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features

People profile: Ben Keenan

SUF Cycling: commercial director

This isn’t a spin around the park: SUF Cycling requires participants to dig deep, which can push some people not used to HIIT out of their comfort zone

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 7

What is SUF Cycling?
SUF Cycling is a comprehensive training programme to make cyclists stronger and faster. It combines workouts designed by world-class sports scientists with real footage from the biggest races in professional cycling – such as the Tour de France and the Tour of Italy – to create an effective, immersive and exciting indoor cycling programme.

To get stronger on the bike you have to do more than just ride, so yoga, strength and mental training is also incorporated. The programmes are designed specifically for those who want to build functional strength in a way that directly translates to better performance on the bike.

Yoga builds core strength, improves balance and flexibility, enhances recovery, and helps prevent injury.

Our strength training for cyclists series is a progressive, bodyweight-based strength programme that focuses on building power, endurance, and speed without the associated bulk that can hamper cycling performance.

How did SUF Cycling come about?
It evolved from The Sufferfest, a hugely popular training app for cyclists and triathletes, founded by CEO David McQuillen in 2009. The Sufferfest began as a series of downloadable training videos designed to be used at home in conjunction with a turbo trainer. The mixture of challenging but effective workouts, officially-licensed footage of pro racing, engaging storylines and amazing soundtracks quickly created a cult following of ‘Sufferlandrians’.

Gym and studio owners kept asking how they could use The Sufferfest in group settings, and so the Sufferlandrian Embassy Programme was created. In response to feedback from gym owners, last year we changed the name to SUF Cycling, to be less intimidating.

Who does it appeal to? What do they like about it?
One of the great things about SUF Cycling is how it appeals to people from a variety of backgrounds and fitness levels, from avid cyclists training for their next big race, to general fitness enthusiasts looking for a fun way to get fit or lose some weight.

The targeted workouts deliver real benefits that help performance-oriented cyclists take their riding to the next level, while the real race footage and stunning scenery keeps those who are new to indoor cycling engaged and entertained.

What were the challenges to bringing it to fruition?
This isn’t a spin around the park: SUF Cycling requires participants to dig deep, which can push some people not used to HIIT out of their comfort zone. The workouts are designed with an optimal balance of work and recovery, which means you’ll be asked to push it when you need to, but you also need to be able to go easy during the recoveries, so you can hit the next interval hard.

We also found the original branding of The Sufferfest was a bit intimidating to general fitness enthusiasts. With the shift to SUF Cycling we’ve softened the image, making it easier to entice those first-timers into taking a class, while still offering the same workouts and benefits. Once they get in there, they’re hooked.

What trends in the industry support the concept?
Consumers are more focused on data and quantifying their fitness than ever before. Manufacturers like Wattbike and Stages have made it easier for members to train with power data on the bike, and the popularity of data-driven platforms, like MyZone and Spivi, have helped shift the preference away from generalised indoor cycling classes towards more structured, results-oriented workouts.

We have the best sports scientists in the business designing our workouts, with specific fitness outcomes in mind. These are the same people who coach Olympic athletes, world champions, and Tour de France contenders, so members are able to see real, measurable improvements over a short amount of time, which they can verify with power data.

How big are you now?
We currently have more than 160 licensed SUF Cycling embassies in 17 countries, with more being added. Virgin Active, David Lloyd Leisure and SNAP Fitness all use the SUF Cycling programme and our consumer app, We believe the Sufferfest, is one of the top three indoor training platforms in the world.

What are your future plans?
We’d like to bring some of the advanced workout personalisation functionality of our consumer app – what we call Four-Dimensional Power – to the studio environment at some point.

We’ll be expanding our library of videos to include workout content which goes beyond bike race footage, giving gyms and studios more options to enable them to customise the experience, while still getting the benefit of our structured workouts to offer members.

As well as our normal gym license, we also work with licenses whch are design specifically for non-commercial and corporate facilities.

