Free Educational Articles on ICA May Be More Extensive Than You Think

Someone left a comment on my ICA Facebook page asking for a taste of the articles on the ICA website. He said:

Would it be possible for you to publish a few complimentary articles, as a “trial”, so I don’t have to pay a subscription fee right away?

This is a very good suggestion. It is one that we are already doing, but it got me thinking that perhaps the FREE articles aren’t as evident as they should be. I now realize that I must make it even more apparent where to find them! Here was my response to him:

Thanks for the suggestion Pete. I posted a very informative free article yesterday that delivers a ton of advice (14 tips) to instructors on how to be an engaging and captivating instructor to keep your students coming back. I’ve received some great feedback on that article, and one instructor even suggested it was my “best ever”! You can see that the ‘free’ articles aren’t just fluff, they contain just as much education and advice as the premier articles. They give you a taste of what members get week after week.

I do try to highlight that they are Free on the article intro on the homepage and Facebook page, and there is also a category on the left side of the web page called “Free Articles”. But we are working to make this more evident on the new website. The Free articles are every bit as important to me and to ICA as the premier members-only articles. There are subjects that I want every instructor to know about because they often have the potential to impact the industry (one of my goals!)

Of course, they also serve as a reminder to instructors about the quality of the content on ICA, and what they might be missing by not being a member, but I realize that joining is not always possible for every instructor.

So I would like to highlight these articles and their wide ranging topics so you can see what you might have missed. You are free to print them out or post the link and share them with all the instructors, program directors and even students you know. Many of them are about proper technique and being a better instructor, and provide the science on why certain popular contraindicated techniques are so unadvisable.

Remember too that the Sage Advice Blog is always free. I will often examine Youtube videos or magazine articles about indoor cycling classes or techniques and provide a critique based on its effectiveness and potential danger. You can go click on the various categories or tags, but I provide you links to many of the important blog posts at the bottom of this page.

Free Articles on the Indoor Cycling Association

“My Cycling Class Today”—Another Way for ICA to Help Instructors!
In the twenty years I’ve been a master instructor educating indoor cycling instructors around the world (first for Spinning®, then for the last five years with ICA), I’ve come to know what challenges many instructors are struggling with I’ve often had a revelation while teaching one of my own classes that I’ve thought would be helpful for other instructors to know about.

5 Ways Power Training Will be a Game Changer in Your Indoor Cycling Classes
Unfortunately, many instructors and participants are intimidated by power at first because they think it’s too technical, too complicated, or only useful for “serious” cyclists. But once you understand the basics, it’s actually a very straightforward tool, and a great way to challenge and engage participants, regardless of whether they ride outside or not. Here are five ways teaching with power will be a game changer in your teaching.

Mardi Gras & Carnival Song Suggestions for Your Carnival Theme Profile
Mardi Gras is February 9th…anyone planning on a Carnival theme ride? Put on a mask and hand out some purple and gold beads to your students and play some Brazilian or New Orleans–inspired Carnival tunes, and you’ve got yourself a party! I’ve come up with dozens of songs ranging from Brazilian Samba or Batacuda, New Orleans jazz, Cajun and zydeco, French and Italian Carnival, and other songs about New Orleans in general. Let us know in the comments if you have some more ideas.

Two Super Bowl Playlists and Two Exciting Super Bowl Profiles
Check out our two Super Bowl Spotify playlists. These are collaborative playlists so feel free to add your favorite tracks. ICA premium members can access our two exciting Super Bowl theme profiles from our archives.

Martin Luther King Tribute Songs
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is celebrated on Monday, January 18. Here is a collection of powerful songs to use for your tribute ride this week.

How Can You Reach Your Destination if You Have No Destination?
Guest contributor and ICA member Izabela Ruprik has been collecting indoor cycling certifications over the past few years (about to take her 7th cert)! She attended a class the other day and came away frustrated so she wrote about her experience. She wanted to share this very important message with all instructors from every program: Always share what the purpose of your workout is with your riders!

Top 7 Ways to Grow as an Indoor Cycling Instructor in 2016
As we move into another new year, I want to challenge you to reach new heights in your coaching. This may mean moving out of your own comfort zone. It’s something we ask of our riders all the time; how about ourselves? What can we do to push ourselves, to take risks, to put ourselves out there in front of our students and announce to the world that we aren’t afraid of growth?

Technology is Here to Stay for Indoor Cycling Instructors and Studios
Technology can help you teach your classes, it can help your riders improve their performance, and best of all (at least from a business standpoint), it can raise you above your competition and fill your classes. You might as well learn the technology that is available to our industry and how to capitalize on it. Gene Nacey of Cycling Fusion will be providing us with monthly tech tips. Read more to find out about a few of the upcoming topics in this exciting area of studio cycling!

“Endurance” Classes…Are They Really All That Important for Indoor Cycling?
In the cycling world, the concept of base training is being turned on its head. If this is being questioned for outdoor cyclists, how on earth would it apply to indoor cyclists to spend hours at low intensities? If you’ve ever questioned whether you should be teaching your 45- or 60-minute classes in Zone 2 (65%–75% MHR), you may want to read this post.

Indoor Cycling Masters’ Words of Wisdom For Instructors
The second round of advice coming from master instructors. This is pure gold for all indoor cycling instructors from all programs.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Indoor Cycling Instructors
Christmas is around the corner. If you are seeking a cycling- or indoor cycling–themed gift for the instructor on your list (or to give to your significant other who is looking for a gift to give you), here are some great ideas!

Steady State Cardio vs. High-Intensity Interval Training
Jennifer Snow Ashbrook is a new contributor to ICA. She has a skill of uncovering very relevant articles that can help indoor cycling instructors in their quest for knowledge, so they can better teach their own students. This article helps you understand the importance of both steady-state and HIIT workouts.

Indoor Cycling Masters’ Words of Wisdom For Instructors
We asked a handful of master instructors from a variety of programs a very important question: If you could tell a new instructor what one thing to master, what would it be? We got so many great responses, we are dividing them into two posts.

Songs for a Paris Tribute to Hope, Peace, and Love
The attacks in Paris had a profound effect on me, as I’m sure they did many people. I have been to Paris many times and have ridden my bicycle thousands of miles around France, so I have a deep connection there. I’ve put together a list of songs you can use in a tribute to Paris. Please add your suggestions to the comments.

Instructor Spotlight: Bill Roach
This week, ICA is proud to highlight one of our longtime supporters and educational contributors, Bill Roach. After retirement, he launched a second career helping people through fitness and Spinning®. Bill serves as the lead instructor at his YMCA, mentors new instructors, and has helped develop a program for Parkinson’s patients at the YMCA Healthy Living Center in Iowa. We celebrate your second career, Coach Bill Roach.

More Than Fitness
Upon my return, I asked my class if they missed me and if the sub had sufficiently kicked their butts. As it turned out, no instructor showed up to sub!

Mountain Biking, Camping, and Refugees
Here in the Rocky Mountains, the snowline that has already covered our higher peaks is getting lower and lower, and it won’t be long until snow is an almost daily reality. I thought I’d share some photos of our last-ditch efforts to squeeze out some mountain bike rides in the high desert, before we hang up our bikes for the winter and ride exclusively inside. And yes, there is a reason why I wrote “refugees” in the title of this post. Please continue reading to find out why…

Instructor Spotlight: Caroline Rigby—I Can do Better Than That!
Caroline Rigby is an example of a person who sees something amiss, and decides to fix it…by learning how to do that thing herself. Her determination will inspire you!

Inside to Outside—My Journey to Ironman
Pam Benchley is a master educator for Stages Indoor Cycling who recently completed her first Ironman. Her journey from “No Way” to “What if?” to “Holy Cow! Look what I did!” is so inspiring, it might even have you revisiting one of your own “what if” dreams.

TBT: The Myth of Maximum Heart Rate
For today’s TBT (Throwback Thursday) we are reposting one of the articles that became the foundation for ICA’s philosophy of heart rate training. Instructors should understand why maximum heart rate is not a good anchor for training zones, and instead learn how to perform field tests and talk tests so they can more accurately guide their riders to success.

FREE Halloween Profile: Trick or Treat!
This fun, interactive profile is a game in which you let your students “trick-or-treat” and select the next interval effort. The songs are awesome and eerie and your students will thank you for helping them work off some of the candy they’ve stolen…er, borrowed, from their kids! We are giving this one away so everyone can get a taste of how much detail we provide in our profiles and how much fun they can be!

5 Things You Can Do to Help New Students in Indoor Cycling Class
We all once were very new to indoor cycling. Whether or not we came back to that class or indoor cycling in general depended a lot on the instructor of that very first class we took.

The Mic Killed My Cues
Every time I’m forced to teach without a microphone, I think about those instructors who do not believe in using a mic. They believe instructing without a mic does not affect their teaching or the experience they deliver. They could not be more wrong.

