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Indoor Cycling Vodcasts Vork You Vell!

Posted Jan 26 2009 3:54pm

One of my favorite things to do is listen to various health and fitness podcasts. I have discovered many interesting programs and fitness workouts that keep me motivated during my workouts. I really believe this format truly gives a voice to fellow professionals in our field and allows them to express their passion, motivate their listeners, and educate audiences much more effectively.

When it comes to cycling, I have a list of podcasts I’ve been anxious to try. This weekend was the perfect opportunity to try one since I wasn’t quite in the mood to run. I downloaded one of the latest vodcasts to hit the iTunes circuit. David McQuillen, a cyclist from Zurich (Switzerland), recently started an indoor cycling series called “ The Sufferfest “. Here’s how David came up with the idea:

A couple of years ago, when I really started training again, I started looking for good iPod workouts. I couldn’t find anything I liked. It was either some hyped up fitness instructor doing some mix of spiritual and physical spin training, or a cycling coach who bored me to tears with 10 minute time trial efforts (on the road, that’s fine, on a spinbike, it’s hell). Wasn’t there anything out there that was meant for cyclists, but that was also fun?

Fun, indeed! David not only creates interesting (and challenging) rides, but couples them with musical and video montages which makes for an entertaining experience. I decided to do his latest vodcast in the series, #5 “Glory Days of Tears and Pain”. The vodcast highlighted classic European cycling tours from the 80s (showcasing famous athletes like Greg Lemond during the height of his career) and married these videos with musical tributes to 80s/90s rock n’ roll songs. It was hard-core and completely awesome!

So far, there are only 5 vodcasts in the Sufferfest series (workouts 1 & 2 have been removed from the web for remastering). Having done podcasting production myself, producing hour-long rides is definitely time-consuming and production-intensive. So I can certainly appreciate David’s effort (and humor) that he puts into making these workouts exciting. While the vodcast concept has great potential for the indoor cycling format, the only thing I question is its sustainability. Currently, the SufferFest is a fairly amateur production and said to be listener supported (not that there’s anything wrong with this). But to produce these vodcasts must cost a fortune, if not for the video clips, but for the songs (musical licenses can increase production costs exponentially). So, for the sake of SufferFest fans (like me), I sure hope David and his team have enough capital to fund this project (or at least not get caught breaking any copyright laws.)

Exercising to a video is not a new thing. Cyclists have set up their trainers in front of their TVs for years. Group exercise rooms have been equipped with TV screens to show videos of cycling courses and races to motivate participantes during classes. But I suspect we will see more of these cycling vodcasts in the future. Some may not prefer watching a small screen during a workout, but others may find these images are just what they need to boost their training.

For me, watching the shot of the lone cyclist struggling through a snowy race day was just the visual I needed to keep me going on my last sprint interval. “If this guy can finish a race in a blizzard, I can certainly pedal a bit harder in this temperature controlled, cycling room.”

I don’t think vodcasts are appropriate for every activity or training format. In some cases, a regular podcast may be the better alternative. But for indoor cycling, vodcasts may be the next wave of media to make this cardiovascular activity worth pedaling.

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