Kath Hudson First Person. It works!
Kath Hudson

The Sufferfest is undoubtedly effective, but it’s more than just a training programme: the Aussie humour and the desire to enter the mythical land of Sufferlandria, and become a true Sufferlandrian, motivate you to train rather than heading to ‘Couchlandria’ with a doughnut in your hand.

My husband has been an avid Sufferlandrian for a couple of years and when he strictly adheres to a programme he always sees his race performance rise. He likes the Four Dimensional Power test, which assesses power over a range of sprint distances, works out what type of rider you are and adapts the training accordingly.

I became hooked in by default, when I joined in on his 15-minute morning yoga sessions. Last summer, when I set myself the challenge of competing in the Pivot 24:12 24 hour solo mountain bike race, I knew it was going to be my mental state which was key, and turned to the 10-week Sufferfest mental training programme.

Covering everything from goal setting, to staying positive, recovery and “preparing to shred chamois”, it was so effective that I’ve considered using it to achieve other goals outside of sport and exercise.

Hudson’s husband is an avid ‘Sufferlandrian’
Typical rider improvements from two to three SUF Cycling sessions per week:
  • Two minutes quicker on a 10 mile time trial
  • 21 per cent more power
  • 12 per cent heart rate decrease
  • 400-900 calorie burn per workout
  • Best weight loss: 6kgs in four weeks
  • Highest power increase is 23 per cent in 12 weeks
Gyms and studios are using SUF Cycling to engage members
More features

Artificial intelligence

When you hear the words ‘artificial intelligence’, do you think of talking computers and helpful androids? Think again. We find out how AI can be used in fitness
people

Jean-Michel Fournier

CEO, Les Mills Media
In the long term, the fitness industry will utilise technological advances in augmented reality and holographic telepresence

Sight & sound

The audio visual aspect of your club is one of the biggest factors in keeping members motivated and engaged with your offering. So how can you optimise this? We asked four of the top audio visual suppliers in the industry for their tips
people

Rachael Blumberg

Platefit: creator and founder
People know yoga, Pilates, HIIT and Barry’s Bootcamp, but many don’t know vibration training and it’s my intention, passion and purpose to make it available and bring it to the world
interview

Paul Juris

Director of sports science, Brooklyn Boulders
people are together on the climbing walls, cheering each other on, coaching each other, interacting, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. It’s a completely different environment from anything I’ve ever seen
people

José Teixeira

SC Fitness, Portugal: head of customer experience
People often assume that those who pay more stay longer, but we don’t see this. What we see is that if you have PT you stay longer because you use more, not because you pay more
people

Andrew Grill

Practical Futurist
Your marketing department will have to start writing ad copy for robots, not for humans. These digital agents will be gatekeepers, a bit like a PA. It’s already happening, so get ahead and start using it

Body image

Will the body image debate define the future of fit-tech? Becca Douglas looks at the evidence

The middle man

Many industries have aggregators so it makes sense for the health and fitness industry to have them too. Are they a force for the good, or could it become a case of the tail wagging the dog? Kath Hudson reports

Activelab 2019

Following the ActiveLab Live! finale at the recent Active Uprising conference, we take a look at startups that are using technology to help people become healthier and more active
people

Ben Keenan

SUF Cycling: commercial director
This isn’t a spin around the park: SUF Cycling requires participants to dig deep, which can push some people not used to HIIT out of their comfort zone
celebs

Chris Hemsworth

I believe we all have untapped potential. And we all need support to achieve our goals. Centr puts the world’s best in the palm of your hand, to help you develop a healthier body, stronger mind, and a happier life - CHRIS HEMSWORTH

Bio Hacking

Silicon Valley hacker Dave Asprey used his tech skills to gather the latest fitness kit to create a bio hacking boutique. Kath Hudson investigates

Tech upgrade

New technology is transforming the way the health and fitness industry functions and interacts with customers. Liz Terry catches up with operators around the industry for an update

Get upgraded

HCM asks the industry’s leading software suppliers about the new tech and software features you can look forward to getting your hands on in 2019

Body Insights

Want to know your biological age or your bone density, or maybe get a 3D model printed showing your hard-won new biceps? The latest tech enables this and much more. HCM does a roundup of the new kit on the market for fitness testing and body scanning

In-club Tech

What’s happening in the world of health club management software? We get the inside view from some of the best-known tech companies in the sector

How can clubs get the most out of virtual?

