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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,
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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
UK-based architects Invisible Studio, founded by Piers Taylor, have designed a 150sq m (1,600sq ft) ...
Latest News
Boutique fitness operator The Foundry, which offers free and subsidised classes for those on state ...
Latest News
Real estate developers are increasingly looking to tap into the "great opportunities" being offered by ...
Latest News
The outgoing chief medical officer, professor Dame Sally Davies, has called for urgent action across ...
Latest News
A health and wellbeing club which combines exercise and physical activity classes with mental and ...
Latest News
VivaFit has entered the Spanish fitness market with the opening of a studio in capital ...
Latest News
John Treharne, founder of The Gym Group, has been appointed chair of boutique fitness brand ...
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Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Crown Sports Lockers to launch sector first at IHS 2019
Crown Sports Locker will launch a waterproof locker that will open the door to facilities demanding a sustainable solution for wet changing areas.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: The secrets to designing a stand-out fitness studio
The design and construction of a group fitness or exercise studio can have a big impact on the success of your gym.
Opinion
promotion
As an industry, we still underestimate the power of a truly varied fitness regime - and the growing appetite for it, especially among emerging customer segments.
Opinion: Collaboration vs aggregation - what’s the difference?
Video Gallery
Optimum Nutrition for Health and Performance.
Optimum Nutrition
Optimum Nutrition for Health and Performance is an Association for Nutrition (AfN) certified nutrition course & approved for CPD points from REPs and CIMSPA. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Power Plate
Power Plate is a vibrating platform that enhances any movement to help you prepare faster, ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Wattbike
Wattbike is the creator of the world’s most advanced and innovative indoor bikes, developed in ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Fitness equipment
Miha Bodytec GmbH: Fitness equipment
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Governing body
EMD UK: Governing body
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
Member access schemes
Move GB: Member access schemes
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Exercise equipment
EXF Fitness Equipment: Exercise equipment
Locking solutions
Ojmar: Locking solutions
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Property & Tenders
Kirklees Active Leisure
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
15 Oct 2019
Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Diary dates
15-18 Oct 2019
Gran Via Exhibition Centre, Barcelona, Spain
Diary dates
28-30 Oct 2019
Hotel Royal Savoy, Lausanne, Switzerland
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2019
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
05-08 Nov 2019
Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
21-22 Nov 2019
JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort, Aventura,
Diary dates
29 Nov 2019
The King’s Fund, London, 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
10-27 Jun 2020
tbc, Pinggu, China
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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