Stages Master Educator Ben Kohler currently serves as the Group Fitness Coordinator at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Recreation and Wellness Center. Their program consists of 100-120 classes per week between two locations taught by 40 student instructors, of which indoor cycling constitutes 25% of the group fitness program, holding 20 classes per week on their fleet of 40 Stages SC3 bikes.
Responsible for the administration, scheduling, training and evaluation of the instructors and programming, we caught up with Ben to discuss the collegiate recreation center environment and how Stages has helped transform the student experience.
"College students are at a pivotal point in their lifetimes: moving away from organized physical activity and high school sport into a new-found freedom with fresh possibilities in college. Their new independence comes with plenty of choices; foods to pick at the cafeteria, to study or hang with friends, or which route to take on a morning jog. While choices like these can be intriguing and exciting for prospective students, the overwhelming nature of this new environment can take its toll on students’ health and wellness over the course of their time in college. Physical activity is known to decrease as individuals transition from high school to college and the US Department of Health and Human Services reports that less than one third of individuals aged 18-24 meet the minimum requirements for physical activity as prescribed by the American Council of Sports Medicine1. Because of these trends, collegiate recreation and wellness centers have come to play a pivotal role in addressing this lack of physical activity.
“Required Physical Education classes, outdated equipment in gym basements, and high-stepping aerobic classes on college campuses are a thing of the past. Collegiate recreation and wellness centers are now multi-million dollar projects with rock walls, lazy rivers and courts for every sport. These rec centers are becoming hubs on campus that provide a much-needed escape from the stresses of college studies. While indoor cycling has most definitely changed over the last few decades, it still remains a favourite of students, faculty, and staff alike as a way to pedal off everyday stresses. To keep students interested and, ultimately, active, we must be intentional about providing the best and most up-to-date experiences inside and outside of the classroom.
“Universities have always been on the frontier of innovation and technological advances in every industry and market. Indoor cycling on college campuses should be no different. Stages Indoor Cycling continues to challenge the boundaries of what can be accomplished in a room full of bikes that go nowhere.”
Greg Stephenson, Director of Fitness at University of Minnesota Recreation and Wellness explains, “When it came time to upgrade our indoor cycling bikes, my team and I were swarmed with lots of options. After an in-depth review, we were excited to award our purchase to Stages Cycling. It has been two years since that decision and we couldn't be happier. The sleek design, the user-friendly and comprehensive display, the smooth and variable resistance of the SprintShift, and the durability have been key elements that have satisfied our customers and thus have satisfied us.”
Ben continues: “We have seen a real evolution in our indoor cycle program. Our class attendance has not only doubled, but sustained high attendance through the transition and two years later. Participants consistently comment on the comfort and capabilities of the bike and instructors thoroughly enjoy getting creative with the various metrics and possibilities for class planning at their fingertips.
“Rachel Kahnke, a senior cycling instructor at the center, backs me up on this: "My favorite part about teaching on a Stages bike is the ability to individualize the class for each participant. We may not all have the same numbers, but we all know where we need to be, and we can get there together." This emphasis on individual goals among a community of riders is a huge driver of the connection that many college students are looking for when they come to group fitness classes.
“As Regan Bradley, an undergraduate student adds, “To be able to move through drills starting new each time provides a break in the mental game, a fresh start. As I move past a difficult speed round, I press the Stage button to move on to the next portion of my workout without the past stuck in my mind. I am able to visualize my energy and work being put into my workout, but more importantly, I am able to accurately see what I want, from distance, watts, time, speed, and RPM.”
“The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is not the only university taking advantage of the technology and innovation of the Stages team. Stages has outfitted more than forty university and college rec centers in the last few years, and the numbers are growing. Alexia Cervantes, from the University of California-San Diego, shares her experiences with the Stages SC3 bike and Flight technology: “This was a fun upgrade from our previous bike. The power meters are also much more reliable than what we had before, and that makes for a much more effective teaching tool. We are encouraging folks to use the Stages Flight technology. That is a real game changer! The Stages SC3 bikes with power meters bring together the elements that engage and challenge riders. Plus the bikes look GREAT and are built to last.”
“Now’s the time to get in on the action and help keep your students active, engaged, and encourage them to reach their goals. Whether you are looking for a few bikes for the fitness floor, replacing outdated bikes in your cycle studio, or have new construction, Stages has a bike to keep your students and participants riding to the top.” Eric Jaworsky, Sales & Marketing VP at Stages Cycling puts no finer point on it: “We’re committed to delivering best in class riding experiences to drive return on investment. We’re driving real world data and real world workouts to back up the success of the thousands of riders who take to our studios and roads around the clock every day.”
For all the latest bikes from Stages Indoor Cycling, head to www.stagesindoorcycling.com/bikes or for more details on Stages Flight click here www.stagesindoorcycling.com/stagesflight
US Department of Health and Human Services, Healthy People 2020 (2016), “Nutrition, physical activity, and obesity”, available at: www.healthypeople.gov/2020/leading-health-indicators/2020-lhi-topics/Nutrition-Physical-Activity-and-Obesity/data