HCM’s Steph Eaves gets tips from our panel of experts

Cycle revolution

A new age of indoor cycling is upon us, characterised by a more diverse range of bikes and consumers. Steph Eaves breaks down the options in this two-part series

Body composition analysers

Body composition analysers are an excellent way to differentiate your club, as well as help your members get results. Kath Hudson reports
interview

Matthew Allison, Space Cycle

I want to build a social lifestyle brand that combines music and wellness to create something that inspires people. I want to change the way people think of working out, so it’s like going to a club or a concert

Health club management software

We asked some of the biggest names in health club management software to share their predictions for the future

ActiveLab 2018: Meet the startups in fit-tech

Following the ActiveLab Live! finale at the recent Active Uprising conference, we take a look at startups seeking to solve some of society’s biggest challenges through technology designed to get people active

Smart and flexible member payments

Providing customers with the best member experience, while maximising revenue, is vital. We look at the latest in customer centric payment solutions
Video Gallery
How to use the MZ-Bodyscan
MyZone
The Best Product for the Best Clubs Read more
Company profiles
Company profile: ResortSuite
ResortSuite offers a uniquely integrated solution. Destination spas running multiple solutions across various amenities (spa, ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Healthcheck Services Ltd
Here at Healthcheck Services, we want to empower you, your clients & your staff to ...
Directory
Spa software
ResortSuite: Spa software
Software
Book4Time Inc: Software
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Fitness equipment
Technogym: Fitness equipment
Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Diary dates
03-05 Aug 2020
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore
30 Sep 2020
Exhibition Centre Cologne, Cologne, Germany
01-04 Oct 2020
Exhibition Centre, Cologne, Germany
07 Oct 2020
Palais Brongniart, Paris, France
features

People profile: Ben Keenan

SUF Cycling: commercial director

This isn’t a spin around the park: SUF Cycling requires participants to dig deep, which can push some people not used to HIIT out of their comfort zone

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 7

What is SUF Cycling?
SUF Cycling is a comprehensive training programme to make cyclists stronger and faster. It combines workouts designed by world-class sports scientists with real footage from the biggest races in professional cycling – such as the Tour de France and the Tour of Italy – to create an effective, immersive and exciting indoor cycling programme.

To get stronger on the bike you have to do more than just ride, so yoga, strength and mental training is also incorporated. The programmes are designed specifically for those who want to build functional strength in a way that directly translates to better performance on the bike.

Yoga builds core strength, improves balance and flexibility, enhances recovery, and helps prevent injury.

Our strength training for cyclists series is a progressive, bodyweight-based strength programme that focuses on building power, endurance, and speed without the associated bulk that can hamper cycling performance.

How did SUF Cycling come about?
It evolved from The Sufferfest, a hugely popular training app for cyclists and triathletes, founded by CEO David McQuillen in 2009. The Sufferfest began as a series of downloadable training videos designed to be used at home in conjunction with a turbo trainer. The mixture of challenging but effective workouts, officially-licensed footage of pro racing, engaging storylines and amazing soundtracks quickly created a cult following of ‘Sufferlandrians’.

Gym and studio owners kept asking how they could use The Sufferfest in group settings, and so the Sufferlandrian Embassy Programme was created. In response to feedback from gym owners, last year we changed the name to SUF Cycling, to be less intimidating.

Who does it appeal to? What do they like about it?
One of the great things about SUF Cycling is how it appeals to people from a variety of backgrounds and fitness levels, from avid cyclists training for their next big race, to general fitness enthusiasts looking for a fun way to get fit or lose some weight.

The targeted workouts deliver real benefits that help performance-oriented cyclists take their riding to the next level, while the real race footage and stunning scenery keeps those who are new to indoor cycling engaged and entertained.

