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Lori Lowell on Cycling

Lori Lowell

This month we sat down with Lori Lowell, a Gold’s Gym franchisee, to discuss best practices for offering cycling.

What does it take to run a great cycling program?

The true mark of a great cycling program is its leader’s willingness to make personal sacrifices in order to bring together and empower the cycling instructors around them — even if the rest of the industry wonders why you’re not marching in step with the status quo. We live in an era of hyper-competition; you have to learn to zig while others zag. Once all the boutique studios came into the market, it was time to buckle down and create a program in our clubs that was unique to us — music, heart rate monitoring, and a coaching style and vibe that made our members feel good.  

What role do instructors play?

Your instructors carry the heart and soul of your program’s identity, but the way your team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest instructors in the world, but if they don’t play together, the program’s chances of success remain low. So, it’s finding the right people and balancing the right chemistry between them that will make your program shine brighter than the rest.

Your instructors are your family. Meet with them once a week and brainstorm. When we started our MOi cycle program in 2012, it was about going beyond what the boutique studio space was presenting and creating a culture of instructors who understood and embraced the concept in a fitness club. Creating a cycling culture in a fitness club takes special leadership and instructors who embrace the total concept and design. Avoid wasting your time struggling with buy in from your old-school instructors. Embrace the ones who are up for change.

How can you adjust certain elements (lighting, music, sound, etc.) of the cycling space to create a great experience?

A great program should narrate a story and leave a lasting impression. Dark, dungeon-like cycling rooms are like an old Nokia phone. We experience through our eyes, our ears, our nose and skin. Music uncovers what is there already. It makes us feel emotions we didn’t necessarily know we had inside. It can lift us out of depression, make us laugh or move us to tears — it is a remedy. But only if we can hear it. Sound quality, speaker position and microphone levels are just as important as the music you play. 

Why should clubs offer cycling?

Boutique cycling studios are everywhere. Clubs have to radically revolutionize themselves and step up their game to stay relevant. That’s because the technology we use and the way it became an integral part of our lives has transformed the way we exercise forever. The fast-paced digital age has accelerated the need for clubs to become agile. 

Lori Lowell on tips for offering cycling successfully:

1. Extend the cycling experience outside the club. Add measurement results and email members their results at the end of the class. Make your email beautiful; you want your members to show that email to their friends, colleagues and family.

2. Keep your bikes in top shape. No one wants to hear that crackling bike in the studio. Not only does it affect the member riding that bike, but it will make other members question the quality of the rest of the equipment in your club.

3. Encourage your members to cross-train in multiple disciplines. The goal is improving overall performance. You do that by taking advantage of the particular effectiveness of one training method to negate the shortcomings of another.

To learn more about Lori Lowell and her leadership journey, connect with her on LinkedIn.

Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor for Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com

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