Do You REALLY Need Supplements…Or Do You Value Your Wallet?
I’m not a big fan of supplements. But I am a huge fan of evidenced-based medicine, nutrition, and (as you probably can guess if you know me at all!) fitness and cycling. So it probably doesn’t surprise you that I read quite a lot about nutrition. Basically, what I’ve been told by the experts (though…

The Boss Rules! Born To Run Turns 40
Last week, the classic album Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen turned 40. Yeah, if you’re like me, that might have made you feel a bit old! But hey…no matter what ANYONE says, The Boss rocks! And, while I admit there are many songs you wouldn’t dare play in your cycling classes, there are many others that work well.

Kraftwerk’s Music and Their Cycling Roots
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Kraftwerk says it has used the sound of bikes, and the rhythmic breathing of cyclists in its music. Hütter says that cycling is also about silence and appreciating the sound of the world around you as you ride, something which is carried over to their music. Have you used their music for your cycling classes, especially a Tour de France stage?

The Mental and Emotional Benefits of Indoor Cycling
This article in Bicycling magazine discusses the other benefits of riding a bike—the mental and emotional ones. I’m hoping you will all read this article, then share the mental and emotional reasons why you are so passionate about indoor cycling. What has it helped you overcome? No need for specifics, but if getting on that bike that goes nowhere has helped you change your mindset for the better, please let us know about it! Have you made important decisions after an amazing ride? Have you felt at peace with a troubling event or decision you had to make? Have you resolved conflicts with family or friends? I certainly know I have. Leave your comments here so we all can celebrate.

Instructor Spotlight: Angie Asmann Believes Everyone Should FEEL GOOD!
The everyday language and words we choose to use say a lot about who we are as a person. Whether you’re a man of many words or a woman of a few (or vice versa!), when you listen closely you can gather valuable insight into a person’s passion and convictions. Amid my communications with Angie…

Why You Shouldn’t do an Upper-Body Workout While Pedaling in Your Indoor Cycling Class
Note: This article originally appeared on November 28, 2011. It has been bumped up to August 2015 since it is very relevant following the recent IPO filing by SoulCycle. It has been edited for clarity and readability.  Suppose you hired a personal trainer. At your first session, your trainer, Jack, hands you 1 lb weights.

SoulCycle Files For IPO
I was quoted in two articles this past week after the announcement of Soul Cycle’s filing for an IPO, including Business Insider. I’d like to know your thoughts on this stock…would you purchase it?

Training Versus Exercise…Your Thoughts?
We all know a structured training program is far, far more successful at meeting goals (any goal) than haphazard exercise. What can we do to convince our customers? How can we package it to reach more people? Will you help us brainstorm and come up with ideas? I’ve got a few, but I’m seeking your help!

Dramatic Finish on Alpe d’Huez Will Make For an Exciting Class Profile!
Did you watch Stage 20 of the Tour? Take this description of what actually happened on this very exciting stage to create a dramatic storyline for your own class. Also, in this post are some resources for articles and videos for you to use in your Tour de France profiles, whether you are creating your own, or using the ICA profiles. Enjoy!

Interview with Cameron Chinatti of Stages Indoor Cycling
I took the Stages Indoor Cycling certification at the end of June in Boulder, Colorado. Here are my impressions, as well as a quick interview with Cameron Chinatti about the new layout for their cert and about their impressive new app.

How to Cue Riding on Cobblestones: Visualization at its Finest!
If you have been watching or reading about the Tour de France this year, you would know that Stage 4 had a section over the cobblestones of Northern France. Last year as well there were nine segments of brutal cobbles in Stage 5. Prior to that, there were just a few in 2010, and before…

An Indoor Cycling Program for Teens
I asked Angela Amedio of Saratoga Cycling Studio to share with ICA how she created a successful program for local teens at her studio in Saratoga Springs, New York. You are sure to get some ideas for your program!

Promoting Tour de France Classes in Your Cycling Studio
Listen to this short interview with Tammar Berger of Off Road Cycling in Washington, DC, where she describes how they’ve created sold-out classes with waiting lists during the slow time of the year (and yes, even the non-cyclists love these classes). Learn how they take advantage of people’s competitive nature!

America (Grace on Thee Rewerk), Peter G ReWerk
Peter G, an instructor in Connecticut, has made a name for himself amongst indoor cycling instructors as their DJ of choice. If you haven’t yet heard of Peter G yet…mark my words, you will soon! For your 4th of July playlist, you can purchase this fun “rewerk” of Prince’s “America” by Peter G on Legitmix. They…

TDF Cliffs Notes
If you are one of those instructors who loves to bring the experience of riding outdoors to your indoor riders, now is the time to get them excited. Give them a taste of the Tour de France (TDF) and introduce them to some of the fun we enjoy during one of the greatest sporting events of all time. Here are some recommendations for leaning TDF lingo, visualizing the terrain and intensity, and connecting the experience of outdoor cycling to your indoor riders.

Instructor Celebrates Student’s 93rd Birthday in Class!
Carol, an ICA member and instructor in Illinois, shares a wonderful story about her favorite rider, Jules, who just turned 93. She threw a party in her class to celebrate, and she shares her special playlist with you here. After every class Jules tell her, “You keep me vertical!” We all should have our very own Jules in our classes!

Instructor and Studio Spotlight: Meet Shirin Beckett!
On a recent Southern California expedition, I scheduled time each day to ride at the area’s “hottest cycling clubs.” Each was new, shiny, technologically savvy, and, of course, costly to attend. I only made it to day four. Between Tommy’s tap-backs and Lucy’s figure-8s, my head wanted to explode from the insanity swirling around me…

How to Wash And Care For Your Cycling Clothing
I came across a blog post on how to wash your cycling clothes. I am sharing it here along with a few of my own tips and things to consider. Do you hand-wash them or use the washer? What temperature? Do you hang-dry or put them in the dryer? There may be a trade-off—reduced lifespan of cycling clothing, or possible bacteria.

Saying Thank You Means More Than You Know
This is a blog post by group fitness instructor Erica Barker (reprinted with permission). She accurately describes what most of us go through as we prepare for our one-hour fitness class, of any format. It’s a LOT more than that one hour, isn’t it? Share this with your peers and even with your students; it’s helpful when they understand how much your passion drives what you do!

Instructor Spotlight: Julianne Lafleur From Toronto
Where do you find the most inspiring indoor cycling Instructors and dynamic, successful studios in the world? ICA set out on a mission to highlight the indoor cycling coaches, studio owners, and group fitness directors who are impacting individuals and communities where they lead and serve. We will spotlight a new instructor or studio bi-monthly. Our first star instructor is Julianne Lafleur from Toronto, Ontario!

Some Cool Music Video Ideas
For those who have video and WI-FI capabilities, here’s a couple of mesmerizing music videos to play when you don’t want to talk much, and give your riders something entrancing to watch.

When Heart Rate Interpretation Goes Wrong
This is a discussion of a Joe Friel article on a common misinterpretation of a heart rate response to training. DON’T LET THIS BE YOU! Make sure you understand how your riders’ heart rates respond to training! In this post is a list of resources and articles (some free, some books, some premium articles) to help enhance your understanding of heart rate. This is important EVEN if you don’t teach with a HR monitor. It also helps your coaching using RPE and optimizes your use of power training.

It’s Our Birthday and We Want to Give YOU A Gift!
This month, May 2015, is the fourth anniversary of the Indoor Cycling Association. It’s been an amazing four years. Admittedly, it’s a ton of work, but when you are doing something you love, something you about so passionate about, it hardly seems like work at times. (Well…until the Internet gremlins get you! It’s the nature…

Profile: North, A Journey Up Everest
Billy Coburn, Star 3 Spinning® instructor and occasional contributor to ICA, was moved to put together a fundraiser ride for Nepal earthquake relief. He had a profile he created last year called North, about summiting Mt. Everest, so he resurrected the ride for his event. Thank you, Billy, for sharing this with all instructors!

How To Very Quickly Organize a Fundraiser
Want to organize a ride for victims of the Nepali earthquake? Here is a checklist on how we created a successful fundraiser in three weeks for both the tsunami disaster of 2004 and Katrina in 2005. Whether you plan on a small event for just one class, or want to spearhead a larger more coordinated event several hours long, this checklist will give you some ideas on what to do.

Why Do Some People Get Fitter Faster Than Others?
Have you ever known someone who was a “fast responder”—someone who got fit really fast? Then others who did not respond at all to the same training, even though they were consistent and committed? Science can now answer why that happens.

Lessons Off The Bike
Alisha Shulter is an indoor cycling instructor who recently taught her first class off the bike. But, she hadn’t planned on doing it that way. The results, however, were magical and taught her a lot about herself and her students. She wrote this blog post about it and gave me permission to share it with you here at ICA.

Quarantining a Bad Attitude in Class
This article on managing a participant’s bad attitude by guest contributor Nancy Korf is very relevant to any type of group fitness class. It is a situation that many of us have encountered in our cycling classes so we wanted to share it with you. There are some real gems in the advice she gives here!

Confession: I Played “Mack the Knife” In My Cycling Class!
I have a 75-year-old rider named Sally who mentioned she didn’t know any of my music (even though I play a lot of classic rock). So I came to class equipped with a song she was sure to know, and it brought a huge smile to her face—as well as my other riders! It’s the perfect beat for a flat road. Do you have any special classics you play for your older riders?