What were the challenges to bringing it to fruition?
This isn’t a spin around the park: SUF Cycling requires participants to dig deep, which can push some people not used to HIIT out of their comfort zone. The workouts are designed with an optimal balance of work and recovery, which means you’ll be asked to push it when you need to, but you also need to be able to go easy during the recoveries, so you can hit the next interval hard.

We also found the original branding of The Sufferfest was a bit intimidating to general fitness enthusiasts. With the shift to SUF Cycling we’ve softened the image, making it easier to entice those first-timers into taking a class, while still offering the same workouts and benefits. Once they get in there, they’re hooked.

What trends in the industry support the concept?
Consumers are more focused on data and quantifying their fitness than ever before. Manufacturers like Wattbike and Stages have made it easier for members to train with power data on the bike, and the popularity of data-driven platforms, like MyZone and Spivi, have helped shift the preference away from generalised indoor cycling classes towards more structured, results-oriented workouts.

We have the best sports scientists in the business designing our workouts, with specific fitness outcomes in mind. These are the same people who coach Olympic athletes, world champions, and Tour de France contenders, so members are able to see real, measurable improvements over a short amount of time, which they can verify with power data.

How big are you now?
We currently have more than 160 licensed SUF Cycling embassies in 17 countries, with more being added. Virgin Active, David Lloyd Leisure and SNAP Fitness all use the SUF Cycling programme and our consumer app, We believe the Sufferfest, is one of the top three indoor training platforms in the world.

What are your future plans?
We’d like to bring some of the advanced workout personalisation functionality of our consumer app – what we call Four-Dimensional Power – to the studio environment at some point.

We’ll be expanding our library of videos to include workout content which goes beyond bike race footage, giving gyms and studios more options to enable them to customise the experience, while still getting the benefit of our structured workouts to offer members.

As well as our normal gym license, we also work with licenses whch are design specifically for non-commercial and corporate facilities.

Kath Hudson First Person. It works!
Kath Hudson

The Sufferfest is undoubtedly effective, but it’s more than just a training programme: the Aussie humour and the desire to enter the mythical land of Sufferlandria, and become a true Sufferlandrian, motivate you to train rather than heading to ‘Couchlandria’ with a doughnut in your hand.

My husband has been an avid Sufferlandrian for a couple of years and when he strictly adheres to a programme he always sees his race performance rise. He likes the Four Dimensional Power test, which assesses power over a range of sprint distances, works out what type of rider you are and adapts the training accordingly.

I became hooked in by default, when I joined in on his 15-minute morning yoga sessions. Last summer, when I set myself the challenge of competing in the Pivot 24:12 24 hour solo mountain bike race, I knew it was going to be my mental state which was key, and turned to the 10-week Sufferfest mental training programme.

Covering everything from goal setting, to staying positive, recovery and “preparing to shred chamois”, it was so effective that I’ve considered using it to achieve other goals outside of sport and exercise.

Hudson’s husband is an avid ‘Sufferlandrian’
Typical rider improvements from two to three SUF Cycling sessions per week:
  • Two minutes quicker on a 10 mile time trial
  • 21 per cent more power
  • 12 per cent heart rate decrease
  • 400-900 calorie burn per workout
  • Best weight loss: 6kgs in four weeks
  • Highest power increase is 23 per cent in 12 weeks
Gyms and studios are using SUF Cycling to engage members
More features

Artificial intelligence

When you hear the words ‘artificial intelligence’, do you think of talking computers and helpful androids? Think again. We find out how AI can be used in fitness
people

Jean-Michel Fournier

CEO, Les Mills Media
In the long term, the fitness industry will utilise technological advances in augmented reality and holographic telepresence

Sight & sound

The audio visual aspect of your club is one of the biggest factors in keeping members motivated and engaged with your offering. So how can you optimise this? We asked four of the top audio visual suppliers in the industry for their tips
people

Rachael Blumberg

Platefit: creator and founder
People know yoga, Pilates, HIIT and Barry’s Bootcamp, but many don’t know vibration training and it’s my intention, passion and purpose to make it available and bring it to the world
interview

