GET FIT TECH
Sign up for the free digital edition of Fit Tech magazine and the free weekly Fit Tech ezine
Not right now, thanksclose this window
Core/Stairmaster
Core/Stairmaster
Core/Stairmaster
Get Fit Tech
digital magazine
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
Gallery
More features

Pivot to digital

The coronavirus pandemic has inspired a huge pivot to digital right across the industry, from sole traders to large chains and trusts. Kath Hudson looks at some of the offerings pulled together in lightning fast time to keep members active and sane

Soft power

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing gyms across the world to temporarily close their doors, staying connected to your members digitally has never been more important. Software suppliers tell Steph Eaves how they’re contributing

PureGym scales up Funxtion’s digital integration

With the spread of COVID-19 forcing more people into isolation, PureGym worked with FunXtion to rapidly include a digital on-demand workout offering to support members at home

Wattbike partner on world-first group cycling software

Wattbike has partnered with Intelligent Cycling to transform indoor cycling with innovative new technology that enables automatic personalisation for riders in a group cycling class
people

Sri Peruvemba

BeBop Sensors: VP of strategy
Our gloves allow users to have digital hands in virtual reality, and to manipulate objects as though they existed in real life

Lover app

Sexual wellness enters the mainstream with the launch of new Lover app
interview

Christopher Ruddock, INCUS

I quickly got hooked on how data could improve people’s enjoyment of sport, and having demonstrated a basic prototype, I entered a competition to go to America to develop the concept as a business
interview

Ali Yetisen

Lead researcher, Technical University Munich
If the glucose levels are high, the tattoo turns green; if they’re too low it turns yellow
interview

Toni Knowlson, Amazon Web Services

The results help fans understand why some passing plays are more difficult than others
interview

John Foley

Founder and CEO, Peloton
We were creating an entirely new category
people

Motosumo

Kresten Juel Jensen, CEO and co-founder and Nick Coutts, incoming chair
Everyone’s on their smartphones, so we saw this as a massive opportunity to gamify group fitness

Get connected

Sony and Precor are collaborating. Henrik Bengtsson, head of business at Advagym, tells Wendy Golledge about Sony’s latest foray into fitness
interview

Lauren Foundos, FORTË

We give data reports showing the most popular instructors, so they can get credit for driving users
interview

Changing the game

We cannot lose sight of the most important people in this equation – the athletes. We must ensure this data and technology delivers benefits to them

Class action

Jean-Michel Fournier, CEO of digital fitness outfit Les Mills on Demand, envisions the future of group fitness tech

Get smart

A new, smart exercise mask will analyse breath for a wide range of performance-related indicators, as Tom Walker explains
interview

Krissy Cela

I’ve never tried to cover up my imperfections, I’ve been as authentic as I can be throughout my influencer journey
people

Markos Kern

Founder & CEO, Fun With Balls
Like gaming, it’s very addictive, but this time in a good way. Imagine shooting space invaders on a squash court or kicking a soccer ball to kill some monsters

Tesqua upgrades its in-club experience

Tesqua Health and Sports Centre, Netherlands, has partnered with FunXtion, experts in digital fitness, to create an immersive, instructor-driven, group exercise boutique concept within its existing facility

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
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
Featured supplier: EGYM presents Corona Gym Solution, for the successful re-opening of fitness studios
Finally, the time has come: fitness and health facilities around the globe are gradually resuming operations.
Featured supplier: myFitApp launches branded live-streaming as part of its COVID-19 support package
Innovatise, the company behind myFitApp, has announced the immediate availability of its customer- branded live-streaming solution.
Technogym mywellness app
Technogym
Improve your training experience. All your data in a single app. Read more
Company profile: MoveGB
Move is the fitness marketplace connecting our partners with customers through the largest variety of ...
Company profile: MiE FitQuest
FitQuest (MiE Medical Research) are specialists in the field of human performance measurement. We have ...
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Fitness equipment
TRX Training: Fitness equipment
Spa software
ResortSuite: Spa software
Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Fitness software
Virtuagym: Fitness software
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
Featured supplier: EGYM presents Corona Gym Solution, for the successful re-opening of fitness studios
Finally, the time has come: fitness and health facilities around the globe are gradually resuming operations.
Featured supplier: myFitApp launches branded live-streaming as part of its COVID-19 support package
Innovatise, the company behind myFitApp, has announced the immediate availability of its customer- branded live-streaming solution.
Company profile: MoveGB
Move is the fitness marketplace connecting our partners with customers through the largest variety of ...
Company profile: MiE FitQuest
FitQuest (MiE Medical Research) are specialists in the field of human performance measurement. We have ...
Technogym mywellness app
Technogym
Improve your training experience. All your data in a single app. 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
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Fitness equipment
TRX Training: Fitness equipment
Spa software
ResortSuite: Spa software
Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Fitness software
Virtuagym: Fitness software
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