Great Resources and Videos to Liven Up Your Paris-Roubaix Profile!
Are you teaching a Paris-Roubaix profile this week (or anytime), or would you like to? The Paris-Roubaix, nicknamed the Hell of the North, is an iconic one-day race in northern France with a very storied past dating back to 1896. It includes long sections on cobblestones, which are brutal to the racers. Last year we…

Grand Rapids Indoor Cycling Studio Rides Real and Gets to Talk About it On TV!
More and more indoor cycling instructors come to class equipped with goniometers. But are they really helpful? Are instructors using them correctly? Many instructors do not know how to use them, and they are not as helpful as you think.

Should Indoor Cycling Instructors Use a Goniometer?
More and more indoor cycling instructors come to class equipped with goniometers. But are they really helpful? Are instructors using them correctly? Many instructors do not know how to use them, and they are not as helpful as you think.

Think Lawsuits Don’t Happen In the Spinning Studio? Think Again…
Today, a man was awarded €15,000 in Ireland after sustaining an injury when a pedal fell off while in a Spinning class. There are those who believe I am being alarmist, but being wise about liability has always been an important part of being in the service industry, especially fitness. This includes equipment maintenance as well as adhering to proven safe training methods.

Do You Stretch On The Bike in Your Cycling Or Spinning Classes?
I posted this on the ICA Facebook page the other day, as well as in one of the indoor cycling forums on Facebook, and it caused a firestorm. I’d love your thoughts on the subject of stretching on the bike in your indoor cycling or Spinning class.

Is Indoor Cycling Bringing You to Your Knees?
A well-written article that sheds light on knee pain and injuries, while demonstrating the level of knowledge indoor cycling instructors need to balance out the focus on fun, community, and music.

FREE Songs For Fast Introspective Flats
Announcing the release of Technologia, a new album by Chronos, with luscious downtempo soundscapes from Russia. The best news? You can get it legally for free! I’ve highlighted 3 of the tracks that are good for the cycling studio and how to use them.

Another Reason NOT to Ride Aero In a Spinning Class
Are you or your riders ever tempted to ride in an aero position in your indoor cycling or Spinning class? This Bicycling magazine article will show you conclusively that it’s not really a good idea!

Fabulous Song You Are Going to LOVE!
This fabulous song will set you and your riders free. At 125 bpm, it’s the perfect climb, matching the freeing message in the video. If you are able to project videos, make sure to add this one to your collection!

Mardi Gras/Carnival Song Suggestions
Anyone planning on a Mardi Gras or Carnival theme ride? Put on a mask and some purple and gold beads, hand out beads to your students and play some Brazil or New Orleans inspired carnival tunes, and you’ve got yourself a party! I’ve done some searching for songs for your playlist and have come up with dozens of songs ranging from Brazilian Samba or Batacuda, New Orleans Jazz, Cajun and Zydeco, French Carnival, and other songs about New Orleans in general. Let us know in the comments if you have some more ideas.

FTP for the Powers That Be
If you are a fan of FTP (Functional Threshold Power) or are aching to learn more, enjoy this article from one of the masters of power, Joe Friel.

You Never Know
Have you ever walked into class and just known it was going to be one of those days? At the front of the room sit the fitness warriors, donning serious faces as they set their heart rate monitors and fine-tune their bike setup. At the back of the room a small riot brews. There is tons of chatter, laughter, and a couple of folks whose voices project more than is tolerable. The front row is noticeably annoyed.

I don’t usually use all-caps in a headline, but I wanted to get your attention! I play this song almost every year on Martin Luther King’s birthday, and I, or my students, never tire of it. It is a spectacularly beautiful song to use in a cycling class.

Uncomfortable and Self-Conscious
It is 5 minutes before class begins. The last few riders scurry to their bikes. I’m nervous and uncomfortable about my ride, and more specifically, the playlist. As the class starts and the music unfolds, I feel self-conscious and not myself. Only the cool-down can save me now.

YIKES! No Music? What Am I Going to Do?
There was an interesting discussion this week on one of the Facebook indoor cycling forums about teaching without music. I thought it could be fun to have a discussion here about teaching without music. Have you ever had a music emergency in which you had to teach your class with no music at all? How did you initially react? How did your riders respond?

Reflections on an Unexpected Conversation
In the final minutes of 2014, I found myself in a loud room full of total strangers, except for my family, seated next to a 72-year-old woman. We scooted closer to each other on the crowded L-shaped couch and leaned in for an unexpected conversation, at the top of our lungs, yet still under the din of the partygoers.

Top 7 Ways to Grow as an Indoor Cycling Instructor in 2015
As we move into another new year, I want to challenge you to reach new heights in your coaching. This may mean moving out of your own comfort zone. It’s something we ask of our riders all the time; how about ourselves? What can we do to push ourselves, to take risks, to put ourselves out there in front of our students and announce to the world that we aren’t afraid of growth?

RIP, Joe Cocker! Use These Songs In Your Spinning Classes This Week
RIP, Joe Cocker! Use These Songs In Your Spinning Classes This Week

What Pain, What Gain?
Like many things in the fitness industry, the mantra “no pain, no gain” has been misused and misrepresented. Has the mantra provided trainers and instructors with a license to kill? Has it become a means to an unknowledgeable end? Has the mantra set an unrealistic and unhealthy expectation for its victims?

“No Pain, No Gain” in Indoor Cycling?
We’ve all heard the adage “No Pain, No Gain,” and the reasons it’s a myth. But we also hear that it’s not possible to really succeed or improve performance unless you learn to suffer at your chosen sport. So what is it? Where is the line drawn? And how should indoor cycling instructors coach? Should we never use words like “suffering” in our coaching?

Christmas Gift Ideas for Indoor Cycling Instructors
Christmas is around the corner. If you are seeking a cycling- or indoor cycling–themed gift for the instructor on your list (or to give to your significant other who is looking for a gift to give you), here are some great ideas!

Three Holiday Profiles from the ICA Archives
To save you from having to search through the ICA archives, here are three fun holiday profiles to choose from: Christine’s interactive Shop Till You Drop profile, Jennifer’s Holiday Calorie Burner, and Shari’s Winter Solstice profile.

High School Football Coach Changes Lives, Empowers Players
I know this isn’t about indoor cycling, but it is about how a coach can change lives and empower athletes. It’s an amazing story of an inner-city high school football coach who defied odds and turned the team (and school) around. And…it’s about my brother, so I’m bursting with pride!

Social Media Hashtags for Fitness Pros
Have you ever wondered what all the hype was about hashtags, those silly tic-tac-toe–looking things you see on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms? #dotheysometimesgetonyournerves? Watch this 3-minute video by media expert Amanda Vogel to help you understand how to use this strange but ubiquitous feature of social media.

From Indoor Cycling Instructor to Coach
This is the first part in a series by our new contributor, Cori Parks, based in Bangkok, Thailand.

A Holiday Gift Option For Special Women Around the World!
I want to introduce you to SoulSista, an online community for like-minded women from across the globe launched by Spinning® Master Instructor Natashia Iacovelli. You will also find really sweet, high-quality tanks, pants, and beautiful jewelry that make fabulous Christmas gifts!

Explosions, Rumblings, and Reinvigoration!
Due to some behind-the-scenes remodeling at ICA, some of our posts may be temporarily unavailable, especially the older ones. Apologies if you encounter one; please know it won’t be for long. Here is a description of the exciting things going on behind the curtain at ICA!

The Most Important TED Talk You May Ever Watch—Do NOT Miss This!
If you have not seen this TED Talk yet, what are you waiting for? It is the third most viewed TED Talk ever (I believe it’s over 20 million). If you don’t have time right now (it’s 18 minutes) make space in your day today. Do.Not.Wait. You might ask, “But Jennifer, he’s talking about businesses

Follow Jennifer’s Winter Training Program
Here is a short video of my VO2 max test at the Vail Vitality Center in Vail, Colorado, where I will be teaching a periodized winter training program this year. We have brand new FreeMotion bikes with power, and I plan to write about the bikes, our workouts, and my students’ progress. This should prove very helpful if you are planning a winter training program at your own facility, so stay tuned!

Ideas For Incorporating a “Buddy System” Into Your Rides
This article by Bicycling magazine about incorporating a “buddy system” into a century ride to encourage the riders struggling at the back of the pack got me thinking of ways to utilize this in our own challenging rides. Read the article and let me know your ideas!

Halloween Cycling Classes From Around the World!
Here are a handful of fun photos from Halloween theme rides from around the globe. If you taught a Halloween ride and want to share it with us, please post your photos to our Facebook page. We’d love to see how much fun you all had in your classes. Halloween is without a doubt one of the most fun theme rides you can do!

Tell This To ALL Your New Students!
Last week I gave you numerous tips (28 in total!) on how to create a non-intimidating beginner class where new students will feel comfortable their first time on an indoor bicycle. I asked for input from members who teach beginner classes. One suggestion was so good that it warrants its own post!

Watch This AWESOME Spooky Trailer For Off Road’s Halloween Ride
ICA member Tammar Berger, owner of Off Road Indoor Cycling in Washington, DC, created this amazing short trailer for their upcoming Halloween ride. She gave a few quick tips on how she did it, but it made me think…what would you think if we created a course on how to do this yourself? Video is incredibly powerful to promote your program—you might as well take advantage of it!

DiscoPhantom—Halloween (Deepspirits Mix)
Here is a super remix of Halloween by Deepspirits. Who is that? Well, it’s our very own Jorg from Germany, who used to write music posts for ICA! I think you’ll love this remix for your Halloween rides!

I was headed to the gym for a workout, and upon reaching the entrance, bumped into a friend of mine who looked as if she had just been run over by a bus. Knowing the unlikelihood of large motor vehicles operating in the club, I decided to ask her what happened.

An Inspirational Song Everyone Should Have
This is not one of our weekly music suggestions, but a song that I think every instructor around the world should have. Not only is it beautiful, but the message is so powerful. Thanks to Jeanne Sims of Long Island who posted it on Facebook this morning… I immediately bought it and put it in my inspirational playlists to use at a later date.

More Than a Ride
Many of the instructors I know give a ton back to our community. In addition to going above and beyond preparing our regular classes (even though the pay we receive often does not come close to compensating us for our effort), hundreds of instructors participate in charity rides and events to help organizations with their mission. Like many, I’ve had the honor of leading and participating in indoor cycling benefit rides. Although the cause and mission is serious, these events are some of the most fun and inspiring times I’ve spent on an indoor bike.

So You Want to Be a “Master Instructor”? (Or Just a Kick-Butt Instructor!?)
Have you ever dreamed of becoming a master instructor for an indoor cycling program (or any fitness program)? I believe that the steps to becoming an MI are similar to the steps of simply being be the best indoor cycling coach possible. In other words, even if you don’t care to present at conferences or train other instructors, if you take many of the steps outlined in this post, you cannot help but grow into an exceptional kick-butt coach and trainer!

Exuding Passion as a Spinning® Instructor!
Davide Camerini, a longtime ICA member and Spinning® instructor from Italy who I originally met at WSSC, has a blog titled La Passione Per L’Indoor Cycling. Check out his level of passion in his blog!

Jens Voigt’s Playlist for the Hour Record and How to Watch It Live
Tomorrow, Jens Voigt is set to challenge the one-hour record for cycling. Here is the info so you can watch it live, as well as Jens playlist. For you cycling fans, how about creating a time trial class from these tunes?

Your Students NEED You! Here’s Why…
They need you to inspire them in ways you’ve never done before! Intrinsic coaching, visualization, powerful motivations, and more. They need new, fun, and challenging profiles that don’t take you hours to put together. Epic climbs, effective intervals, challenging racing scenarios, fun games, and theme rides, etc. ICA can help!

His Legs Don’t Get to Shut Up Quite Yet!
Shortly after racing the last bicycle race of his career, Jens Voigt announced a few days ago that he is going to attempt the World One Hour record. That means he’s not leaving his adoring fans quite yet! Are you as excited as me to hear this? Here are some of my memories of Jens Voigt, and photos from the USA Pro Cycling Championship in 2013 and 2014.

Just Got Certified, Now What? Part 2: Creating Your Profile
Part 1 of our new instructor series focused on providing numerous coaching tips to ease you into your first couple of classes. This article will focus on profile creation tips, one of the biggest hurdles for new instructors.

Ever Ride to Live Music and Dance?
A month ago I told you about the series of Journey Rides that Charleston Ride studio in South Carolina was hosting this summer. I’ve been following their Facebook page as they post the promotions and follow-ups to these special events. Last week was the ride Into Africa, taught by Dan Boland, and I was able…

Food For Thought: Does “Picture How You’ll Look In That Dress!” Motivate Your Riders?
Some instructors motivate their students to reach the top of that hill because of the way it will make them feel, for the confidence it will build in them, for the realization that if they can do that, they can do anything they set their minds to. Others yell at riders to push to the top of the mountain so they can fit into a certain dress for the summer, or because they’ll look good when they go out at night. Which one are you?

Is Indoor Cycling NOT Intended for Cyclists?
This post was prompted by some great points made by ICA member Chuck on the article titled, “How To HIIT on Outdoor Riders.” The overarching question is: “Why are we trying to bring outdoor riders to indoor cycling classes?” We’d love your input…

Handling Objections to “Keeping it Real” in a Heart-Centered Way
Have you encountered a challenge when trying to respond to people’s comments, critiques, or attacks about cycling-specific techniques or the Keep it Real philosophy? Would you like a template to answer the naysayers using non-confrontational, heart-centered means of responding, without putting down the individual? Then help me compile the most challenging questions, and I’ll create a template for you!

Your Ticket to Becoming a Rockstar Instructor!
Last May we announced our exciting new coaching app for indoor cycling instructors. Well, just before submitting it to Apple, I had the good fortune to talk about it with an expert on product naming and branding. While that meant delaying the launch of the app by two months, I am excited to announce that we’ve submitted to Apple!

Riding Outdoors 101: Gearing Up
This is a repost of an article by Robert Baldi from last year on gearing. One of the beauties of indoor cycling is that it inspires many instructors to become cyclists, and some instructors even inspire their students to ride outside (one of my favorite things). But sometimes the world of cycling can be a little intimidating. At ICA, we want to help you discover the world of outdoor riding and help you answer your students’ questions about outdoor riding as well as indoor!

Want to Experience a Journey Ride? Watch This Video!
What is a Journey Ride? I like to think of them as rides in which a challenging profile, combined with empowering coaching, compels the rider to look inward and examine his thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations during the ride. Often incorporating visualization, they transcend the physical act of riding an indoor bike and become metaphors for challenges faced outside of the cycling studio. During the course of the ride, the rider develops a much greater sense of self, often leaving with heightened confidence and a desire to take on any challenge the world throws at them. Journey rides are magical! Go experience one for yourself at Charleston Ride!

More FUN Tour de France Stuff to Share!
Ah, these three weeks in July are probably my favorite of the entire year; few things get me more excited than the Tour de France! Here are a few of the fun TDF resources and trivia I’ve found over the past few days over social media and a few online searches. They can all add to your own TDF classes by helping you make your classes and program more interesting and to spice up your coaching.

Teaching Tour de France Stages in Your Spinning Classes? Here Are Some Fun Resources!
Who watched Stage 1 of the Tour de France today? Edge of your seat exciting!! Sorry that Cavendish is most likely out, but happy for Kittel’s win and, of course, that my very favorite Jens Voigt is in red and white. The British fans are proving that they are truly some of the biggest cycling…

We Are All Beginners at Some Things
Christine Nielsen was recently diagnosed with cancer. She is graciously writing a series of articles as she goes through her treatments and has an uncanny way of drawing parallels from life to what we do as indoor cycling instructors. This article on being a “newbie” cancer patient might inspire you to contemplate a little more deeply about the challenges our brand-new students face.

Are Celebrity Trainers Making People Fat in Your Spinning Classes?
I was interviewed for an article in ACE Fitness magazine by Amanda Vogel called “Are Celebrity Trainers Making People Fat?” The tongue-in-cheek title of the article mimics the headline that appeared in Harper’s Bazaar magazine last fall called “Is Spinning Making You Fat?” Amanda asks whether fitness professionals stay silent or take a stand against the popular but misleading headlines propagated by the media.

Cycling Lessons from the Cancer Clinic
In my journey through the health care system I have been observing the interactions I have with “authorities.” When you become a patient, everyone who carries the key to your wellness is an authority. It is an interesting turn of events for someone like me who is accustomed to being the leader and the one that has the answers. I can learn some valuable lessons from the experience of being on the “other” side. The first and very salient lesson came in the form of an experience with language.

Everybody was Pissed, Including Me
A few months ago I walked into a class I have been teaching for 10 years and everyone was in a tizzy. This is not the usual energy I’m used to getting absorbed in. Before I was able to ask what was wrong, a member asked me if I was aware of the stereo situation. As the word “no” was exiting my mouth, the member hit me with the bad news…

Spinning Drills Taken Outdoors
I love drills in my indoor cycling classes. Here at ICA we try to teach you how to do technical drills of all kinds—cadence drills, pedal stroke drills to improve technique, intensity drills, outdoor simulation drills (like pacelines), etc. Last week, I took my indoor drills outdoors. It was really hard to do, but by the end of an hour, the difference we all experienced was substantial. I’ll even tell you how these benefit the non-cyclists amongst your students.

You’ll Never Believe What This SoulCycle Instructor Did Next! My Mind Was Blown!
Damn, I finally did it…I wrote one of those inane headlines that are so in vogue and are only designed to get clicks. I swore I would never do it. But sadly (not just that I succumbed to the trend but also because what I’m about to say is 100% true…) it’s probably the most descriptive and honest headline I could ever write about this topic. So get ready to have your mind blown if you’re a personal trainer or care about how fitness is taught.

Help Us Compile the Best Spinning® and Indoor Cycling Songs of the 1980s
What are your favorite songs of the 1980s? Here are 32 of my favorites and how I use them in a class. Please help us create the most comprehensive and fun collaboration of retro songs for indoor cycling classes ever compiled! You do not have to be an ICA member—this is for everyone, so please share!

The Wisdom of Dr. Seuss for the Indoor Cycling Instructor
“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So…get on your way!” Here are 18 famous inspirational Dr. Seuss quotes to apply to what we do in our indoor cycling classes. Feel free to share this article with your club or studio!

