The key to a great website is…

Fitness Studio Website Design
Now that I’m helping Cycle, Yoga and Pilates studios create beautiful websites, I’m learning even more that the key is great pictures!

I often get asked, “My studio is under construction- do you have stock photos I can use?” Yes, we have many stock photos our clients can use, but I encourage all my studio owners to hire, barter, negotiate, (beg?) the services of a professional photographer at the onset. A few good, original photos are better than a dozen stock photos.

No studio yet? No problem!  Grab some great shots of you and your instructors doing cool things- outside and around the town where your studio is located. Include familiar landmarks so potential new customers will recognize your location. Close ups of old and new bikes/ jerseys with familiar logos/ bike shoes/ helmets/ roads/ people being active are all eye catching. Can you get a photo of the outside of your building, or even your sign as it sits in waiting to be put up? How about taking one of the indoor bikes your studio will have and bringing it outside somewhere?

I know your studio is going to be wildly successful. The great head shots you begged, bartered, or negotiated for the ‘about us’ section of your website will come in handy each time an article is written about your studio and they want to include a picture of you- the owner (of course they do)!

A website doesn’t have to be expensive to be visually appealing. The website at the top is and it has just a few professional photos for background and head shots of the trainers. The rest are taken with an iphone 5S. This works brilliantly!

If you take professional photos and add in cool design elements like Charla and Coleman did for their Time Trial Cycle studio  you get a site like this:

desiging a new fitness studio website

And here is yoga practitioner Andrew Tanner’s site:

yoga studio website design

Andrew has just a couple professional pictures and the rest is youtube videos and iphone photos- works great!

Having the ability (and capability) to change out photos quickly and easily is something I’ll talk about in another post. Keeping things fresh and appealing, without having to wait on, or pay a webmaster, is a feature you may want in your studio website. It happens to be something that’s included with every design at the company I work for- LiveEdit.

Are you opening a studio? How exciting! If you’d like to talk about your website plans and options, I’d love to help.

You can reach me: or feel free to call me anytime 320.685.0183.

5 Guerrilla Marketing ideas to promote your studio in the Summer

guerrilla-marketing-examples-1 I just replied to this post over at pedal-on from a new studio owner looking for ways to market his studio in the off-season. I thought you may also be in this position, so I’m posting it here as well. The best advice I’ve heard for marketing your studio during the “off season” is to go where your potential customers are in the summer months. Stop at your local whole foods and grab the free community papers in the entrance. These papers include listings of all the fitness related activities in your area; 5k’s, bike rides, triathlons, tuff mudders, etc. Go to them and do some guerrilla marketing to get the word out. 

Offline marketing at local fitness events is like shooting fish in a barrel with hundreds, if not thousands of fitness enthusiasts (your potential customers) all in one place.

  • Do the Burma Shave thing. Measure the grade of the hill/climbs and post it on a sign on the side of the road, along with words of encouragement + your studio’s name and logo on it.

Here’s a short video showing how to measure grade of a road I made a few years ago.

  • Chalk the street at key places.
  • Print up “post it notes” with some special offer. Then find some help and stick them on the driver’s rear view mirror of cars parked near the starting line. “Why the rear view mirror’ you may ask? If you just stick a sheet of paper under the windshield wiper people will see them on their way back to their car and will already have decided to throw away the one you placed on their car, before the get there. Your sticky note won’t be noticed until they are in the car.
  • Consider becoming a sponsor of the event or, if $$ are tight, offer to provide the event with a bunch of volunteers (or something else of value) in exchange for some form of promotion.
  • My favorite example – a business hired a bunch of high school cross country teammates to run a race wearing the businesses T shirts. Their stroke of genius was having them start near the back and politely greet & encourage the hundreds of slower people they passed. Then they all got together at the finish to cheer on the finishers. With every kid on the planet on Facebook, I’m thinking this would be super easy to do.

What cleaver guerrilla marketing ideas do you use?

Nice Touch

Thank you cards from a fitness business

This Thank You card came in the mail yesterday. I had visited The Firm last Saturday to take Kelly Miyamoto’s class (she’s also the founding owner) in advance of interviewing her for an upcoming episode of the Indoor Cycle Instructor podcast.

Hat’s off to Eve who sent the card. She was able to decipher my horrible handwriting well enough so the USPS was able to deliver it 🙂

The Firm was the first fitness facility in the Midwest to offer “Johnny G Spinning® classes”. Kelly is checking on the exact date, but my memory is that it was 1995-ish =  they could be one of the oldest (if not the oldest) of the original Spinning ®studios.

Flagship Athletic became #2 in 1996. I’ll never forget the day my wife Amy came home and excitedly told me; “John, I’m going to be trained to teach a new fitness class that even you’ll be able to take… it’s called Spinning and all you have to do is ride a stationary bike!”

Do you send out a real Thank You card? One that comes in the mail, not some auto-generated email?


Studio Owner’s Meetup & Education Conference

ICI/PRO Studio Owner's Conference
This place looks awesome!

