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Ask an Expert Group X In Print

Q&A with Jesse Thomas


IMG_4350webYou have questions, we have answers. We took some time this month to speak with Jesse Thomas, the director of group fitness for Active Sports Clubs, on indoor cycling’s low-impact, cardio-intense benefits.

Why should clubs incorporate indoor cycling?

JT: Indoor cycling is a fun, safe, low impact type of exercise that is suitable for anyone, from first timers to elite athletes, in an easy-to-control environment. Indoor cycling offers multiple types of programming to capture all audiences alike, while effectively increasing both cardiovascular and functional performance levels.

How have you seen indoor cycling grow and change over the past five to 10 years?

JT: We have seen the introduction of forward-motion video content to create the sensation of riding outdoors. In addition, many types of choreography moves or combined dumbbell exercise routines have been included within programming. Most significantly, bikes have become equipped with technology and computers that measure power in the form of watts. Some indoor bikes will also measure cadence, heart rate, resistance, speed, caloric expenditure, time spent in different training zones — all to help riders track specific metrics tailored to their training regimen.

What should employers look for when searching for top cycling instructors?

JT: Employers should look for a combination of personality, coaching, knowledge and musical inclination. A good cycling instructor can get by with one or two of these traits, but a great cycling instructor has all of the above.

What are some new group cycling trends that clubs should look out for?

JT: As the indoor cycles become more accurate at measuring watts, we will start to see indoor cycling crossover into the small group, high intensity training programs, as well as personal training and performance assessment programs, all of which have a focus more aimed on quantifying results. With accurate power measurements we will see an increase in coach-driven cycling programming based on enhancing physiological and psychological capacity to improve cycling performance.

How can clubs prevent possible risks with indoor cycling?

JT: One of the greatest things about indoor cycling is its exceedingly low-risk factor when compared to other types of Group X. You are in a controlled movement pattern in one plane of motion. However, risk can be reduced by making sure equipment is cleaned after each use and routine maintenance is done often.

Jesse’s Top Five Must Haves for a Quality Indoor Cycling Program:

1. Talented instructors who bring their “A” game every time.

2. High-quality indoor cycling bikes.

3. A good audio/video system for multiple class formats and programming options.

4. A designated cycling studio.

5. A group of eager participants who are striving for results.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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