Where Do We Go From Here? (Part 1)
We can find ourselves asking this question when we are lost, after we have achieved a goal, or when our limit has been reached. Regardless of how you arrive at this question, the situation is the same and there is a feeling of being stuck or stalled. This feeling is a common issue among indoor cycling instructors, but not for the reason one might think.

When a Lactate Test Corroborates Your Field Test? Bingo!
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know I’m a big proponent of doing field tests to estimate your lactate threshold. I’ve done numerous metabolic tests in the past, but I’ve never had a chance to do a lactate test. Here are my results from my recent lactate test (I NAILED my LTHR!) and an analysis of one of my student’s profound aerobic improvement.

Get on Your Bike!
Are you a cycling instructor that hasn’t yet discovered the incredible joys of riding outside? Or perhaps you want to convince your students to consider riding outside. Robert gives you some tips on making the decision to become an outdoor rider. Don’t worry about cannibalizing your class numbers; in a sense, you are creating an even more committed client when you introduce them to outdoor cycling!

Here’s a Curious and Creative Threshold Cue!
I came up with a unique way to describe effort using a dog on a leash. I wouldn’t use this if you haven’t already set the stage for understanding perceived exertion at each level of intensity. It may confuse students. But once they already can identify the sensations of effort, fun and creative analogies like this add some humor and variety to your coaching.

Spinning Class: “Real” vs “Fun”
The suggestion that there is a difference between keeping it “real” and keeping it “fun” in a Spinning® class or indoor cycling class is a false dichotomy. It assumes that the population of clients for cycling classes is homogeneous in their definition of what is fun.

Jennifer Sage and ICA Featured in the Washington Post
Jennifer Sage, founder of the Indoor Cycling Association, has devoted her career to educating instructors: It’s their job to make sure students continue on the path to better health, stronger muscles and improved endurance. And they don’t always do the best job of leading the way.

What “Keep it Real” Means…And What It Does NOT Mean in Indoor Cycling Classes
The term “Keep it Real” in regards to indoor cycling has gotten a bad rap lately. This subject has been talked about a lot lately on online forums and websites, so it’s time to put the stake in the ground and describe exactly what it means and what it does NOT mean. I wrote the e-book Keep it Real in 2008, and wrote the workshop for Spinning® in 2006 which was based on that concept, so I have skin in this game.

Group Performance Displays…Would You Consider It?
Group performance displays, such as the system created by Performance IQ, can be used to successfully market your program, increase engagement and attendance, inspire students to reach goals through greater opportunities for coaching, and to keep your students loyal. What’s not to love about a system like this? Now, you can receive an exclusive $250–$500 discount on your own system for your studio!

The Dramatic Effects of Stress on Your Heart Rate Response to Exercise
In all the heart rate training articles posted at ICA, we always stress the fact that heart rate, while an effective way to monitor your intensity, is subject to many external factors that have nothing to do with the work you are performing. These factors include over-reaching, over-training, lack of sleep, dehydration, caffeine, medications, heat, humidity, stress, and others. It is important to understand the limitations of heart rate training if one is to use it properly as a training tool. One of the factors we may ignore the most is stress. I share with you a personal example of the negative effects of stress on my own heart rate. Please share this article to help others understand the body’s response to stress.

Teaching an Olympic Profile? You WANT This Album!
Are you teaching an Olympic Profile? Whether you are teaching one of the unique and inspiring profiles Christine has created or one of your own, then you want this album! The Complete Music of the Olympic Games. Available on eMusic, iTunes, Amazon. It has official themes, numerous clips of national anthems, and epic classical fanfares.

Do You Want to Pack Your Classes?
Would you like to create programming that packs the cycling class? Would you love to have your students rave about your creative, authentic profiles and inspirational coaching style? Learn how here, and see how Cykl of Toronto created a very successful program based on this concept!

Find a Nearby Facility So You Can Pedal to End Cancer!
Since Pedal to End Cancer began as Spin for Hope in New England in 2005, more than $2.6 million has been raised for the fight against cancer. What started with six clubs raising $100,000 has grown to more than 75 clubs raising nearly $400,000 last year. If you’re in New England, find out how you can participate, either by riding or hosting an event. Or simply donate to this great cause!

Are We Defacing Tabata?
Leave it to the fitness industry to aggressively destroy yet another sound athletic training concept. Hone in on certain indoor cycling circles and it can be an absolute free-for-all. It is not uncommon to see massive high-speed sprints (with little to no resistance), producing an eye-popping 20 watts (not a typo), upper-body gyrations that appear to be from a scene in the Exorcist, and now Tabata, Tabata, and more Tabata.

Is Cardio (Including Your Spinning® Class) Bad for You? (Repost)
18 months ago, following a rash of press that Spinning®, and even just plain cardio, is “bad” for you, Dr. Jennifer Klau and I got together to discuss the lack of science behind these claims. Originally the audio for this interview was for members only, but I am resurrecting this and making it free for everyone to hear. This discussion specifically goes into debunking a Charles Poliquin article about the “negatives of aerobic training”.

Power Training Chapter 4: Heart Rate vs Power Training
There is a silly division between those who train with heart monitors and those who use power meters, as if people either fall into one camp or the other. Because power meters are the latest technology, there is often an attitude that heart rate training is the old way and that power training represents the…

Ben Greenfield Asks: Is Indoor Cycling Bad For You
My interview on the Ben Greenfield podcast was posted yesterday (my third podcast in two months!) on whether indoor cycling is bad for you. Actually, Ben, who is an elite triathlete, personal trainer, and fitness blogger/podcaster/presenter, is really good with creating headlines that turn heads! Basically we discuss how to take indoor cycling classes in…

Indoor Cycle Classes: A Public Service Announcement
James Fell, my favorite irreverent fitness myth buster and journalist, has just posted an excellent article on silly techniques in indoor cycling classes. James was one of the first to publicly challenge some of the unsafe and ineffective techniques done at Soul Cycle (and other similar programs) in his front-page feature in the LA Times two years ago. Both Tom Scotto and I were interviewed for that article. You’re going to want to share this one with every instructor, student, and group exercise director or studio owner you know.

How (and WHY) to Educate Your Students, Part 1: Your Students Appreciate You!
Last month Tom wrote a post asking whether we should educate our students. It was in response to an article on another website that suggested that the role of cycling instructors is less to educate and more to entertain and give the students what they want. We feel strongly that by teaching our students the reasons why we do what we do, they will be far more likely to instill fitness into their everyday lives than those who simply are “entertained” by a rah-rah instructor. By learning how their body adapts to training they will be more likely to eschew popular gimmicks and trends in favor of more science-based training. The best part: they’ll love you in the long run!

Jennifer Sage Interviewed on Endurance Planet Podcast
Don’t miss this interview on the Endurance Planet podcast by Tawnee Prazak. Their discussion gives insight on the world of stationary bike classes with tips on finding the right class, what “trends” to avoid, power and watts, biomechanics of stationary riding, techniques for athletes, enhancing hill climbing skills, customizing your workouts in class, drills, using HR…

Introducing Gene Nacey’s Power Training E-Book
Last year we mentioned we were going to reprint the Power Training e-book written by Gene Nacey of Cycling Fusion here on the pages of the Indoor Cycling Association. I’m happy to say that we are ready to offer you a new chapter of this excellent e-book every week! We start tomorrow with Chapter 1 which will define what power is and why it’s important to both cyclists and the non-cycling indoor cycling student. Sally Edwards wrote the forward for Gene’s book, reposted here.

Teaching with Video: An Interview with David McQuillen of The Sufferfest
Get ready to suffer…well, I hope not through this interview. David McQuillen tells us the inspiration and “painful” process of creating virtual rides that push our classes to the limit.

Jennifer Sage Interviewed on the Cycling 360 Podcast
The Cycling 360 podcast aired today featuring an interview with Jennifer Sage. They discuss how a cyclist can Keep it Real in indoor cycling classes and why it’s important. The topics they discuss are relevant and important not just for cyclists, but for anyone teaching or taking any indoor cycling class anywhere. Jennifer discusses how…

You Just Wait
When it comes to overuse injures, I’d rather not wait. Cycling is an activity used by many physical therapists for rehabilitation. When done properly, cycling is gentle on the joints and muscles. When done properly.

My Mandela Tribute Ride and More Song Suggestions
Last week after the death of Nelson Mandela, I posted a link to a moving song called “Free Nelson Mandela” by Special (AKA). There were some wonderful comments on that post with song suggestions from Julieanne and Sharon. Sharon is from South Africa, living in Toronto. She taught a moving tribute ride and sent me…

Celebrate the Life of Nelson Mandela in Your Class
“After climbing a great hill, one only finds there are many more hills to climb.” ~Nelson Mandela
Use this song and this quote to celebrate the life of this amazing human being in one of your classes this week.

STUNNING VIDEO! My Favorite Coaching Cue for Perfect Form
One of my favorite visualizations for endurance rides for fifteen years now has been the image of a cheetah running in slow motion. I’d have my students close their eyes and watch the cheetah in their mind’s eye and then seek to be catlike in their own motion. Well…you won’t believe the stunning video that I discovered!