Paul Juris

Director of sports science, Brooklyn Boulders
We’re trying to help people understand exactly how much effort they need to apply in order to get the best outcome, so they can do it over a long period of time and not burn out. The overall training effect is then much better
people

José Teixeira

SC Fitness, Portugal: head of customer experience
People often assume that those who pay more stay longer, but we don’t see this. What we see is that if you have PT you stay longer because you use more, not because you pay more
people

Andrew Grill

Practical Futurist
Your marketing department will have to start writing ad copy for robots, not for humans. These digital agents will be gatekeepers, a bit like a PA. It’s already happening, so get ahead and start using it

Body image

Will the body image debate define the future of fit-tech? Becca Douglas looks at the evidence

The middle man

Many industries have aggregators so it makes sense for the health and fitness industry to have them too. Are they a force for the good, or could it become a case of the tail wagging the dog? Kath Hudson reports

Activelab 2019

Following the ActiveLab Live! finale at the recent Active Uprising conference, we take a look at startups that are using technology to help people become healthier and more active
people

Ben Keenan

SUF Cycling: commercial director
This isn’t a spin around the park: SUF Cycling requires participants to dig deep, which can push some people not used to HIIT out of their comfort zone
celebs

Chris Hemsworth

I believe we all have untapped potential. And we all need support to achieve our goals. Centr puts the world’s best in the palm of your hand, to help you develop a healthier body, stronger mind, and a happier life - CHRIS HEMSWORTH

Bio Hacking

Silicon Valley hacker Dave Asprey used his tech skills to gather the latest fitness kit to create a bio hacking boutique. Kath Hudson investigates

Tech upgrade

New technology is transforming the way the health and fitness industry functions and interacts with customers. Liz Terry catches up with operators around the industry for an update

Get upgraded

HCM asks the industry’s leading software suppliers about the new tech and software features you can look forward to getting your hands on in 2019

Body Insights

Want to know your biological age or your bone density, or maybe get a 3D model printed showing your hard-won new biceps? The latest tech enables this and much more. HCM does a roundup of the new kit on the market for fitness testing and body scanning

In-club Tech

What’s happening in the world of health club management software? We get the inside view from some of the best-known tech companies in the sector

How can clubs get the most out of virtual?

HCM’s Steph Eaves gets tips from our panel of experts

Cycle revolution

A new age of indoor cycling is upon us, characterised by a more diverse range of bikes and consumers. Steph Eaves breaks down the options in this two-part series

Body composition analysers

Body composition analysers are an excellent way to differentiate your club, as well as help your members get results. Kath Hudson reports
interview

Matthew Allison, Space Cycle

I want to build a social lifestyle brand that combines music and wellness to create something that inspires people. I want to change the way people think of working out, so it’s like going to a club or a concert

Health club management software

We asked some of the biggest names in health club management software to share their predictions for the future

ActiveLab 2018: Meet the startups in fit-tech

Following the ActiveLab Live! finale at the recent Active Uprising conference, we take a look at startups seeking to solve some of society’s biggest challenges through technology designed to get people active

Smart and flexible member payments

Providing customers with the best member experience, while maximising revenue, is vital. We look at the latest in customer centric payment solutions

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Company profiles
Company profile: ResortSuite
ResortSuite offers a uniquely integrated solution. Destination spas running multiple solutions across various amenities (spa, ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Healthcheck Services Ltd
Here at Healthcheck Services, we want to empower you, your clients & your staff to ...
Video Gallery
How to use the MZ-Bodyscan
MyZone
The Best Product for the Best Clubs Read more
Get Fit Tech
Sign up for the free digital edition of Fit Tech magazine and the free weekly Fit Tech ezine
Sign up
Directory
Spa software
ResortSuite: Spa software
Software
Book4Time Inc: Software
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Fitness equipment
Technogym: Fitness equipment
Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Diary dates
03-05 Aug 2020
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore
30 Sep 2020
Exhibition Centre Cologne, Cologne, Germany
01-04 Oct 2020
Exhibition Centre, Cologne, Germany
07 Oct 2020
Palais Brongniart, Paris, France
MINDBODY, Inc.
MINDBODY, Inc.