ICI/PRO is partnering with ECA World Fitness to co-host a very special Cycling Studio Owner’s Meetup and Business Education conference near San Francisco, CA over the weekend of November 7th – 9th, 2014. 

We’ve chosen the beautiful campus of the College of San Mateo and their San Mateo Athletic Club as the event location.

Our friends from Keiser Fitness will be there with the new M3i Indoor Cycle and new GX group exercise projection system + we’re are waiting for commitments from multiple other Indoor Cycle Brands.

We will be communicating additional details soon to people on our newsletter list. 

I hope you can make it – it’s going to be an awesome event!



Cool Bike Reservation System Knows Who’s Riding

Reserve your spot in a cycling class

I’ve cross posted this at ICI/PRO.

I hadn’t experienced an Indoor Cycling studio that offered reserved seats before. It had me feeling like a VIP when Amy and I visited CB CyclebarnKaren Casler’s studio last month. Very Cool 🙂

The website system she uses integrates her Mindbody account with the class rider data collected by Performance IQ. I thought you might like to see the string of conformation and followup emails the system creates automatically.

First let’s reserve a spot in the class. I didn’t think to take a screen shot at the time so I’m showing tomorrow’s schedule.

Indoor cycle bike spot reservation system
Better hurry and sign up now for Jen’s 7 am class! There’s only 2 spots left.

Next you select your bike – just like picking a seat on an airplane or at a concert. The image is for Bart’s 11:00 am class. Note how you can pick a bike that has your type of pedals.

Select your bike in the indoor cycling class

Once you’ve completed your purchase you receive a conformation email – all this happens automatically. 

Bike reservation conformation email
Having a confirmed seat, in a sold out class, is awesome.

A friendly reminder is appreciated by scatter brains like me.

spin® bike reservation system

After the class I checked my email and saw all of my performance data. I wasn’t wearing a heart rate strap in this class. If I had that data would show as well.

Indoor Cycle Performance date email
Receiving this information had me wanting to return to see if I could improve my average.

Amy and I were very impressed by this system and feel it will really get your participants excited about training with power on a consistent schedule! The website integration system is offered by LiveEdit and will work with these Indoor Cycles with power; FreeMotion S11.9, Spinner® Blade Ion and the Schwinn AC Performance.

Disclosure – Amy recently joined LiveEdit as a representative, specializing in helping new Indoor Cycling Studios. She would enjoy answering your questions. or feel free to call her 612-805-7644

Would This Improve Your Classes?

music too loud

Do you really know when your class music is at exactly the right sound level?

That it’s not too loud so it’s unsafe… or is bothering your neighbors next door.

But not too quiet that you miss out on that wonderful energy?

How about the level of your microphone… is it adjusted so your voice and cues are easily understood by your class?

I’ve been frustrated with not knowing this for years. My studio has what I call a cone of silence – with the front speakers pointing away from my position on the instructor bike, I don’t hear what my participants are hearing.


Often I find that I over compensate, playing the music too low = I miss out on much of the energy music (at the perfect safe volume) can create.

Other Instructors teaching in this room appear to be clueless = what sounds good for them is dangerously loud for the riders right in front of the speakers.

I got tired of waiting for someone else to find a solution and decided to try and fix this myself.

I have a buddy who’s an engineer and he built a prototype of a visual sound meter – specifically designed for fitness studios.

Next we launched an Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaign to raise funds to complete the design and start production.

View our campaign here

Your feedback (positive or negative) is very important – please let us know if you feel this could improve the quality of your fitness classes.

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.

Indoor Cycles With Power Owner’s Survey

Power Meters

I get questions similar to this most every week:

Hi John,
I have a friend who will be general manager of a new inn & spa here in {State}. They want to purchase bikes and have asked me to look at the proposal. I don’t know what I would recommend – what’s your opinion on the best brand/models to consider and how can I best put it out to the ICI/PRO community?
Your thoughts?
Thank you!

I normally respond with a few suggestions and/or followup questions. But his last question got me thinking – how can I best put it out to the ICI/PRO community? 

Yes, I’ve ridden everything on the market and have talked with dozens of Studio Owners and Instructors, so I can offer educated suggestions. But beyond my own personal experiences, wouldn’t it make sense to learn from the thousands of other Instructors and hundreds of Studio Owners, who own and teach on these new bikes?

And then make some of that collective knowledge available to prospective purchasers, of the growing list of Indoor Cycles with Power?

So we created a survey and sent it out to a few Instructors, Studio Owners and each of the IC brands for comments. It quickly became apparent that we would need to divide the questions between two surveys, to reflect the different perspectives between Instructors and Studio Owners & Managers.

You can find the proper survey for you here:

Indoor Cycle With Power Owner’s SurveyClick Here


Indoor Cycle With Power Instructor’s SurveyClick Here

More responses = better data.

Please send this to the Instructors on your team.

We tried to keep each survey as brief as possible, but there’s a lot to learn here 🙂

If you teach at multiple locations, each with a different IC with Power, please feel free to complete a separate survey for each location. This will run until the end of January. If you need an early peek sooner than that – Contact us.

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.