotional intelligence are critical to your success as an instructor.  Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you are that new guy or girl courageous enough to sneak into the back of your very first indoor cycling class.  

"Phew! I don't think she saw me.  Those weeks of watching and listening to class from the elliptical trainer have paid off. I'm really nervous.  I'm going to be extra observant and learn whatever I can to survive this first one. It's 6:04 so I think I'm in the clear. ...Wait! Oh no!  She's seen me and she's headed straight for me.  "Uh,… am I new?" She clearly knows I'm new because I'm out of shape and wearing an oversized t-shirt.  I look new, don't I. Does she have to talk to me while wearing that microphone?  It's like I'm being interviewed on national television in my worst outfit, by the most fit person I've ever seen. Should I lie? Should I tell her I've done lots of indoor cycling classes so she'll leave me alone?  This is so humiliating…"

Perhaps that scenario plays out as a bit dramatic, but this happens all the time.  We as professionals can unintentionally sabotage our new participant' best intentions by falsely assuming that they ALL want our time, attention and assistance.  Instead, we need to put our efforts towards getting them to come back a *second* time.  Once that happens, then we stand a chance of helping these individuals make crucial steps towards an exercise and activity rich lifestyle. 

So the big question, how do we get them to attend more than once, get class started on time, make everyone safe and still have a rockin' class? Here are my top 5 picks:

1. Think like a flight attendant: Communicate to the entire group
Fly attendants know full well that the business class cabin and frequent flyers aren't really paying a lot of attention to their FAA mandated safety demo. Nonetheless, the expectation has been set that for every flight the safety demo and script will be shown pre-flight no matter what. Frequent flyers aren't annoyed by this fact because they know it's a requirement in order to fly.  More than likely, they themselves have much of the script memorized.  

On the flip-side, first time fliers are often apprehensive and are listening to every word  with baited breath. They even pull the safety features card out of the seat back pocket and read it cover to cover.  Clearly, they are observant and benefiting from this verbal instruction.  

So what's the take away?  
If you the instructor (aka the flight attendant) set the precedent that you will always walk your class through a quick, VERBAL demonstration of bike fit at the beginning of class, then your veterans (aka. your frequent flyers) won't find it intrusive. In fact they'll see it as a normal class expectation. Our new participants on the other hand, will benefit from the fact that you are not calling out any individuals, but rather addressing the entire group.  They might not catch your entire bike fit script the first time, but eventually they will. The benefit of having veteran participants hear your shpeal every class, is that they too can assist a new participant with basic bike set-up.  It may seem crazy, but during tourist season, I give our Stages® Indoor Cycling FastFit script and demonstration 5 minutes into class time-- every time.  I've always done it, so the expectation is set and my veterans know that during these 90-seconds they can begin warming up without being disruptive. It's a win-win for everyone. 

2. Provide unlabeled choices: 
Once class has commenced it is imperative to provide options.  However, the moment you start labeling your options as "beginner," "intermediate," or "advanced," human nature, competitiveness and ego kick-in for even the most novice participants.  Remember, no one wants to be the new kid or the beginner so try offering up choices that allow for individual decision making. Here's an example:  

"During the next 3-minute interval we're going to focus on remaining outside of our intensity comfort zone for at least 30 seconds.  Determining, when that push outside the comfort zone happens is entirely up to you.  The remaining 2 minutes and 30 seconds is yours to do as you please, given how you feel today."  

Based on that cue, you'll find that many of the veterans will attempt to push hard the entire 3 minutes, the more tactical types may try a 30-seconds on 30-seconds off approach, and new folks will feel at ease because you gave them the opportunity to do what makes them feel successful in that moment - whatever that might be. 

3. Be multi-lingual:
At Stages® Indoor Cycling we teach 4 primary languages of communication in order to help get our point across, usually in regards to finding the appropriate intensity.  The first language, and the one than anyone can comprehend, is that of comparison or analogy. 

"At this point, it feels as if you're breathing through a straw.   You can get enough air to keep going for the next 60 seconds, but that's about it." 

The next language, that of RPE (rate of perceived exertion), allows us to communicate time and intensity on a fixed 1-10 scale.  I could talk about the value of RPE for days, but suffice it to say it works very well so long as you speak to it consistently. 

"For the next 18 minutes I need you hovering at a "5". Yes, this is very challenging and just below threshold, but it is doable.  Don't cross over to a 6 or you will run out of steam before our 18 minutes is up." 