Spinning® Cadence Drills Video
Watch this video on cadence drills. While I was with Mad Dogg Athletics and Spinning® I wrote the workshop and manual for the new cadence meter when it was unveiled in 2005. I went out to Spinning® headquarters to shoot the DVD that went along with the meters, along with Doug Katona. Here is a segment from that DVD.

Get Addicted to Spinning®
I am so grateful to have been recruited to shoot a video designed to inspire women to make healthy choices, such as becoming addicted to sports and fitness. Please share this video with your students and prospective students. Hopefully together we can convince more and more women to come take your classes!

Hey Tom, I Think They Like Us!
This weekend I was compiling some of the emails and Facebook comments I’ve received and put them on our testimonial page. I am always moved when I get these comments because it shows me that we at ICA are really serving an important need and achieving our goals of helping instructors become inspiring coaches. I wanted to share a handful of them with you here.

The Tale of Two Women: From Obese to Cycling Instructor
When you read this inspiring story, ask yourself, is it possible that you have met this student in your class? You never know the impact you may have on one of your students, or potential students. Kathy Erlich-Sheffer shares her journey from an obese, timid student who fell off the bike in her first Spinning class and didn’t venture back for several years, to becoming an instructor herself. It was a nurturing instructor who changed everything for Kathy.

ICA Member Shares Hounds of Halloween SoundCloud Playlist
ICA member Ramiro Morejon is so excited to teach Christine’s Hounds of Halloween profile tomorrow. He’s been working hard on mixing the playlist and wanted to share it with you. He left this comment on the post: I just finished mixing the music for this ride. I am a fan of soundtracks. They are perfect…

IDEA: Watch Tom’s YouTube Promotion for His Class (And Start Planning Your Own!)
What if you created a video of a new class you were teaching and posted it on YouTube, then shared it with everyone you knew through e-mail and any social media platforms you are on? And then you got the studio or club to post a link on their website, newsletter, Twitter, and Facebook page?

Ticked Off to the Core!
I’m beyond irritated. After watching a couple of online instructor videos and listening to others talk about how cycling is an amazing full-body workout that targets the core, I almost don’t know where to begin. Unfortunately, it demonstrates the lack of science, training, and knowledge that should be required to call oneself an indoor cycling instructor. Those of us who are keeping the indoor cycling industry effective and real have done it via our own determination and quest for knowledge.

Free Halloween Song
Here is a free song you can download from Soundcloud called “Love Me Dead” by 2Ludo. This should be fun for your Halloween playlist. Thanks to Carole Herrell for sharing this with me!

Charleston Studio Finds That Key to Success is Empowered Instructors
Charleston RIDE, a licensed Spinning® facility in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, turns two years old this week! To celebrate the anniversary of this amazing facility, I spoke with co-owners Luciana Marcial-Vincion and Rebecca Young about what they feel are the keys to their success. I urge all instructors, studio owners and program directors to listen to this interview and watch the videos for ideas on how to raise the bar at your facility!

Joe Friel Talks About Maximum Heart Rate
If you don’t follow Joe Friel’s Blog, you should—there’s some really great information in it on a consistent basis. It will expand your own understanding of cycling training principles that you can apply to your classes. This morning was this gem in my in-box. Short and sweet, Joe tells us once again why using maximum heart rate as an anchor for training zones is not very valid.

Should You Talk to the Media? Part 1
Should indoor cycling instructors talk to the news media to promote themselves and their profession? If so, when? And how? Read this first part of a five-part series to learn from a thirty-plus year media professional and cycling instructor.

Nerd Alert!! Studied the Krebs Cycle? You’re Going to Love This!
OK, so maybe only those who have studied and are passionate the Krebs cycle will love this, but if you are an indoor cycling instructor, I hope you have more than just a cursory interest in metabolic processes. As Dr. Jennifer Klau says, “If geek and cool made a movie, this would be the soundtrack.” Or, as they say in the song, this is freaking awesome!

Free iTunes Downloads—Don’t Miss This Week’s Free Song
Do you regularly check the FREE downloads in iTunes? You should! Sometimes they really are fabulous. The song available this week is a great climbing song for your cycling classes. Here is how to check for the weekly free download on iTunes.

How Much Do You Value Your Time?
How long do you spend putting together your profiles and playlists? Depending on my mood, I can spend anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, sometimes more (especially for ones like the photo at left). Often the actual profile itself has been brewing in my head for a while; sometimes I come up with the concept while out riding my bike.

Teaching with Video
Welcome to ICA’s series on teaching with video. Our initial thoughts were to organize eight to ten articles covering various topics to help introduce those new to video and provide tips for those already living the video dream. As we put further thought into what this series would encompass, and combine that with the speed at which video is now being adopted, the series may very well transform into a regular column or topic.

ContraINDIGNATIONS™—Fast Jumps?!
Welcome to the first in a series of (unfortunately) many videos demonstrating moves and drills inappropriately used in Spinning® and indoor cycling classes. Let’s work together to stop the madness.

Thought-Provoking Concept: What Would Your Students Say About You if You Were to…Go Away?
The two recent tragic losses in the indoor cycling community has given many of us pause to reflect on our own lives. One of the comments on the post about Jim Karanas’ passing by one of his students so beautifully expressed the impact he had on her life. It makes one wonder, “what would my students say about me and the effect I had on them if I were to die?” Are you willing to ask that question, and take the steps necessary to make sure you knew the answer?

Free Music!
Special thanks to ICA member Davide Camerini for sending me this free music download. It’s an album called Ethnoscapes and has eight downtempo tracks.

How I Taught Stage 18 up Alpe d’Huez (twice) this Morning
This morning was my first day back to my class after a three-week hiatus for my trip to the Tour de France. In honor of our climb up Alpe d’Huez, I decided to teach Tom Scotto’s profile for Stage 18 from the ICA Tour de France package. It was, in a word, amazing! I used…

Tom Scotto and Jennifer Sage Talk About Her Trip to the Tour de France
Tom was finally able to sit down and talk with Jennifer about her trip to the Tour de France. Listen as she describes how she got started as a Tour de France fanatic and how many times she’s been to the Tour. Tom asks her how indoor cycling has helped her (and her clients) prepare…

Catching Up with Jennifer and Keeping the TDF Off the Streets
Connecting with Jennifer Sage and my only pet peeve about the Tour de France.

A Sprinter’s Take on Climbing Strategies
Before I contribute a few of my favorite climbing strategies, I want to share my perspective on climbing. Because I’m mostly a sprinter, one might wonder what climbing strategies I have to offer. Well, if anyone has strategies for climbing, it would be a person who knows suffering is always involved.

Strategies For Strength In Your Spinning Classes
Climbing big mountains is a rite of passage for cyclists. Getting you and your bicycle up that hill in defiance of gravity is one of the most difficult aspects of riding a bicycle, but it is also one of the great attractions to cycling. Overcoming the mountain challenges you; it bares your soul; it asks you to perform beyond what you thought was even possible. Over the next few weeks, Tom and I will be giving you our favorite strategies—both physical and mental—to get you and your students over that hump. We’ll be drawing from our own experience climbing long, hard mountains.

Are You Teaching Tour de France Stages? Here Are Some Resources and Cues That Will Help!
Are you teaching stages of the Tour de France in your Spinning/cycling classes? I’ve got some resources for you. If you’ve never done it before, I encourage you to try. Students, even those who don’t follow cycling or ride outside, generally enjoy these classes immensely. Its hard not to—they have everything we love about indoor cycling: high energy, passion, excitement, intensity and the mind-body focus. Throw in some strategy and intrigue and you have a recipe for huge success!

Improving Your Coaching Skills: Can You Fake it Till You Become It?
How confident and powerful are you? How are you perceived by your students, clients, bosses and peers? This stunning video from an inspirational Ted Talk shows you that just by making small changes in your body language, you can change how you are viewed for the better and drastically improve your self-confidence. The lessons are very applicable to what we do as instructors, coaches and trainers. I’d love your thoughts on this video. Please feel free to share this with anyone you think might benefit from this fantastic information.

Take Your Class Outside
When the weather gets nice, sometimes it’s fun to take your classes outdoors. Here is a checklist of things to consider before doing so. For those of you who do take your classes outside, please let us know how you handle the items on this checklist. I’d like to make this an interactive post so we can see how clubs across the world deal with this!

How to Waste an Hour of Your Time in the Cycling Studio
I was interviewed the other day for a major magazine, based out of New York. The journalist wanted to separate fact from fiction and find out whether “Spinning” can cause big thighs and other burning questions. I won’t tell you who it was quite yet—the article is not slated to appear until September, and it’s…

Christian Music: Should You Play it in Your Indoor Cycling Class
Bill Roach has had students request Christian music for his playlists, and Jennifer Sage has had instructors who have requested Christian music suggestions for ICA. Have you had these requests from your students? What have you done? Bill gives you some ideas for how to approach this kind of request, with input from Jennifer Sage, Gene Nacey, and Tom Scotto. We provide you with some song suggestions from this genre, and welcome all of your own. Please give us your input on this potentially touchy subject!

