Category Archives: Owner Resources

Great Marketing Success!

RIDE Founder's Zac Smith, Rachel Goldberg and Allison Shuffield spent the day with Kris Van Cleave from ABC7 News
RIDE Founder’s Zac Smith, Rachel Goldberg and Allison Shuffield spent the day with Kris Van Cleave from ABC7 News

The guys at Performance IQ clued me into a studio in Washington, DC who’s getting some fantastic media coverage.
Ride DC is a new start up located at 2217 14TH Street NW in
Washington, DC.

Take a peak at the local coverage they’ve received in the short time they have been open.

This local business news show – starts @ the :52 mark.

A nice mention and link in the Washington Post

Numbers can also rev up some healthy competition. That’s what I discovered when I hopped on a bike at Ride DC, a new cycling studio just north of U Street on 14th Street NW. Folks who show up there for class get a bottle of water, a towel to wipe off their sweat and the chance to see how hard they’re working projected on the front wall above the instructor.

There are no names on the leader board, which lists the bike numbers in order of their total power output (speed plus resistance). So all I knew was that I wanted to out-pedal whoever was on the bike ahead of me. As we climbed hills, sprinted and lifted our rear ends out of our seats, I was transfixed by the idea of inching a spot higher.

So, apparently, was the guy on Bike 15, who edged me out in the final minute of class. “My goal was to keep it in the top five,” said Barry Poechmann, 33, who lives in Logan Circle and is training for a triathlon.

And a review in the Washingtonian

In most fitness classes, glaring at the instructor is frowned upon. But at Ride DC, this behavior is accepted, even encouraged.

Although it wasn’t really Richard, my instructor, on whom I fixated throughout class—it was the screen behind him tracking my energy expenditure number. Earlier this month Ride DC became the first indoor cycling studio in DC to offer live-time tracking classes. Each bike in the 14th Street studio is outfitted with a cycling power meter that measures users’ average revolutions per minute (RPM), power (a combination of RPM and bike resistance), and energy output.

During the 45- to 60-minute class, riders’ stats are projected on the screen in the front of the room, ranking each rider based on total energy output. Britney beats and ’90s music blared through the speakers as I closely monitored my numbers while tackling rolling hills, climbs, and sprints.

Secrets of a successful studio – interview with studio owner Karen Casler from CB Cyclebarn

CB Cyclebarn Karen Casler
CB Cyclebarn was recently voted the top Indoor Cycling studio in Orange County, CA.

The “Barn”, as it’s affectionately known, is run by first time business owner / Instructor Karen Casler. Karen shares with us a number of the secrets of her success in the interview below:

  1. Her total focus on customer service.
  2. Using technology effectively.
  3. Offering a diversity of classes to reach the broadest audience.
  4. Recruiting and retaining the best indoor cycling instructors.
  5. Some Instructors don’t fit – what to do next…
  6. Not all customers fit either…

Studio details:

CB Cyclebarn 372 Camino de Estrella San Clemente, CA 92672

(949)303-3112  Email:

Indoor Cycles: FreeMotion S11.9

In class display system of rider performance metrics: Performance IQ 

Website design and MINDBODY scheduling integration by LiveEdit Aurora

Listen to Karen’s interview below or subscribe to our free podcast in iTunes and have every new episode delivered straight to your portable device.

Offering additional fitness formats – from a small studio

Barre Classes for Indoor Cycling Studios

I’m seeing Barre (pronounced “bar”) classes getting more popular – and they appear to be a relatively inexpensive option for adding additional fitness formats to your class schedule. Traditionally used in Ballet training, Barre classes are an interesting combination of; Ballet, Yoga and Pilates – there’s even Barre Boot Camps!

The Life Time Fitness where I teach recently install ballet barres around the perimeter of the room. One of the Instructors told me Barre classes appeal to a completely new niche of participants, who wouldn’t be interested in conventional Group Fitness classes.

There are three Zenspin Studios located in Jonesboro and Little Rock, AR  that offer indoor cycling along with Barre, Yoga, Pilates & interval training classes.  From the sounds of this case study about how MINDBODY is helping them manage their customer wait-lists – they’re really doing well.


Hosting an Indoor Cycling Certification at your Club or Studio



Where can I find certified Indoor Cycling Instructors? Great question. Depending on where you’re located, the population of qualified Instructors can be quite low… and they are all gainfully employed. Your best option is to post your listing on this instructor jobs board.

On the other side of this, we frequently hear from people who are interested in teaching, but can’t find a certification that’s close enough to attend – or the next scheduled event is 6 or more months off in the future.