latest news

Wearable wellness tech giant Fitbit has unveiled a low-cost, easy-to-use emergency ventilator for use during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fitbit ...
A new app, which aims to help people get physically active and build healthy habits through the power of group ...
Samsung Electronics is making its digital fitness platform available for free on its entire 2020 range of smart TV models. ...
Equipment giant Technogym has introduced a number of new features to its Mywellness platform, aimed at helping health clubs and ...
OYO Fitness is looking to benefit from the rapid growth in people looking for at-home fitness solutions with a piece ...
Peloton is working to engage with consumers in the US and UK during the global lockdown by ramping up the ...
For those looking to lose weight, wearing weighted vests could ensure better results than physical activity, according to a study ...
As Governments turn attention to a lockdown exit strategy, the world is bracing itself for a ‘new norm’ where social ...
A new ultrathin, stretchable electronic material which allows a product to "breathe" could have the potential to help create more ...
Gym management software provider Glofox has launched a new digital platform, enabling gyms and health clubs to deliver live streaming ...
Technogym is launching a webinar series, Technogym Talks: The Expert’s Perspective, to assist operators in the challenges and opportunities that ...
Gympass, the world’s largest corporate fitness platform, has launched Gympass Plus to offer its 2,200 operator partners access to more ...
More news
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
Gallery
More features

Pivot to digital

The coronavirus pandemic has inspired a huge pivot to digital right across the industry, from sole traders to large chains and trusts. Kath Hudson looks at some of the offerings pulled together in lightning fast time to keep members active and sane

Soft power

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing gyms across the world to temporarily close their doors, staying connected to your members digitally has never been more important. Software suppliers tell Steph Eaves how they’re contributing

PureGym scales up Funxtion’s digital integration

With the spread of COVID-19 forcing more people into isolation, PureGym worked with FunXtion to rapidly include a digital on-demand workout offering to support members at home

Wattbike partner on world-first group cycling software

Wattbike has partnered with Intelligent Cycling to transform indoor cycling with innovative new technology that enables automatic personalisation for riders in a group cycling class
people

Sri Peruvemba

BeBop Sensors: VP of strategy
Our gloves allow users to have digital hands in virtual reality, and to manipulate objects as though they existed in real life

Lover app

Sexual wellness enters the mainstream with the launch of new Lover app
interview

Christopher Ruddock, INCUS

The NOVA is the first triathlon wearable worn on the upper spine. This allows unique measurement of the left and right sides and unlocks new understanding of body balance
interview

Ali Yetisen

Lead researcher, Technical University Munich
If the glucose levels are high, the tattoo turns green; if they’re too low it turns yellow
interview

Toni Knowlson, Amazon Web Services

We see this technology as an enabler in ensuring sporting organisations remain relevant
interview

John Foley

Founder and CEO, Peloton
Peloton started off with a bike, but we never set out to be just a bike company...
people

Motosumo

Kresten Juel Jensen, CEO and co-founder and Nick Coutts, incoming chair
Everyone’s on their smartphones, so we saw this as a massive opportunity to gamify group fitness

Get connected

Sony and Precor are collaborating. Henrik Bengtsson, head of business at Advagym, tells Wendy Golledge about Sony’s latest foray into fitness
Core/Stairmaster
Core/Stairmaster