Instructor Rises Up in the Face of Adversity
Shirin arrived to the studio and started getting ready for the 90-minute class, as students were beginning to file in. She turns on the stereo, and….nothing. No sound. No music. No mic. They did everything they could to try to figure it out. To no avail. Class was about to start and Shirin had to make a decision. What followed was a momentous experience that all of her students will remember for a long time. You want to hear about this, you might get some pointers on engaging your students when faced with an obstacle!

Instructors: How Varied Are Your Class Offerings?
As an indoor cycling instructor, I believe your job is to lead your students to greater fitness, provide motivation and inspiration, educate them, and have fun in the process. In fulfilling these obligations, you want to have a mix of the elements listed in this article in your quiver of classes. These aren’t energy zones or specific types of profiles, rather they could be what is stated as an objective (or sub-objective) for your profile.

Hand Positions on a Bike (Video)
If you are an ICA member, or have known me for a long time in the Spinning® and indoor cycling community, you would probably know that I’m not a big proponent of standing out of the saddle with the hands on the tops of the handlebars…

Don’t Just Sit There! Lifestyle Lessons From Recent Research
Dr. Jennifer Klau gives it to you straight. The data are in, and sitting is not what our bodies are meant to be doing for long periods. But don’t take that to mean the time on your bike; it’s the other 23 hours of the day you need to be concerned with!

Riding Outdoors 101: Gearing Up
One of the beauties of indoor cycling is that it inspires many instructors to become cyclists, and some instructors even inspire their students to ride outside (one of my favorite things). But sometimes the world of cycling can be a little intimidating. At ICA, we want to help you discover the world of outdoor riding and help you answer your students’ questions about outdoor riding as well as indoor!

Incredible New Cue For Balancing Intensity
In my periodized 12-week cycling clinic, today is the first day we intentionally went into Zone 5 (above threshold) for longer than a handful of seconds. Yup, HIT baby! I used an incredible cue that I learned from Gene Nacey to help my students understand the importance of balance. In fact, it’s also a teaser to an upcoming product you all may be interested in. . . .

Do You Teach on RealRyders? You Want This!
I have a RealRyder at home, but unfortunately there’s no clubs near me where I can teach on them. Tonight, I decided to try out another EpicRides DVD. Wow! The one I chose was perfect for the RealRyder, with turns, intensity, and excitement galore. You don’t HAVE to have a bike that leans, but it sure made that aspect of this virtual ride pretty fun! . . .

IHRSA Show Oozing With Technology But Cycling Fusion Leading the Way!
Gene Nacey has been exploring the floor of the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association annual trade show and gives us an update. He says that what has transpired in the last two years is nothing less than astounding. It’s like everyone got their invitation to the technology party at the same time, but they all couldn’t decide if they wanted to go or not. Well, seems like this party is finally getting started. And Cycling Fusion has been leading the way!

Audio Master Class: Guru in the Mountains
Guest Instructor Juliet Underill presents her epic ride The Guru in the Mountains. Per Juliet’s request, we are making this available to all instructors, as a free offering. This ride not only is a very special journey ride, but Juliet gives tips for instructors teaching a ride like this for the first time, how to overcome the jitters of stepping outside of your comfort zone…

Dr. Jennifer Klau Defines Stress and How it Affects the Body
Everyone has heard that stress has negative effects on the body, but do you know how much? Do you know how to tell if it’s affecting you or how to mitigate it? In this interview with Dr. Jennifer Klau, she shares some valuable tips with you, not only as an active person, but how you as an instructor can help your very active students assess and manage their own stress. Dr. Klau’s dissertation was on the subject of stress, so she knows a thing or two about it!

One Instructors Superhero Cape Experience
This week’s article on wearing your superhero cape in the indoor cycling room has generated some great stories by instructors. I want to share one of these successful stories with everyone to inspire you to do the same if you are confronted with rude or challenging students. When Chuck took over a class, he was faced with a student who sarcastically said, “There’s a new sheriff in town!” Read how Chuck took ownership of the class; there is now a waiting list to get in!

If They’re Bored, You’re Boring
For so many years I’ve heard cycling / Spinning instructors lament that “Students get bored if the class is cycling specific, so I need to [add CI move here] or they won’t come to class!” Well, I have news for you…maybe it’s not the moves or technique that are boring; maybe it’s you? On that note, here are 14 ways you can be sure to keep students engaged without resorting to silly gimmicks on the bike. Make this your Instructor New Year’s Revolution!

How To Lose Those Last 10 Pounds
Dr. Haley Perlus has launched a new e-book called How to Lose Those Last 10 Pounds. But this isn’t a typical diet or exercise book; in fact, it’s neither of those. Dr. Haley takes the approach she uses with her elite athletes who need to focus on their goals, and applies them to weight loss. After reading the book, I am convinced that these techniques will apply to just about ANYTHING you want to commit yourself to, but simply need a little mental training assistance to get there. Instructors, this book will help you help your students achieve success!

The Instructor as Catalyst for “Revolution”

As instructors we find ourselves in the position of supporting our students and inspiring them to set goals and find ways to reach them, particularly at this time of year. But, as Jennifer points out, we all need a Revolution. That revolution can start with you. Perhaps the change you make this year should include a different way of interacting with your classes. Instead of reacting to their goals, consider setting some challenging goals for them. After all, you are in a position to know their strengths and potential. You have unique insights into the world that lies beyond their imagination.

How Two Instructors Used the Cheetah Video to Inspire Students
Two weeks ago I shared an amazing video of a cheetah running in slow motion that reminded me of a visualization that I used from my early days of teaching Spinning. ICA member Rebecca shared with me her and another instructor’s experience of using this video in their class, as well as their music. Hopefully this will inspire you to do something similar.

Mastering the Mental Side of Overcoming Challenge

I interviewed Tom Scotto about how an instructor should verbalize really hard efforts to students. This time I interviewed Dr. Haley Perlus, sports psychologist, an expert on motivation of the mental side of challenge. Dr. Perlus discusses when it is and isn’t appropriate to push through pain. Then she gives us 5 important tips on how to motivate our own students in our classes through the most challenging types of rides. Part 1 of this interview is FREE and includes 2 of the 5 motivational methods.

STUNNING VIDEO! My Favorite Coaching Cue for Perfect Form
One of my favorite visualizations for endurance rides for fifteen years now has been the image of a cheetah running in slow motion. I’d have my students close their eyes and watch the cheetah in their mind’s eye and then seek to be catlike in their own motion. Well…you won’t believe the stunning video that I discovered today!

Yin and Yang Pedal Stroke
Last night I had a strange dream about teaching Spinning. It was an instructor’s nightmare, kind of like Groundhog Day in that I kept coming back to the same room, same people, same situation, but different things kept going wrong. However, something very good came from this dream, and I woke at 5 am to write down the lesson I learned which I’m sharing with you here: the yin and yang of the pedal stroke.

Are Your Spinning Class Warm-Ups Sufficient? Part 1
I used to race mountain bikes years ago, but if I knew then what I know now about proper warm-ups I might have done better, or at least been better prepared! This free article is Part 1 of a series on how to create effective warm-ups for Spinning classes that are targeted to the type of class you are leading. The purpose of this first article is to get you to pose the question to yourself, “Are you warming up properly in your classes? What can you be doing better?”

Why Your Students Should Think of Themselves as Athletes

Two past ICA articles by Tom Scotto encouraged instructors to think of their students as athletes, and to design their program and profiles to reflect that mindset. ICA contributor Bill Roach has taken this a step further and asked his students to think of themselves as athletes. Here is his message to his students in his recent newsletter.

Keeping Indoor Cycling Fun While Keeping it Real
Today’s article is very timely since I taught the “Why Should I Keep it Real?” workshop twice while in Europe this past month. I sincerely wish every instructor could take this workshop; there is so much important information in how to do exactly what Mark is discussing in this article. He gives his take on how to keep the class fun while still staying true to cycling. He calls it “Learn While You Burn”

Level 2 Indoor Cycling Certification Offered by Cycling Fusion as an Online Course
Cycling Fusion continues to offer ground breaking opportunities to increase your education as an indoor cycling coach. Their all-day Level 2 certification was just filmed live with Sally Edwards and Tom Scotto. Anyone who purchases it will have access for six months, making this an incredible way to take a certification course.

Powerful Words Create Performances in the Olympics…and in Your Cycling Class

Don’t think your words are truly powerful? Think again. You, the indoor cycling coach, have an amazing opportunity to empower your students through your choice of words and how you wield them.

Approaches to Teaching: Fitness Versus Athletic Training

Part 1. Join Tom Scotto and me as we discuss two approaches to teaching: the fitness model versus the athletic model. There is nothing wrong with fitness training, but if you start training your students more like athletes, even if they never ride outside, they are more likely to experience success. Find out why.

Part 1: The REAL skinny on burning calories in your indoor cycling classes!
As indoor cycling coaches in the fitness field, we have a responsibility to our students to give them the TRUTH, don’t you agree? Unfortunately, it’s not as common as it should be. The biggest culprit? Claims of calories burned in indoor cycling (or many other) classes. Listen as I interview Danielle Foster, Master Trainer for CycleOps and expert on teaching with power. Danielle and I discuss where caloric expenditure actually comes from and what numbers are really the truth when it comes to how many calories are possible to burn in your classes. This is part 1 of our discussion; Part 2 will be for ICA members only.

