By Team ICG® Master Trainer Jim Karanas
Early adopters of any new product or service are important in the fitness industry. They’re adventurous, even brave, individuals who put their business reputation on the line to promote something new before anyone else. They do this to differentiate from traditional fitness offerings and stay cutting edge.
Body By X Skill Development & Training Center in Corte Madera, California (www.getfitmarin.com) was the third location in North America to offer indoor cycling classes featuring Myride+, allowing instructors to enhance their classes with video. It was also one of the first clubs in the U.S. to provide a virtual class schedule.
Body By X members learn to become comfortable with the uncomfortable, which Nadia and X feel is key to achieving fitness goals. They focus on mind as well as body, and their philosophy is teamwork.
What impressed me most about the Body by X cycling program was how quickly and effectively they implemented forward-motion video. They have scripted hundreds of IC workouts. Each features a specific ride, audio AND video profile, using Myride+ Destinations on Demand. They’ve even written scripts for each ride, giving detailed information about the video content.
The time spent developing their indoor cycling program has paid off in packed classes and happy members. I asked Nadia and X to describe it in their own words. Nadia replied:
“Our motive was to create a unique, safe fitness environment where we could help people reach their fitness goals and have fun. Our fitness center is for people of all ages. We have clients 7 years old and clients over 70.
“Xavier has been a personal trainer for over 25 years. I’m new to the fitness world and always felt intimidated by gyms. We combined our experiences to create a welcoming environment with fun classes that you can’t find everywhere.
“Indoor cycling is a safe and enjoyable way to get in cardiovascular condition. It’s an option for many people because it’s low impact, and you can do it regardless of your level of conditioning. Xavier’s knowledge of all kinds of music made it a logical offering at Body By X.”
When I asked what makes their indoor-cycling classes so successful and how video supports that, Nadia said, “Xavier’s dynamic, exuberant and optimistic personality makes his classes exhilarating. He motivates people to work harder than they think they can! The videos add the visual element. Xavier’s classes include lots of climbs, and the videos make participants feel they’re really climbing a hill. The intensity of his classes varies, but there are always points – often many – when participants are breathless. The videos keep people going. If they haven’t reached the top of the hill in the video, how can they stop?”
Nadia wanted to reach people new to cycling. She felt she could use her anxiety about the gym to make others feel at ease: “I fell in love with indoor cycling immediately. I had never experienced that endorphin rush and wanted to share it, to have people see that indoor cycling didn’t have to be about LOUD music and tons of sweat!”
Although there’s not a ton of what Nadia calls “sweat energy” in her classes, videos bring their own energy. “I’ve created a unique experience by using the videos to tell a story,” Nadia says. For each video, she creates a script with history or facts about the location. “My clients love the stories so much that if I don’t tell them where we’re riding soon enough, they’ll ask, Where are we? What’s this place about?”
Nadia continues, “At Body By X, we educate people about heart rate zone training. We use metabolic assessments to create custom cardio programs. Our clients learn that you don’t always have to do cardio at 110%. We tell them to use a combination of workouts, alternating easy, moderate and difficult.
“MyRide+ allows clients to ride to video on their own. Clients on 12-week custom cardio programs ask for flat rides to help them stay at zone 1 heart rates, or for mixed rides or climbs if the program requires them to raise their heart rates that day. Helping people stick to a challenging program this way is phenomenal.”
I asked how they decided to dedicate such an enormous effort to creating so many classes.
“Our personalities have played a role! We realized early on that our clients appreciate our differences. Yet, ultimately, our goals are the same: to create a state-of-the-art fitness center that is welcoming, safe and fun.
“We believe you shouldn’t do the same cardio every day, so we offer alternatives. Music has always been a vital motivational tool in indoor cycling classes, so we invested in a spectacular theater-like environment that includes a movie screen to show the videos.
“We want to immerse our cycling students in the experience, and creating stories about the videos does this. Videos are the next step in indoor cycling evolution, and we always want to be on the cutting edge. It separates us from other fitness centers. By offering unique classes that differ from anything else out there, we provide our clients with the tools to reach their fitness goals.”
Classes at Body by X certainly are unique, providing specific training, exciting music, the perfect video, and a wealth of information about where each video takes the students. What a ride!