Our last two languages -- that of heart rate zones and power zones-- assume that the rider has done some preliminary benchmark assessments, known as Functional Threshold Heart Rate Benchmark  and/or Functional Threshold Power Benchmark.  With individuals that have gone through this evaluation we can say things such as, 

"For those of you that participated in the FTP event last weekend use your Power Rx as reference. Today we're attempting to hang in the sweet spot for the next 5 minutes.  This is 83-97% of your FTP."  

Clearly understanding this language requires precursory knowledge and will definitely sound foreign to your new riders.  Hence why it is so important to be as multi-lingual as possible in each and every class.

4. Acknowledge bravery:
At or near the conclusion of class, make it a point to acknowledge just how difficult it is to walk in the door for the very first time. No need to call out individuals, just make a point to truly show that you recognize that the hardest part isn't the class, it's walking in the door that truly requires guts.

5. Make yourself available after class:  
Immediately after acknowledging their accomplishments let the entire class know that you are available afterwards to answer questions, address concerns and to accept feedback.  If there are back-to-back classes in the studio space, designate a meeting area outside of the studio where you can chat with your crew.  It's during this time that many of the barriers that once stood in the way of the newbie participant can be broken.  It is our hope that they are proud of themselves, elated in fact, that they took a leap of faith and attempted this crazy category called indoor cycling-- you can capitalize on this moment.  

Of course, use your best judgement.  They might not be ready for a face-to-face with you just yet and that's okay!  Allowing people the space, time and consideration that they personally need does wonders towards growing a unique population of riders. Let's empower them to show up for that second class and hopefully stick around long after tourist season has come to a close.  

5 Tricks To Upgrade Your Next IC Class

Monday, January 06, 2014
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1. Provide your class with a real goal! 
NOT A GOAL: "Today we are going to tackle 3 big hills, the last one will be the hardest."
Yes, this is better than zero information, but imagine what would happen if you provided specific intentions in the form of a question. 

GOOD GOAL: "Today we are going to tackle 3, 12-minute hills. Can you hold your AVERAGE wattage slightly higher with each one?"

The time was clearly stated and the challenge was posed so that at the conclusion of that 3rd hill repeat you the instructor could then ask, "Were you able to hold your highest wattage on your 3rd attempt?" That's good stuff!

2. Reduce fluff!

-"Woohoo!" (being your own cheerleader) 
-"How we doing?" (Pulling teeth to elicit a response from the crowd)
-Counting backwards (hopefully they know how to count backwards from 8 on their own. Save your breath! Besides, this ain't a step class.)
-Your crutch word/phrase.  If you're not sure what this is, record yourself teaching… you'll know within the first 10 minutes. Your crutch phrase/word is the one that you say over and over again and you may have never even noticed.
-"Let's get ready for bikini season" or "Let's burn that butter." Calorie/body image discussions as a means of on-bike motivation cause inner torment for more people that you may realize.  

Before you get upset, fluff isn't bad, per se, but with a power console on every rider's bike you have no reason NOT to talk about something truly meaningful.  By reducing the number of times you fill space with fluff the only risk you run is that people might actually listen to MORE of what you have to say.  Wouldn't that be nice?!  Which leads to our next point…

3. Embrace the Space!
How long can you go without saying anything?! 
For some instructors this is a very scary experiment, but it's totally worth your time.  When you have something really important to share with your class, the best way to ensure that they truly hear you is to say nothing in the moments before. Likewise, when information is of the utmost importance pick a song with minimal or no lyrics so that you're not competing with the vocalist. Then when you do decide to give that perfect cue, you've got them in the palm of your hand waiting for your words of wisdom.

4. Lather. Rinse. REPEAT!
In general, people really like to repeat things.  
It provides them an opportunity for improvement and mastery.  As an added bonus, it makes planning a class a whole lot easier. Simply design one small repeatable segment (We call these Simple Sets) and then do it again and again.  This may seem 'boring' on paper, but if the goal is tangible you can make for a real challenge that is seriously engaging.  Here's one that we use when first introducing people to the power console:

"Each working stage is going to be 4 minutes long, followed by 2 minutes of recovery. We'll do 8 of these working stages.  With each 4 minute attempt, your goal is to figure out what you need to do in order to cover just a little more distance with each one." Easy on paper. Killer in real life!

5. Pick a metric and stick to it: 
With a power console at your immediate disposal, it's very tempting to talk about all the metrics all at once. This ends up causing confusion and potentially frustrating your members.  We recommend starting with the simple stuff first and working your way up to some of the newer features and concepts.  Time, RPMs and distance make sense to people.  Pick one of those features and build your simple set around it.  Once you get the hang of things then you can start to talk about maximum values, heart rate ranges, and average wattage.  

Which tricks will you try this week?

