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features

HCM People: Ben KeenanSUF 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
Ben Keenan
Ben Keenan

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
SUF Cycling features real footage from the biggest races in pro cycling
SUF Cycling features real footage from the biggest races in pro cycling
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/669285_799352.jpg
'This isn't a spin around the park: SUF Cycling requires participants to dig deep' – Commercial Director Ben Keenan on how the Sufferfest training app has evolved for group fitness in gyms and studios...
Ben Keenan, SUF Cycling: commercial director ,Ben Keenan, SUF Cycling,
People
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
HCM 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
People
HCM 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
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features

HCM People: Ben KeenanSUF 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
Ben Keenan
Ben Keenan

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
SUF Cycling features real footage from the biggest races in pro cycling
SUF Cycling features real footage from the biggest races in pro cycling
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/669285_799352.jpg
'This isn't a spin around the park: SUF Cycling requires participants to dig deep' – Commercial Director Ben Keenan on how the Sufferfest training app has evolved for group fitness in gyms and studios...
Ben Keenan, SUF Cycling: commercial director ,Ben Keenan, SUF Cycling,
Latest News
Mid-market health club operator Total Fitness has acquired Pro-Fit Personal Training. The deal follows a ...
Latest News
PureGym is set to become the second largest fitness operator in Europe, after revealing plans ...
Latest News
The Glass House Retreat, a new eco-friendly health and wellness retreat, has opened in Bulphan, ...
Latest News
A large-scale study on genetics has shown that being more physically active reduces the risk ...
Latest News
The Gym Group has confirmed plans to roll out a new small box format in ...
Latest News
Representatives from the three main political parties have backed the view that physical activity has ...
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POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Pulse Fitness modernises Leiston Leisure Centre in £4m redevelopment
The Leiston Leisure Centre, owned by East Suffolk Council, reopened recently following a £4m redevelopment designed and implemented by Pulse Fitness.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Gympass expands in Ireland with flagship operator Gym Plus
Gympass, a leader in corporate fitness sales, has expanded its network to Ireland following a new partnership with Gym Plus.
Video Gallery
Harlands Group Overview
Harlands Group
An overview of the Harlands Group, the membership management experts. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Technogym
Founded in 1983, Technogym is a world-leading international supplier of technology and design-driven products and ...
Company profiles
Company profile: TRIB3 International Ltd
First established in Sheffield in January 2016 TRIB3 is a bootcamp boutique studio designed to ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
Fitness software
Go Do.Fitness: Fitness software
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Management software
GymSales: Management software
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-23 Jan 2020
Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom
Diary dates
28-30 Jan 2020
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
Diary dates
23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
Diary dates
25-26 Mar 2020
Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
19-24 Apr 2020
tbc, Beijing, China
Diary dates
04 Jun 2020
Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
10-27 Jun 2020
tbc, Pinggu, China
Diary dates
13 Jun 2020
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2020
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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