Help Your Riders Leave Class With a Sense of Achievement—Even If They Don’t Understand the Console

I recently covered a class for an instructor I knew nothing about. I had no idea about her style or whether she uses the consoles or power. At this facility, we have IC7s with the Coach by Color system. I prepared a varied class profile with some flats, hills, and power drills with five 15-second-long “as hard as you can” efforts to finish the ride.

As people started to set up, I noticed many had towels over the consoles. Once class started, since I kept referring to the cadence and other metrics (in addition to RPE), the towels came down one by one. There were a few of my regulars in there who were riding according to their FTP zones, but others had not set their consoles to use the power zones (using the color system) and just had the basic display showing their cadence, level of resistance, and wattage output.

I’m used to teaching split groups like this—you give power zone with its color reference for those riding with FTP and really nail the RPE description for the others. For these people, I give them ideas of how much wattage they should be able to put out based on their fitness level to help them determine what kind of wattage they should be attaining.

I will give you some of my tools for coaching varied groups like this below, but first, let me tell you how these riders reacted to this ride.

At the end of the class, one of my regulars who also attends this class regularly came up to me and said, “Your class is very different from the other instructor’s. She is more about leg speed; she is so fast she seems like a machine going about 120–130 rpm and asks us to do the same. But she uses much lighter resistance so it’s easier to take it easy. With you, it is more about resistance and power.”

Another participant told me, “You are the only one giving us goals and then you always discuss the results at the end so we know what we have achieved. Other instructors don’t do that. When I do this class with the other instructor and follow their cadence, I never average more than 1.5 watts/kg* in the class. Then I think ‘I did not wake up at 5:30 am to do only 1.5 watts/kg!’”

(*Note: I often give my class goals such as watts per kilogram that they should be shooting for, but I know it’s not as easy to translate to watts per pound for those who don’t use kilograms, so I won’t go into that here.)

Everyone’s style is different. Freestyle classes vary, which is great. But if you have amazing tools like cadence, distance, and power, use them! When weight training, you can see your progress as you are able to use heavier weights. You can see that in your indoor cycling class, too.

Here are a few of the tools I use to guide my riders to select the appropriate intensity and wattage.


17 Responses to “Help Your Riders Leave Class With a Sense of Achievement—Even If They Don’t Understand the Console”

  1. SarahCohen says:

    Izabela, I see that you teach on the IC7S, do they even have an average wattage for a lap, or a stage like the Stages bikes do? Or do you just have them find the effort, and tell them to hold the wattage steady for the 4 minutes. I can’t seem to find the option on the IC7s to calculate an average wattage.

    • Izabela Ruprik says:

      Hi Sarah, I have sent you an e-mail 🙂 Which console type you have? The new one with the loop button or the old one without? On the old one you can watch the FTW% to keep it steady but this is not exact. Or you can go to new workout at the start of each interval and go to summary at the end to check the exact results. This will erase the total results for the whole class though. On the new console you simply use the loop button as see the results of the last completed loop and the current one as it unfolds.

  2. patriciawiener says:

    Thank you Izzy, this is a great article. I subbed the other night and the class looked at me with dear in the headlights eyes when I asked if they used their meters and did they know how to turn them on….Loved your verbal cues –

    • Izabela Ruprik says:

      Thank you. I know exactly what you are talking about. I personally would be too curious not to even try and switch them on but surprisingly not everyone feels like that 🙂

  3. Janine says:

    You are such a great role model for instructors…jx

  4. Stephen Barr says:

    Know exactly what you means Izzy…my classes are a mix too.
    Most of the folks know and understand power, some don’t however and they need to know what they’re capable of as we go.
    Eventually everyone wants to do the power thing!

  5. StaceyJones says:

    Great suggestions! Thank you! Do you have a playlist you love for this profile? Thanks again!

    • Izabela Ruprik says:

      Not really. It’s about the length of the songs and maybe not too much singing in them in case you want to have time and space to explain the physical response the riders should get from their bodies. Clear beat would be great so they only focus on adding resistance as needed without losing the RPM.

  6. ColinGoodman says:

    Brilliant post, thank you for sharing with us I will definitely be using some in my next classes.

  7. Erica Burns says:

    Great article, thank you!! At my gym we use the older Keiser bikes, so I appreciate you including such great details!

    • Izabela Ruprik says:

      Thank you so much. I know some Keiser (M3is) have got the option of doing a lap. Also if you use the app with them you will have a good idea where you are with the power.

      • Erica Burns says:

        We do not have the lap feature on ours. I’m fact, I’m order to get average watts we must stop pedaling and wait for the watts to flash.
        I just became familiar with the app and in the process of trying to figure it out. Thank you again for the great information!

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