Love Thy Tourist - Part 1

Friday, January 03, 2014
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In the fitness biz, this time of year is ripe with resolutions. Gyms the world over are packed at all hours with timid and unfamiliar faces. These well-intended wallflowers are backhandedly referred to as "tourists" by the exercise devout; historically returning to their little corner of the universe -- never to be seen or heard from again -- by February. 

Come Valentine's Day the regulars breathe a sigh of relief because they 'got their gym back', club owners (the schmarmy ones, mind you) are pleased because they're collecting dues on services that are going unused, and many so called tourists won't ever make the desirable transition to "regular," and you know what?  It's totally our bad.

We the fitness professionals, are partly to blame for making this transition (aka lifestyle change) next to impossible for the non-exerciser.  

Let us count the ways...

1. Holiday related food guilt drives group exercise schedules to reflect more intensity.  (Did I say more, I meant MOOOOORE!!!)  This is in part to satiate the regulars as well as to reflect the media's 'self-loathing sells' marketing madness. 

  • 2. Instructors react to the unspoken pressure to "step it up a notch" for the new year.  Heck you've got a new audience, time to 'wow' them with your hardest moves, the highest heart rates and general torment. 

  • 3. Turf wars between regulars and tourists often lead to close encounters of the 7th grade kind, "Hey Mr! Who told you that you could sit on MY bike?!" or "The front row is reserved for me and my friends."   

Reality check- this is life amongst humans. But we the leaders of the pack rarely do anything to squelch this type of behavior, some would say we even condone it. 

Are we having fun yet?  You the expert might be, but the tourists? Not so much.  How do we resolve to evolve?  As a fitness pro, what do you do personally to combat these injustices?  
If you agree that this drill 'em & kill 'em mentality isn't solving our globesity crisis tag yourself in this photo!

Stay tuned until next time for top reSOLUTIONS to #lovethytourist!

The Truth About Calories

Thursday, December 05, 2013
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With Thanksgiving behind us, we find ourselves in the thick of the Holiday Season. In the fitness industry this typically means that the discussion and hype surrounding 'calories in minus calories out,' is on the cover of every health-related magazine, blog and yes, Facebook post, all of which fully intend to induce fear and panic because as we all know the calories are out to get you (hellooooo sarcasm!). 

At Stages® Indoor Cycling we choose NOT to think of calories as the enemy and in fact we're growing a bit weary of superfluous calorie conversations. Instead we have chosen to give you the straight facts and the straight science. Picking up where we left off last week (see related posts on 11/22 & 11/15), part 3 in our console info-series concludes appropriately with the last conversion in our chain of interrelated metrics; converting kilojoules (work over time) to kilocalories (food energy required to do the aforementioned work). 

At the conclusion of a ride, and after pressing and holding down the AVG/END button, the rider is treated to a report card better known as the RESULTS screen. At the top of the screen you can witness your kJ and kcal totals for the ride. We discussed kJ (kilojoules) in our last post (see the kJ post from 11/22/13).  Before we dive into this last conversion, we must first answer a question that we get asked all the time…

"Why do you call it "kcal"? Can't it just say "Calories?""  Funny you should ask… There's a Trivial Pursuit-worthy answer for that!

A calorie- sometimes called a "gram calorie" or "small calorie" (note the lower-case "c")- is a unit of energy.  In fact, it is the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius.  But it turns out that, metabolically speaking, the calorie unit isn't very practical due to its small value.  In nutritional contexts kilocalories- also known as "large calories" or Calories (the upper-case "C" is important)- are preferred.  As you might guess, 1 kilocalorie is equal to 1000 calories, or 1 Calorie. Interestingly, the large Calorie is not officially recognized as an international standard unit of measurement. 

However, In spite of its non-official status, the large Calorie is still widely used as a unit of food energy in the US, UK and some other Western countries. If you travel abroad or purchase any packaged imported food you may notice that within the European Union, both the kilocalorie (kcal) and kilojoule (kJ), another unit used to describe energy, appear side-by-side on nutrition labels.

"Wait, what?  How am I supposed to wrap my head around that? Besides I thought kilojoules were watts added up over time?!"

Keep in mind that energy is energy, regardless of its units. We're simply going to take the work that you put into the bike and convert it into its equivalent energy in Calories (kcal) rather than kJ.  A benefit to using the power sensor with the Stages console is that all these energy and power measurements become readily available!  (If in doubt, you can tell if you have the power sensor equipped because your left crank arm- the straight metal part that connects the pedal to the bike chassis- will have a rectangular box attached to its inside edge.)  And now, the last step in the chain, the secret sauce, and the moment you've all been waiting for: converting kJ to kcal!  