Now I’m willing to bet you’ve got a few (or more) passionate participants who sound and look like they would make fabulous Instructors. So maybe the solution for solving both problems is to host a certification at your own studio and create a few new Instructors!

While I was recording Schwinn Cycling Master Trainer Denise Druce last week, I asked if she ever conducts certifications and/or continuing education workshop at independent studios (she does) and she told me how Schwinn loves requests from clubs and studios interested in hosting an Instructor certification.

You can virtually meet Denise in this video.

She asked that I share this with you:

Are you interested in hosting an Indoor Cycle Certification course at your facility?

Schwinn Cycling Certification is the industry’s most respected and progressive indoor cycling instructor-training course.

In one power-packed day your instructors will have the tools they need to become a successful and sought-after instructor on any bike.

This critically-acclaimed certification includes bike fit, cycling science, class design, music, and the Schwinn® Cycling Coach’s Pyramid, a specialized system that makes teaching simple for you and an incredible experience for your students.

Email Denise Druce at to find out how you can schedule the course that offers continually updated material, making this the one certification worth repeating to refresh  at your skills and inspire your teaching.

**Minimum of 20 registered participants at $219 per person.

Denise provided me with this sample handout used by a studio that recently hosted a certification.





MINDBODY Connect looks very cool – have you tried it?

MINDBODY Connect iPhone and Android for Indoor Cycling and fitness studios

MINDBODY sent me an email announcement about their new Connect App for Apple or Android devices. By leveraging the GPS location service in a user’s device (40% of all class registrations are by phones), Connect will display all the service providers near by that are using MINDBODY Online.

This App is very clever, benefiting both you as a studio and your current (and future) customers.

Not to mention completely free for you and your customers.

I saw this comment on their page in the iTunes store:

Love this soooo much! I can see my schedule across all my favorite wellness providers, buy class passes and other services as needed. And, I don’t need to go to each individual website to find class schedules, phone numbers, etc. It’s all in one place. No more multiple logins

In the past, we have encouraged studio owners to optimize their listings in Google Places/Maps and on Yelp, for the purpose of making sure your studio appears in location based searches. You can think of MINDBODY Connect as another location based search tool, where fitness minded customers can discover your studio and then easily find a class.

Here’s a short video that describes some of the features.

Build a relationship… starting with your greeting.

If you saw the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report, you may remember how people are instantly identified (through a high-tech eye scan) as they walk into a retail store. The interactive merchandise displays changed to reflect the information on file for each new customer as they walk by.

Hearing; “Hello Mr. Macgowan, we have your cycle reserved and ready for you” from a front desk attendant as I walk into your studio, would be a nice initial touch point. While MINDBODY Connect doesn’t include any sophisticated scanning technology, it does know exactly where I am – as long as I have my iPhone in my pocket – which I do close to 100% of my day.

If you aren’t using MINDBODY you can give it a 30 day test drive here.

MINDBODY users will want to confirm their studio’s listing on both platforms. You can download Connect for Apple and Android 





Understanding Fitness Instructor Professional Liability Insurance

Discount Low Cost Fitness Instructor Professional Liability Insurance

I’ve cross posted this from and it maybe of value to your Instructors.

During the interview below, my guest Coleen Kelly makes a good point about how studio owners should be asking to be listed as an “additionally insured” on your instructor’s professional liability policies.

Indoor Cycling is experiencing a boom, with new bouquet studios popping up pretty much everywhere. This is great because all these new studios = more places for us to teach. But there’s a small catch. Many of these new studios hire Fitness Instructors as independent contractors, not as true employees, but it shouldn’t scare you away from teaching there.

There are multiple advantages for teaching as a self-employed contractor (you may be able to expense your fitness clothes and mileage) and a few disadvantages. The biggest being there’s a very good chance the studio’s general liability insurance won’t protect you if someone gets hurt and sues you personally for millions of dollars 🙁

Professional Liability Insurance is designed to protect Instructors (you) and your family’s financial assets, in the event that you’re sued by a client. Many fitness businesses require contractors to have their own policy.

In a previous post; Low Cost Fitness Instructor Professional Liability Insurance I explain where I found a great deal (saved us $58.00) on an annual policy for Amy. I contacted the company for someone to interview and they provided Coleen Kelly, their Vice President Program Management for Aon Affinity and  HPSO – Healthcare Providers Service Organization where we purchased Amy’s insurance.

