TOP GUN Anniversary Profile!

Everything old is new once again!  Can you believe it’s the 35th anniversary of the movie Top Gun and the remake will be released in just a few weeks? If that doesn’t make you feel older, I’m not sure what will! (At least to those of us who remember the thrill of watching this movie when it first came out.) We first posted this profile in 2012, but it’s time to dust off the cobwebs and bring it back. Top Gun lives again! Thanks, Robert Baldi!

Get your boosters ready because your class will blast off with this master class by ICA contributor Robert Baldi. Robert was inspired by the 3D re-release of Top Gun, and as he watched the movie again he realized it had the perfect ingredients for an amazing interval ride, not to mention the very popular playlist. Robert uses fighter pilot–inspired cues for each interval and has interjected some of the best quotes from the movie, so not only is this profile challenging and fun, but it is totally authentic!

I’ve known Robert for years through online Spinning forums, and WSSC and other conferences. Robert is an avid cyclist and follows the Keep it Real principle in his profiles and coaching. He has a special ability to create cycling-specific yet engaging and fun profiles.

He’s ridden many of the most famous cols in France and brings that experience into his classes. If you purchased our Tour de France packages in the past, you’ll recognize Robert as the creator of several excellent stage profiles in our series. 

The profile consists of two practice flights (intervals) followed by six high-intensity rounds at VO2 max intensity. That’s a lot!

Top Gun Trivia

Top Gun was released in 1986, and we’re getting close to the 30th anniversary…dang, that makes me feel old! As Robert and I discuss in the audio, one of my favorite scenes is the one in which they sing “You Lost That Loving Feeling,” so you can be sure I’ll put that song in for my cool-down when I teach this ride, although Robert chose a different song (he explains why in the audio). But everyone in your class on the north side of 30 years old will feel some connection to the playlist and theme of this ride, and if your students are younger, there’s a good chance they may be watching the newly released 3D version.

Top Gun

Robert piqued my interest with some of the trivia about the film so I checked it out on Wikipedia. You might find it interesting as well, and may want to tell your students some of the history of the filming of the movie. For instance, did you know that a pilot was killed during the filming of the movie when his plane crashed into the ocean off the coast of Southern California? Did you know that the movie has grossed over $350 million? Did you know that the director, Tony Scott, wrote a check for $25,000 to the commanding officer of the USS Enterprise so he would turn it around to film a 5-minute segment of the movie in order to get better sun? Did you know that the soundtrack is still one of the top grossing soundtracks to date, reaching 9X Platinum? Betcha didn’t know that Bryan Adams turned down an offer to produce a song for the album because he felt that it glorified war! It doesn’t surprise me that sales of aviator glasses increased by 40% following the movie’s release (not to mention bomber jackets and Navy recruiting)! Shows you the power of product placement in movies. Finally, did you know that Kelly McGillis, after two divorces, was united in 2010 in a civil union with her partner of 10 years, Melanie Leis?

Did you know it became the greatest military recruiting tool ever and is credited with improving aerial combat training in the navy?

On a personal level, I found some of the filming information interesting because I grew up a Navy brat in San Diego in the 1970s and ’80s. My father worked for a short time at the (now decommissioned) Naval Training Center at Miramar before he retired from the Navy after 21 years in the early 1980s. I hadn’t realized that was the location of the Top Gun training (no, my father did not work in that department). I do remember visiting there and going shopping at the Miramar Naval Exchange with my mother, especially for Christmas shopping! Earlier in his career, my father had been a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War and flew reconnaissance planes during the war off the aircraft carrier Constellation.607b

ICA members can download the PDF and listen to the audio of Robert describing how to effectively teach this exciting profile below.



  1. Used this profile as our Thanksgiving Ride this year. I gave out aviator glasses to everyone who signed up and decorated the room with photos from the movie. The response was amazing. The energy in the room was palpable. Thank you so much Jennifer and Robert for this profile. The class is already asking when we are going to do it again. Big big hit!

  2. Being a fan of the movie, I was happy to finally have an opportunity to use this in 45 minute class this week. Our clients enjoyed it very much. The zen quality of the recovery time between songs was a teachable moment, since it allowed me to help the class appreciate the benefits of active recovery to be able to put that much more into the next ‘flight’ interval. Many of the clients and some of our instructors think an interval is the whole 45 minute class…

  3. An official THANK YOU to ICA and Robert Baldi for a week of great fun with the Top Gun profile. I wore my US Army jersey, shades and dog tags (no pics sorry). I did 45min and 60min versions. Both on MatrixIC7 bikes with consoles and old school spinners just going with the beat. Great success! People laughed and sang along. I particularly loved the cues Robert provided. I also researched more quotes. Scarily in a few gyms people were too young to know what Top Gun was?!?! But I had great feedback. One girl had the biggest grin when I put the shades on and asked: what do you think will be the theme today? And after the class she said: Now I will have to watch the movie again and I am supposed to be revising! Today people said how much they appreciated the effort I put in creating my classes. I also bought extra dog tags and was giving them away at the end of the last two flights for people who were putting the most effort in. Regardless of their numbers etc. 100% commitment earned you a trophy. A guy in his mid forties looked so proud leaving the room with the tags around his neck 🙂

  4. I shortened the profile to use just the last 25minutes of my class. They loved it! I have a lot of people over 50 so I didn’t want them to overdo it with the full profile but still be able to train hard for a little bit. Thanks for the great ideas as always!

  5. I saw the original post for this in the archives a couple of weeks ago & planned to use it this week. Didn’t realize the 30th anniversary of release in the U.S. is tomorrow until later. Teaching it at 6am tomorrow & in an evening time slot later in the week. Needed to fit it to a 55 minute class so I’m using “Take My Breath Away” as the only warmup song & will ease the riders into the first “test flight”. Since it wasn’t in any release of the film, I’m swapping out “Rebel Yell” for “The Final Countdown” (in a 2006 release) and like you I had to use “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” in the cooldown. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  6. The air combat scenes were completely hokey, but I loved the movie anyway. I talked to a Naval aviator some years after the movies was filmed, and at that time he was the Executive Officer of Topgun. Though he wasn’t there when the movie was filmed, he told me that the aviators who were there placed bets each morning on how quickly they could make Tom Cruise throw up. The role of Maverick was poorly researched and written, in my opinion. I don’t think any Navy flyer would have done the stupid, dangerous things that Maverick did. All that having been said, I still loved the movie.

    1. Author

      that is funny about making Tom Cruise throw up!

      Yeah, it doesn’t seem right that such arrogance (at least to THAT level) would be allowed, especially if it might endanger equipment or the team.

      But, it’s hard not to love the film!

  7. Tried this routine out today in class. Heard lots of people express what a good workout it was! Thanks much! Love the music! Brought back memories 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *