On April 10th I attended a "Cycle 360" certification workshop at Colorado Athletic Club Monaco in Denver, Colorado.  Wellbridge, the parent company of Colorado Athletic Club, has seen the huge success of programs like Soul Cycle, Flywheel and Full Psycle and decided to create a "Rhythm" style class of their own in an attempt to create a boutique cycling studio experience inside a big box club.  Cycle 360 is a total-body indoor cycling class that combines cardio and strength conditioning that is meticulously choreographed to the music.  This type of class is way out of my comfort zone!

I'm a degreed and certified personal trainer with over 25 years of fitness experience and a Master Educator for Stages Indoor Cycling, I'm the "Power Guy", the "Technical Instructor", I choose music for "energy" not choreography.  So,  I decided to go into this training with an open mind and challenged myself to figure out how I could make this style of class work with my skill set and teaching approach.

When I arrived at CAC Monaco for this 3 hour workshop I was surprised to see it was "sold out", 35 instructors had given up their Saturday afternoon to be part of this new program.  I was also amazed by the "energy" and "buzz" throughout the room, these instructors were excited to be part of something new and cutting edge.  I've been managing, training and teaching in large "big box" facilities for most of my fitness career and I am always frustrated with their inability to adapt or adopt new fitness trends in a timely manner.  I'm so tired of hearing, "It's not in the budget for this year" or "Our members don't like change"!  I got the feeling that the instructor staff at CAC appreciated the fact that the management saw there was a need to adapt their programming and moved on it quickly.

After some quick introductions we transitioned into a 45 minute Master Class which consisted of a Warmup, Cycle Section, Strength Section (Biceps, Shoulders and Triceps), a second Cycle Section followed by a second Strength Section (Push-ups and Core) and a Cool Down.  The cycling sections were choreographed to the music and had a Johnny G feel to them, with some jumps, runs, and music mapping.  The strength sections were done with light dumb bells and to my horror to the beat of the music.  I'm an indoor cycling instructor, not a Step instructor, a 32 beat count means absolutely nothing to me.  This 32 beat count stuff was going to take some getting used to, but it wasn't too bad.  With all the talk about how dangerous weights on the bike are I was expecting CAC to have an ambulance waiting in the parking lot, but all 35 of us made it through the class without dislocating our shoulders, blowing out our backs or needing to schedule ACL surgery and we had a great time using the bike as our exercise tool.

After a short break we got back together and went over how to put together a Cycle 360 class profile.  We went over the class design, suggested weight exercises and spent a lot of time on music theory.  We were taught that every class should follow the same structure of ; Warmup, Cycle Section 1, Strength Section 1 (Biceps, Shoulders, Triceps), Cycle Section 2, Strength Section 2 (Push-ups and Core) and a Cool- Down.  We then went over some strength exercises that can be done on the bike.  I'm not a fan of weights on the bike, but I did appreciate that all the exercises taught were very simple and, I felt, safe to be done on the bike.  This was followed by a music theory lesson.  We discussed the structor of a song ; Introduction, Verse, Chorus and Bridge and how choreograph movements to each part.  I found this very informative, most instructors already use music this way but don't understand the theory behind it.

We then broke up into small groups and each group designed a Cycle Section and Strength Section to be taught to the whole group.  Every group did a great job taking what we learned in the last 2 hours and demonstrating it to everyone, it also gave us all some teaching ideas to take to our first class.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how many exceptional instructors are working at Colorado Athletic Club.  I also realized that there is a whole other world of instruction out there.  I use metrics like heart rate, watts and revolutions per minute to motivate and get the most out of my class participants there are many other instructors that use the magic of the music and movement to motivate their classes.  I would like to find a way to bridge that gap so participants can have the fun of a Rhythm class and the effectiveness of a power based class, I think we could call it a "Power Party!"

Every workshop I have ever attended has given me new ideas and made me reconsider the way I teach.  I'm always looking for ways to improve and change, sometimes things don't work and I throw them out sometimes things "stick" and they become part of my new teaching style.  Ever since the Cycle 360 workshop I have been listening to music in a whole new way, trying to pick out the Introduction, Verse, Chorus and Bridge of every song I hear and methodically putting together a playlist and choreography for my first Cycle 360 class.  Then I heard DJ Scott Melker's, The Melker Project 3 and it all fell into place.

Scott is a world renowned DJ and was Music Director for Flywheel Sports between 2010 and 2014, he knows music AND indoor cycling.  Scott has been working on a new project called ADHD Radio where he releases a new 45 minute set every 2 weeks.  ADHD is the perfect way to describe Scott's DJ style, he is constantly mixing and overlaying every known music genre in a style that just works.  I have found that Scott's mixing style works perfectly with the "Rhythm" style indoor cycling classes that are popular today.  With a new song being mixed in ever 30-40 seconds it's easy for instructor and participant to hear and feel the music and energy change.

When I first heard The Melker Project 3 I immediately knew it would work for me.  The only problem was there was ALOT of language that would not go over well in the clubs that I teach in.  If you work in a club where anything goes then use the original, it's awesome!  I, on the other hand had to use my very limited DJ skills to try to cut out the bad and mix together the good.  I think I did an okay job, but you can definitely hear the difference between my mixing ability and Scott's.  I hope Scott isn't offended that I had to chop up his work, I absolutely respect an artist's vision, this was a situation where I felt this mix was so good that I wanted to share any part of it that I could with my class.

[wlm_private 'PRO-Platinum|PRO-Monthly|PRO-Gratis|PRO-Seasonal|Platinum-trial|Monthly-trial|PRO-Military|30-Days-of-PRO|90 Day PRO|Stages-Instructor|Schwinn-Instructor|Instructor-Bonus|28 Day Challenge']

As you can see I did not put together a profile for this mix because there is no need for one.  My recommendation is to come up with 2 or 3 variables and cycle through them with every song change.  One example of what I've used is to start seated with a RPM of 80-100, then transition to seated with a RPM of 60-80 then transition to standing with an RPM of 60-80 and repeat for as long as you want (the clean version of the song is 23 minutes long),  I usually go for about 10 minutes.  Another example would be to simply alternate between seated and standing riding with every song change for your chosen interval length.  You could also have participants spin up with every song change; start at 80 rpm, increase to 90 rpm, then 110 rpm and start over for the length of the interval.  I'm lucky enough to teach with power, I'll have my class set a wattage goal for each interval and have them keep their wattage in that range throughout the interval no matter what position or cadence.

The Melker Project 3 (Clean), to download Right Click > Save As / Save Target As to download. Open in iTunes and then you'll see this in your Spotify Local File folder.

The Melker Project 3 (Original), to download Right Click > Save As / Save Target As to download. Open in iTunes and then you'll see this in your Spotify Local File folder.

Recording of me teaching this ADHD set in a class on a Spinner Blade Ion, Right Click > Save As / Save Target As to download on PC or Download Linked File As on Mac. Open in iTunes and then you'll see this in your Spotify Local File folder.

I've been using this mix and ADHD teaching style for one of my class sets for the last 2 weeks and a very interesting thing has happened.  First, people love it and secondly people are able to average a much higher wattage when they are changing positions every 30-40 seconds than when holding a position for 8-10 minutes.  Something to think about.[/wlm_private]

Dennis Mellon

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