Listen to my interview below (sound quality is low as we couldn’t use Skype) and if you have additional questions you can call HPSO’s info line 1.800.982.9491

Larry “Link” Russell Shares How He is Building His Business with ZONING Fitness

Looking for some additional revenue this Fall?zoning heart rate training

Sally Edwards copied me on the following email and I thought you might be interested to learn how one fitness professional is making bank, while improving the health and fitness of his members.

Hi, ZONING Specialists … I want to share with you the words written by Larry Link and how he is growing his personal training/groupX/coaching/indoor cycling IC business with ZONING programs.

Here’s what Larry “Link” wrote

Introduction: I am Link Russell and I have been a personal trainer for 15 years and an indoor cycling instructor as well. Heart Zones and ZONING have been the perfect progression to get me and my clients to the next level of fitness. I am now a ZONING specialist and Level 3+ CHZT, Certified Heart Zone Trainer.

Why: Bringing patented heart rate threshold training to the studio and to others has provided the missing link in the understanding how to train for increased fitness and weight management. All the tools for teaching this patented threshold system are available at

The Blink: Once you are familiar with the Blink heart rate monitor you can teach the system to your clients one on one or in small groups. This can be done on an individual basis in an hour and two hours in a group setting.

Pricing: You can make from $50-100 per private session above your wholesale cost of the Blink. If you are teaching a group workshop at another facility where they supply the Blinks, I charge $250 for my two hour presentation. I have a ZONING Fitness Workshop next week and my advertised price with me supplying the Blink is $149 per person.
The studio gets a kick back but I still make $50 per student.

No Brainer: I hope this information helps answer some questions you might have about how I use ZONING programming in my business. ZONING Fitness is a money maker and one of the most important fitness tools you can (simply) add to your tool box!

Learn more: Listen to my Podcast interview with John Macgowan from ICI/PRO  titled: Larry Link Russell makes $500 in a Blink – And so can you!

Larry Link Russell

Heart Zones Certified Trainer
ZONING Specialist

Simply Brilliant!

Are you offering care for young children during some or all of your scheduled classes?

Nope, are you kidding? I don’t have the space, can’t afford the staff, etc..

Then read on because I just saw something awesome…

Other than the hours just after work, the clubs where I teach all appear to be busiest between 9:00 and 11:00. Fitness / Indoor Cycling classes that fall around this time are affectionately known as “housewives classes” for good reason; they tend to be populated by stay-at-home moms, looking for a break from their kids.

The promise of a few hours by themselves or with friends, afforded by free daycare, is irresistible for many mothers. My two girls practically grew up at the Flagship Athletic Club (now the Eden Prairie Life Time Athletic ) where my wife Amy has taught since 1994. Sure it was just supervised play for the kids, but so what? They’re kids and as long as Amy knew they were safe she could enjoy her two hours of freedom.

I see that big-box clubs, that offer free or inexpensive child care, having a distinct advantage over the typical small boutique fitness studio. Their sheer size allows them to have a dedicated space and the necessary staff,  needed to offer this incentive.

So how do you compete?

I suggest looking closely at what Studio owner Joe Ducosin is offering moms with young kids through a partnership with another local company.

Little Wing School of Rock partnership at CycleQuest Studio

This is a music program for children 2-6 years. The 2-3 is with the parent and the 4-6 is a drop-off program.

Certain Little Wing classes are scheduled concurrently with a cycling class at CycleQuest Studio so parents can get in a great workout while their child learns the art of music.

Welcome to Little Wing, the most innovative music classes for your toddler. At Little Wing we are all about enabling age-appropriate creativity and confidence. Music is that magical avenue into a little soul with untapped ideas, images, and movement. We aim to unearth that potential.

Hosted at CycleQuest Studio and infused with rock music, these little artists explore rhythm patterns, tonal processing, basic music syntax, and make emotional connections to great music. Confidence emerges leading them down their own little creative journey. We are looking to contribute to the full development of confident, imaginative, young children, who go out and inspire their world.

Here’s the awesome part – Joe charges for these classes that are combined with classes of his own 🙂

Now I realise that you don’t have the Little Wing School of Rock near your studio – but I’m willing to bet there is something similar. It maybe an art class, dance or a martial arts class provider you could partner with.

If one of my kids came home and performed this for me, you’d have me until they started school.

Great Studio Owner > Instructor Communications


UPDATE: Sadly CycleQuest closed last summer. However, If you’re looking to find that perfect instructor who can fill the studio every class – can help 🙂

CycleQuest Studio owner Joe Ducosin is really good at communicating with all of his instructors – two of which are Amy and me.

