Group fitness schedules can be pretty uniform. The bulk of classes are typically in the morning and evening, with a few scattered throughout the middle of the day. But what about those members who can’t make it at those select times, and who also can’t get motivated to workout on their own? This is where virtual fitness comes in.
While he was living in Switzerland, David McQuillen struggled to train for bike races outside during the harsh winters. He started to create videos to help inspire him to bike indoors.
“I was so bored. Riding a trainer inside alone is boring,” said McQuillen. “I started making videos for myself to keep me entertained during the workouts. I gave them to a few friends and then I decided to start this little hobby selling them online. It was just a creative outlet for me. That grew and grew to the point where we were selling videos in 70 countries and it became a full-time business.”
Initially, McQuillen did not target marketing of The Sufferfest to the health club industry. He instead focused on individual consumers, but recently that began to shift. “Our consumer business is really big now, but our gym business was really tiny,” he explained. “About a year ago we decided to try and enter the gym and studio market and bring our product in there and try to change how people experience indoor cycling.”
Now available in over 60 facilities around the world, McQuillen explained gym owners and operators reap several rewards in offering The Sufferfest within their clubs. “The reason they are signing up with us is three fold. The first is versatility. With The Sufferfest you can have instructor-led classes or you can do virtual classes. The second reason is appeal. Because professional biking coaches design our workouts, they can attract athletes. Finally, it is a great way to keep members coming back. A gym can create a great community with other Sufferfest users.”
The Sufferfest officially signed with 72 gyms and studios since launching in late 2014 and recently announced the world premiere of its 21st cycling video, The Best Thing In The World. The video features officially licensed footage from two of Europe’s greatest one-day classics.
“The first thing that makes The Sufferfest so interesting to members is what we call enterPAINment, which for us means making sure you have really engaging footage. We are using some of the best races in the world. Then there are engaging storylines. These are not just workouts that you go through, you take on a character and interact with others in the video.”
The videos are professionally designed with targeted workout outcomes that McQuillen believes members will love. “Most indoor training classes have general fitness outcomes, where as ours are very specific,” he added. “A video might be focused on improving your sprinting, improving your ability to recover or your ability to maintain high effort.”
Gyms and studios can bring The Sufferfest to group fitness through the licensing program.