Doris Thews on the Future of Indoor Cycling
Indoor cycling has been a mainstay in health clubs for years, and its popularity is only growing.
“Frequently named in industry reports as the most popular group exercise class category, group cycling has enjoyed major growth in recent times, fueled by advances in technology and a raft of new concepts,” writes Jak Phillips of Les Mills.
However, to remain competitive with indoor cycling, it’s important for club operators to understand where the programming is trending.
Here, Doris Thews, the senior vice president of fitness and innovation for VASA Fitness, shares her insights on the future of indoor cycling.
CS: Describe VASA’s indoor cycling offering.
DT: Our indoor cycling offering is called Studio Cycle, and it combines technology, performance and a great community experience.
CS: Do you feel members are expecting technology and measurement out of their cycling experience nowadays?
DT: Yes, 100 percent. It’s not just a millennial thing. Everybody wants a return on their investment. They want documentation of what they’ve done. They want credit. They want bragging rights. They also want that community. If you look at how many wearable devices and apps people are using, it’s a way for people to connect, brag, stay accountable and create community.
CS: How does technology tie into the indoor cycling experience?
DT: It’s a delicate balance of technology. How do you meet members with technology that shows performance, community and motivation? Technology isn’t going anywhere, and it’s not just for millennials. Everyone loves to see their numbers up on the leaderboard. It’s not even a trend, it’s a staple. If you don’t have technology in your fitness programming, then you’re not current.
CS: Is there any advice concerning how to implement technology you can share?
DT: You have to seek out an expert to do it. You have to seek out an expert who knows how to program, you have to create good partnerships, and you just have to have an understanding, because there’s the physical, the psychological and the social element that makes it successful.
CS: When it comes to talent, how do you retain great instructors?
DT: We’re investing in our instructors with cutting-edge programming, coaching techniques, and the ability to be a better instructor altogether. When you invest in instructors and your talent, you’re actually investing in your members. Happy instructors equals happy members equals a happy bottom line.