Hi everyone,

Thanks to all of you for continuing to be part of the CycleQuest Studio instructor team. This is the busiest time of the indoor cycling season where attendance is going to be at its highest over the next few months so we need to continue to provide the best workout experience in our classes to maintain a high customer return rate.

Here is my quarterly reminder of instructor expectations and tips on creating a positive workout atmosphere at the studio. I know the list is long but please read through them. Thanks!

  • Don’t just instruct, anyone can get in front of the class, play music and run through drills. Inspire, encourage, interact, create a “motivating positive atmosphere”, know what the class wants; make it fun!
  • Stay connected with your instruction, let the class know what they should be doing every moment; emphasize certain key parts of a song for motivational effect. How long are the intervals? How long to the end of the drill? Are you ending with the song?
  • For new customers give options to long climbs out of the saddle, isolations, quick jumps, long upper body arm workouts.
  • Drills I discourage: 1) clipping out of a pedal to use only one leg – riders tend to put their free foot on the frame of the bike which scratches the paint and they end up knocking their water bottle on the floor. Also the pedal can easily hit their shin on the backstroke if they let their leg hang free. 2) Pedaling backwards – this causes the drive belt to wear incorrectly and track wrong. 3) Using dumbbell weights on the bike.
  • Articulate other aspects of fitness while instructing; consistency, diet, nutrition, cross training, goals, and competitive events.
  • Learn rider’s names. Introduce yourself, use MBO and the sign in sheet or go around the class and have them introduce themselves. This is the best way to make that personal connection.
  • Keep your playlists and drills fresh. Use the clean version of songs. I know there will be times when curse words slip through, just try to minimize them. Check out Spotify the premium version for $9.99/month, a great alternative or complement to iTunes. I just recently made the monthly investment and am using Spotify consistently. Here is a great article on the getting started – and browse to to read more articles by John and Amy Macgowan on what Spotify is all about.
  • Monitor the studio temperature with the display in the stereo cabinet. Open the back door only wide enough keep the max temp at 72 with fuller classes. If the studio temp drops below 68 the door needs to be closed again. The back door should only be opened to get in fresh air in and slightly cool down the studio. Take charge on regulating the studio temperature and the back door. When the studio is colder than 64 degrees wait a few songs until everyone is warmed up before turning on fans.
  • Before playing a DVD movie get approval from me. No rated R movies and for PG-13 watch the segments you will play to see what might be inappropriate. If there is inappropriate dialog do not turn on the closed caption.
  • When setting up new customers on the bike be sure to explain the computer, what they should expect during the class, options, what their challenges are being new and proper form. Proper leg extension and seat fore/aft position are the most important parts of the setup. Let me know if you have any questions on this topic.
  • ALWAYS use the headset mic! This is a requirement. Having everyone in the class hear you at all times without having to yell is key to a great workout experience. Ask the person furthest away can hear your voice through the mic can be heard. If you are not comfortable using the headset mic please consult with me. There are two headset mic’s – channels 1 and 2 on the soundboard. Let me know if you need help understanding how to use the board properly. When the mic starts to give a heavy echo typically the foam end piece is full of sweat and will have to be dried out using a paper towel.
  • Music sound level – Be aware of keeping the music level appropriate for creating a “motivating workout atmosphere”. Ask the class how the sound level is and adjust per their feedback. You should be constantly turning up the sound level to emphasize a certain motivating essence of a song, like feeling the driving beat, and then turning the sound level down to give instruction. When giving small talk be sure to turn your music down. Having the music too loud is just as de-motivating as too soft.
  • Thefts in building – It has been reported that there were attempted break-ins in a few of the offices of our building. If helping at the front desk and the front desk area is going to be unattended please close the front studio door when classes are in session as many customers leave their coats, jackets and boots by the front door.
  • Announcements – Continue to talk about what is happening at the studio from the announcement sheet on the instructor bike. Encourage everyone to use the small fitness studio to stretch or get in a light workout before or after class when a personal training or group strength class is not in session.
  • Try to arrive to the studio at least 15 minutes before the start of class to help with bike setup and meet new customers.
  • Address studio etiquette to customers when needed: do not answer cell phone in class, keep personal discussions to a minimum so as not to disrupt the class (loud and consistent conversation not related to the current workout), being respectful.

As you can see, a “motivating and positive workout atmosphere” is the theme I am driving home here. Thanks for taking the time to review my expectations and let me know of any concerns you have with the topics listed above.