Instructors/trainers – create your own website for free!
Want to look more professional? Want to retain your students better? Remember their names and goals more easily? Then you are going to love this amazing opportunity to create your own website so that you can tell your students about your teaching schedule. Best of all…it’s free and simple! Check out .

Not all intervals are created equal! Why you need to learn more about intervals in cycling classes

How much do you really know about interval training? Do you realize that the intensity, duration and recovery amounts should change depending on your goal and the benefit you want to achieve? Take this 24-question test to see how much you really know about interval training. ICA is embarking on a 2-month interval training intensive…by the end of May, you will feel like you’ve taken weeks of workshops and be an interval expert!

Cycling Economy: burn fewer calories?
You’ve heard me talk about improving efficiency by helping students improve their technique. But did you know that doing so might decrease caloric burn? Yup, you heard me right. But wait! Don’t go deciding not to help students improve their form because you’re afraid they’ll mutiny if they knew about that calorie thing. There’s more to it…Let Joe Friel educate you on this topic.

Is Cardio (including Spinning®) bad for you?

The anti-cardio brigade has been out in full force the past few months, leaving nothing in its wake. To them, running, cardio machines, and Spinning® classes are all bad for you, will make you fat, make you age faster, will wreck your immune system and possibly even render you infertile. These claims are supposedly “supported” by research articles….at least until Dr. Klau and I examine them a little more closely. Maybe they didn’t think anyone would have the guts to check the articles they cite!

Instructors – how is your “Social Proprioception”?

As an instructor, how aware are you of how your actions and demeanor affect others around you, even when you are not teaching? Could a few minor changes in your “social proprioception” help you increase your class numbers, or make them more open to what you have to say? This is part of our series on creating community and increasing your class size.

Free song for everyone – Slow Down!

This is a free song offered by the Swiss transportation safety board, a gentle reminder for everyone to slow down to promote road safety. It makes for a great cool-down, listen to the words and take them literally – a great message for all of us for the new year. Thanks to ICA member Moritz from Switerland for this heads up!

What is Soul Cycle Doing Right? Do You Want Some of That Success?
Soul Cycle has created a brand that is buzzing with financial success. How have they done that? Can you learn from them, while still staying true to proper training principles and “keeping it real”? Examine what you are doing at your facility and see if you can implement any of these suggestions to take your program’s success up a few notches.

Why You Shouldn’t do an Upper Body Workout While Pedaling in Your Indoor Cycling Class

Suppose you hired a personal trainer. At your first session, your trainer, Jack, hands you 1lb weights. You look at him doubtfully, but he smiles and says, “trust me! Do 100 of these.” So you do 100 biceps curls and shoulder presses and a few other exercises until your muscles are burning so much you can barely lift your arms… Most people with any fitness knowledge would read this and agree that Jack should probably be fired…but why is it OK in an indoor cycling class?

What I am Grateful For
There are so many things I am grateful for in my life, and one of them is YOU, not only the members of ICA but for everyone who reads what I write and follows what I’ve been doing. YOU make everything worthwhile! Wayne Dyer said, “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life!” and I assure you, it is so very true! I love educating and inspiring instructors and in doing so, I can say I have an abundant life. Thank you!

Heart Rate Training – the Theory
In this very interesting FREE audio interview with Jennifer Klau, PhD, we discuss almost everything you’ll want to know about HR Training. Warning: it may shake your beliefs about heart rate training too. This is Part 1. In Part 2, we will move from theory to practical application – how to do assessments and what to do with the numbers.

Fueling Myth #1: You need to eat within 20-60 minutes post-workout
Ben Greenfield is an expert in sports nutrition, a health and fitness blogger and podcaster, and a personal trainer and triathlon coach. He will be sharing a series of nutrition myths on ICA to answer some of your and your students’ questions.

From Ordinary Instructor to Extraordinary Coach Part 2 – from C.O.R.E. Cycling
This is Part 2 of the article from Clair Cafaro of C.O.R.E. Cycling. There is some incredible advice in these suggestions – I hope you share this with every coach you know. Here’s to being the best indoor cycling coach you can be!

From Ordinary Instructor to Extraordinary Coach – from C.O.R.E. Cycling

Since it is part of our credo at ICA to help instructors transform their coaching from ordinary to extraordinary, the moment I saw this article on the C.O.R.E. Cycling website, I knew I had to share it with my readers. Clair Cafaro graciously agreed to let me post it for you. Here’s to being the best indoor cycling coach you can be!

Never Forget the Beginner’s Mindset

Guest contributor Bryon Black, a longtime instructor reminds us to never forget our, or our students’ first time on a bike. If you are a seasoned instructor you will want to always refer back to your early days as a coach, and if you are a new instructor, keep these tips in mind as you continue on your journey as a coach.

Ask the Expert: What if an instructor won’t use air conditioning?
An ICA member asked what I thought about an instructor he knew who teaches without A/C or fans, and asked about the potential dangers for the students. This is a serious subject. Some instructors still buy into that “macho” image of sweat until you drop, without understanding the dangers. This article provides the ACSM guidelines as well as the physiology of thermoregulation.

The “How-To” guide for Hovers. What???
Want to learn How to Hover? Read this ENTIRE article, as well as my comments!

Keiser Indoor Cycling Evolution – progressing and moving on from “hovers”
Suzette O’Byrne, Keiser Master Instructor, discusses the evolution of Keiser’s methodology since she first started with them many years ago. Over the years, our understanding of biomechanics and physiology has changed, and we must adapt and change as we learn new things. Read how Keiser has implemented positive changes.

Scheduling your indoor cycling classes: how to offer variety for both students and instructors
In my recent Ask the Expert article, I answered a question from Andrea who has been scheduled to teach one Endurance and one Strength class per week. Classes are the same every week on the club’s schedule. I found a sample of a schedule I created in 2002 that shows how to offer variety across the board for instructors and students.

Amazing motivational speech about riding a bike from a 4-year old! Show this one to your students!
This Youtube video will move you to tears, while laughing at the same time. Hire this little guy to pump up your classes! Instructors – take notes!

“Spinning® is not Cycling” – a quote from an instructor
Recently, an instructor asked what we thought about doing “push-ups” in class. A couple of us remarked that push-ups have no place in a class. But he offered the suggestion that it might have a place in an “advanced class” in order to offer an upper body workout and suggested that it “goes with the rhythm”. He also added that he was taught that cycling and Spinning® are two different things. He said he is a “champion in cycling, but “Spinning isn’t cycling”.

What can Indoor Cycling Instructors Learn From the World of Wine?

This article originally appeared on Jennifer’s blog FunhogSpins in December of 2009. It is a unique comparison between indoor cycling instructors and winemakers, highlighting how their skills and education behind the scenes creates an amazing product. The consumer may or may not understand the science, they only know that this is their favorite!

The Myth of Maximum Heart Rate
This is a reprint of an article on Jennifer’s previous blog, which has become the basis for the heart rate training philosophy of the Indoor Cycling Association. That Max HR chart you are using? You might want to toss it for good.

Wow! We didn’t do any jumps and I got an awesome workout!

This is a comment that Kala made on Facebook about one of her new students, who is obviously used to constant changes of position and intensity in the other classes she’s taken. Not that you shouldn’t jump, but this shows that they aren’t necessary for a great workout.

Sage Advice Blog Posts – Always Free
Here are just a handful of the 235 (as of 3/22/13) blog posts

Pushups while Spinning: Why or Why Not?

Josh Taylor, the Spinning Voice of Reason

Is Your Saddle Set Up Correctly?

6 Reasons Why Biking Can Help You Lose Weight

Music Motivates You—It’s Scientifically Proven!

What to Say When Your Students Want to do Crunches

Can You Trust Cardio Machine Calorie Counters?

What Does Being a Spinning®/Cycling Instructor Mean to You?

14 Types of Spinning Instructors You Should Make Sure You Are Not!

Send a Newsletter to Your Cycling Students to Motivate Them

8 Ways to Keep Your Students Coming Back

You May Never Know the Impact You Have on Your Students

Is the Spinning® Brand Important?

The Risks of Low Cadence and High Resistance

Excellent Article on IDEA, All Instructors Please Read!

The Truth About Indoor Cycling Cadence

Spinning and Core Training Video (ummm…not Really!)

Keep it Real is in Good Company

How Indoor Cycling Can Make You Happier

Indoor Cycling in the Heat—Are You Out of Your Mind?

Ralph Nader of Indoor Cycling?

This Video Should Be Seen By Every Trainer and Coach

LA Times the First to Challenge Upper Body Workout in an Indoor Cycling Class

How Cyclists Should Approach Indoor Cycling Classes

Keep Learning From Endurance Coaches and Methods

This Could Be the Craziest and Most Dangerous Class I’ve Ever Seen

Learn About the Lactate Threshold From Lucille Ball

The Seven Deadly Sins of Spinning

The Litmus Test for HIT Intervals

Let’s Ignore Science and Do What We Want on a Bike!



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