Here are some fun figures
4.186 kJ = 1 kcal = 1 Calorie
Standard assumption of human mechanical efficiency = 22%

I know what you're thinking… "Where does that 22% come from?"

As it turns out, the human body is amazing, but it's not very mechanically efficient.  The efficiency of human muscle has been measured (in the context of rowing and cycling) at a whopping 18-26%.  This means that only 18%-26% of the energy available to the muscles is actually translated into doing work- the rest is lost as waste.  For our calculations we simply chose the median point, which is regarded in the fitness equipment industry as the standard assumption of mechanical efficiency, also known as the best approximate value.

The Stages console uses the following formula to convert the kJ value to the kcal value:

kJ / 4.186 / .22

First, the kilojoules value is converted to the kilocalories equivalent (4.186 kilojoules = 1 kilocalorie). Then, this value is divided by the standard assumption of human mechanical efficiency (22 percent). The result is the approximate amount of food energy used.

Your homework assignment- should you choose to accept it- is to do a ride on the fabulous FreeMotion bike with Power Console and take two pictures at the conclusion of your ride.  One picture with the kJ info showing at the top and another with the kcal info at the top. When you have a spare moment try out the equation above and you'll be amazed, it's Math-magical!

Little tmi overload? Perhaps.  But now you know and knowing is half the battle!

Happy Riding!
Cameron Chinatti
Director of Education, Stages® Indoor Cycling

What Does KJ stand for on the console?

Friday, November 22, 2013
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The question, "How is Kcal calculated on the FreeMotion Power console?" (see last Friday's post for the answer), is often followed by the related question, "What does KJ shown on the RESULTS screen mean and why should I care?" We're glad you asked! Basic mathematics comin' atcha, consider yourselves warned. Let's start at the beginning...

What is a Watt? 

A watt is a standard international unit of power. More often than not it is represented in horsepower. In fact, 1 horsepower = 746 watts. Try to generate 700+ watts. It's a fun experiment and rather quickly you will realize that yes it's true, a horse is more powerful than you. 

The FreeMotion Power Console will measure and display the user's power output in watts. To get this wattage we need movement (RPMs) and force. On the FreeMotion bike, force is measured when the rider steps down on the pedal. As you turn the resistance dial to the right you have to work harder to step down on the pedals, thus more force is generated. This product of movement and force = WATTS. With us so far?

Now what if you could take all those little watts and add them up over the total time of your ride to see how much energy was expended? You can do just that, if you convert to kilojoules. 

1 watt = 1 joule applied for 1 second
1000 of those joules = 1 kilojoule (KJ) 

In other words...
kilojoules = watts × seconds / 1000

Stay with us folks, it ain't that scary! In fact, kilojoules are really cool! 
If you ever get the chance to check out the group display technology available from our friends at Performance IQ , you'll find all kinds of ways to do class competitions based on total kilojoules accumulated by the entire group or even solo contests. The future is now!

Stay tuned next week to learn how kilojoules are converted to Kcal!

How is kcal calculated on the FreeMotion Power Console?

Friday, November 15, 2013
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Frequently we are asked how the kcal (food calories) are calculated on the FreeMotion Power Consoles. Often this question arises out of surprise (and possibly disappointment) that at the conclusion of class the inquiring rider didn't "burn" as many calories as they "know" they "should" in an indoor cycling class. A fine question...

For years various organizations and manufacturers have touted claims that indoor cycling workouts (theirs in particular) will set you back anywhere from 700-1000 calories per class. While this is certainly possible for some people, these figures are generally a gross exaggeration driven by clever marketing departments. This rings true for just about any motorized piece of equipment that you might find on your fitness floor. It's kind of a cheap trick to sell more product, at least we think so. As a result, people tend to panic when they notice that their kcal expenditure on the S11 + Power disproves said claims. So what gives?! How do you know what to believe?

We're all about comparing apples to apples. More specifically consistency during your indoor cycling experience. Let's go a bit deeper.

The number you see in kcal that scrolls across the top of the console and is then displayed on the RESULTS page at the conclusion of your ride, represents what we CAN measure with certainty. What we can measure via the crank arm is the work that you are putting IN to the bike. Let's say, you're doing triceps extensions with a 20lb dumbbell all while riding the bike. Inefficiency and danger aside, you would be expending additional calories to do so. Assuming you could continue pedaling at the same force and velocity, there would be a higher metabolic factor, so to speak. The problem is, we CAN'T measure that from the crank arm. In fact, no one can measure that without putting you through an uncomfortable and cumbersome process that involves a mask on your face, a metabolic cart and an expensive computer. Anything else is a guesstimate based on your height, weight, age, sex and a formula meant to represent the average person (whatever that means). 

