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Ask the Expert: Aida Johnson-Rapp


This month we spoke with Aida Johnson-Rapp, the director of group exercise at East Bank Club about indoor cycling.

Describe your indoor cycling studio and program — what are the highlights? 

AJR: We undertook a major renovation and reprogramming of our indoor cycling facility and offerings, which launched in November. The new studio features a 23- by 14-foot, high-resolution, LED video wall; multi-color lighting programmable to match ride intensities; customized sound design with nightclub-grade acoustics; and much more. The studio also has all-new Stages SC Series bikes. These best-in-class bikes offer a smooth ride with a feeling of inertia that simulates an outdoor ride unlike any other bike on the market. The bikes have an adjustment system for quick and easy position adjustments, and a shifting system that enables instantaneous macro-level resistance changes to add or drop resistance quickly. The bikes are compatible with both SPD and Delta clips, as well as standard athletic shoes.

What tips can you share for creating a great indoor cycling offering? 

AJR: Provide extensive training to instructors to enable them to wow members. Create class formats that have broad appeal for a varied member demographic, such as rhythm/music choreographed rides; metrics/data-driven performance rides; fusion rides with core and mobility work; quick rides (30 minutes); entertainment-based rides with music videos; and themed rides, such as 80s, holidays, or a live DJ. Lastly, create an environment that is aesthetically appealing and user friendly.

Say I’m building an indoor cycling studio from scratch. What should I keep in mind? 

AJR: In our new studio, we decided to tier the bikes stadium style, and in doing so created a theater-like environment. We decided to remove the instructor stage element since the bikes are raised and place the instructor bike in the center. This also gives us the option to be able to move the instructor bike to the side if we have video content, or we can add another instructor on either side of the screen. We also have no mirrors in the studio, because the bikes are stationary, and the focus is on endurance as opposed to strength.

When it comes to indoor cycling programming, what are keys to success? 

AJR: I would say the key to success is to create programming where members can measure their progress. Sometimes the metrics on a console can become too repetitive. Offering programming with gamification aspects, such as Myzone, Stages Flight and more, will keep participants coming back because they have engaging measurement tools. 

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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