So, long-story short the kcal number that you see is exactly how much energy it took to "move" the bike (see distance at the bottom) from point A to point B. In other words, say according to the distance from your last 60-minute ride you went 17 miles and in doing so you used (not burned) 450 kcal. You could also think of this as powering you bike to travel 17 miles off of a muffin from Starbucks. Here's where the consistency factor comes in. Let's say after 6 weeks of good solid training you take yet another 60-minute class only this time you cover 19 miles and it took 571 kcal to do so. You now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you burned more calories and that you did more work! Better yet, it's work that you can compare no matter what S11 + Power console you ride. In our world, honesty is the best policy.

If you're interested in a more in depth explanation of the relationship between wattage, kilojoules, and kcal. Like this post and stay tuned until next week.  

That's the truth and we're stickin' to it!

Free Workout Respond to the Surge

Friday, August 02, 2013
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Looking for a new class plan to mix things up in your class?  Stages Indoor Cycling is here to help!  Master Educator, Lisa Renee Tumminello has shared one simple, repeatable set that she uses with her class.  Lisa Renee has been a fitness professional for over 20 years and is also a professional cyclist.  Her expertise in both areas allow her to create exciting classes that are effective in leading participants to performing quality work and helping them achieve their goals.

Try this workout with your class and let us know what you think!

Objective: This simple set is designed to challenge riders to respond to surges in intensity and then settle back into the tempo pace, without letting power drop into a recovery zone.  Visualize a pack of cyclists (peloton) riding at a brisk pace, when one cyclist surges out front and the group must respond to stick together.

Download class plan here.

What Are You Talking About??

Thursday, July 18, 2013
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Here at Stages® Indoor Cycling, we talk a lot about power and have developed a sort of lingo.  We believe that riding with power can help make classes fun and meaningful for all riders so we want to make sure everyone is on the same page as far as terminology.  Checkout the definitions below and let us know if there are any other phrases you hear on our website or around the indoor cycling world in general that you feel need to be defined!


Cadence: Refers to leg speed.  Also called Revolutions Per Minute (RPM).

Carbon Drive System: A new and revolutionary drive system, featured ONLY in FreeMotion bikes.  Click here to learn more about the Carbon Drive.

Leg Pickups:  Refers to cadence.  To perform a leg pickup, move your legs faster!  (Although not out of control!  We recommend staying between 60-110 RPMs at all times)  Generally, you will not increase resistance for a leg pickup and the duration of leg pickups can vary.

Party With a Purpose:  At Stages®, we like to have a good time and we like to achieve our goals.  Instructors have the tough, dual job of entertaining riders with motivational instructions and good music (that's the party) and coaching riders to see results (that's the purpose).  Coaching in a meaningful way doesn't have to be boring, and a good time can have some meat to it so that riders are also working towards their fitness goals.  This is what we mean by "Party with a Purpose"!

Surge:  Refers to increasing overall work.  This can be accomplished by increasing cadence, by increasing resistance, or by increasing both.  The instructor can dictate to the class how to perform the surge (Example:  "In the next 5 minutes we will do 3 surges.  For each surge, hold your cadence the same but increase resistance.  See how high you can get your average watts for 20 seconds at a time!")

The 30-Day Brake Down: Refers to the transitional program that is available to all instructors who complete the "Instructor Essentials" course.  Learn more about this fabulous program and all of the free resources that come with it on our blog.

The 30 Day Brake Down

Thursday, July 18, 2013
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More often than not, instructors using the FreeMotion® bike and power console have not had power consoles in their indoor cycling room before. When brand new bikes boasting gleaming power consoles suddenly arrive unexpectedly, it can be intimidating to introduce them to riders and incorporate them into class.  After all, instructors are the voice of authority in a cycle class.  How can anyone be the voice of authority unless they are fully equipped themselves to educate with this new tool?  Even if an instructor has had experience with a power console, they may not have had resources available to use them well or to use them to their full potential.

The Stages® Indoor Cycling Instructor Essentials course was designed to help instructors bring new elements to a cycle program.  In the 9 hour live Instructor Essentials program, instructors learn enough information to last for a full college introduction course (or so it may seem)!  There is a lot to take in in a single day.  To help instructors fully absorb all of the information introduced in their full day training, Stages® Indoor Cycling has developed additional programming, which carries instructors through the first 30 days after their training and provides additional, step-by-step support to implement Power into their program.  This new program comes complimentary with the purchase of a Stages® Indoor Cycling Instructor Essentials training.

Read More!  What topics are covered in The 30-Day Brake Down? (Click here)

Read More!  What is the value of The 30-Day Brake Down to our program? (Click here)