Dog Days of Summer – Last Playlist for Summer 2015 #HumpDayCycling #MondayHillCrushers #Indoorcycling

As summer draws to close (not quite, but Labor day is just around the corner), the last Dog Days of Summer playlist featured some new artists and a special track designed for extremely heavy resistance (track 8, 50-55rpms).

The summer was incredible – amazing energy, sold out classes and powerful riders!!

Till next summer!



7 Things Successful #IndoorCycling Riders BELIEVE

Smart indoor cycling riders aren’t smart just because of what they know. They’re also smart because of what they believe, as explained in these 7 critical success beliefs:


  1. Their past does not dictate their future
    Many of us did not start our fitness journey until much later in life. Some of us are just getting started. We come from different backgrounds, fitness abilities and conditioning levels. Some of us face weight challenges, financial difficulties, relationship issues and work-life stresses. Yet, for those riders who believe that they can shape their own destiny, letting the past dictate your fitness future is a recipe for disaster. Letting go of this belief, that you were always overweight and will always be, that you were never fit and will always be, is the start. With indoor cycling, getting started is not easy and the road to fitness is a long one. But, as they say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step, I encourage you to set aside what happened in the past and embrace what you can accomplish on the bike.

  2. Having an investment approach to riding
    You are in it for the long term. Taking a few indoor cycling classes is a great start; yet, making indoor cycling a part of an exercise regimen or committing for the foreseeable future by attending one of more classes per week is a proven method to become stronger, increase your endurance, benefit from a cardio workout that is low impact and enjoy the challenge of riding in a group setting. One class per week, even two per week will yield many future dividends. The investment strategy of making steady and constant contributions to your health is an undeniable strategy that guarantees success.

  3. Setting near-term & long-term plans
    Coupled with the investment strategy mentality, setting near term goals is equally important to setting those that are long term. The benefits of attending indoor cycling classes can be realized rather quickly – within the first 6-8 weeks: improved stamina, ability to exceed certain durations and resistance levels on the bike, improved metabolism, increased strength, stronger leg muscles and much more. Staying focused beyond the immediate results and creating a long term plan is where you will realize the most benefit. Making indoor cycling an integral part of your fitness journey for years to come is possible – in fact, I’ve been teaching for several years and I’ve had riders in my classes who have regularly attended for well over 4 years. It can be done.

  4. Creating a balanced strategy
    Balance in life is a key to successful outcomes. When you think about your fitness journey, there are many distractions. Your work, your life, your family and social obligations, etc. Yet, much like scheduling events, attending meetings, commuting to work and so on, attending indoor cycling classes and participating in fitness workouts can be part of your daily or weekly schedule. Many people think of exercising as something to do when you have “spare time”. However, this invites many excuses to avoid working out. There will never be a convenient time! It is best to “schedule” your fitness much like you schedule anything else. Gaining support from your family for “fitness time” is also important and can be a driving force to honoring the schedule.

  5. Seeking to improve by learning & asking
    Although attending indoor cycling classes on regular basis is a first step, knowing more about other fitness and health factors will make these steps more valuable and more rewarding., Understanding ride mechanics, cadence vs. resistance, the muscle groups being used, safe and proper ride techniques, the science behind riding with power, the physiological impact, heart rate zones, RPE, nutrition, etc.. – all this knowledge and the advantages gained by knowing more will help you to fine-tune the fitness journey and hone in on specific goals, target certain metrics and be in the know. Ask your instructor when you have questions, educate yourself, become empowered!

  6. Never take it personally
    There will always be stronger and more athletic riders. There will always be someone who ranks first in power metrics. There will always be someone who appears to be the “perfect” indoor cycling rider. But then gain, who’s journey is it anyway? IT IS YOURS!! Remain focused on your body, your breathing, your workout and feel confident at the end of the ride that you accomplished what you had set out to accomplish – but even if you didn’t, you will have another chance in tomorrow’s ride! It is your time, your workout, your ride!

  7. Fit in just to fit in
    Attending indoor cycling classes just to be part of something else is never the right mind set. The first and most important goal is to realize that this form of exercise is about improving your health and helping you to become stronger, healthier and much more. While indoor cycling is something that anyone can do, it must be done for the right reasons. Be yourself. When you stop trying to fit in or make an impression, and instead focus on a healthier body, your will honor your fitness journey and achieve your personal fitness goals.





#Indoorcycling Instructors & Participants: How to strengthen your Vastus Medialis Obliques (VMO) to prevent knee pain

After several years of teaching indoor cycling, one of the topics that indoor cycling instructors discuss is injury prevention, and in the case of injury, rehabilitation and returning to teaching. In previous posts, I discussed some common “pain points”, such as the IT Band Syndrome, PFPS and TFL.

VMO1 patellofemoral_pain_syndromeOverview

In today’s post, the Vastus Medialis Obliques (VMO) will be the topic of discussion. The vastus medialis (teardrop muscle) is an extensor muscle located medially in the thigh that extends to the knee. The vastus medialis is part of the quadriceps muscle group. The portion of the muscle just above the knee is known as VMO which is critical to stabilizing the knee joint in activities such as jumping, cycling, running, squatting and stair climbing.


Injuries and pain, such as PFPS, are often caused by VMO malfunction. With PFPS, the pain is mostly felt at the front of the knee, which is aggravated by a weak VMO. For new riders in indoor cycling classes (who lack conditioning or are just starting an exercise regimen that includes heavy squats), and for those who ride repeatedly and are experiencing pain, a stronger VMO will enhance the experience of riding indoors and outdoors, improve your endurance on long rides and help you to avoid one of the common debilitating knee injuries. (other injuries also cause the inhibition of VMO function, such as ACL rupture and meniscal tears)

To check the contraction of the VMO, try this: while sitting on a chair, feel the VMO muscle. Slowly straighten you knee while VMO contracts. Feel the contraction as you now fully straighten the knee. Bend your knee and feel the contraction one more time. This is also a good exercise to employ (in addition to the ones described below) to strengthen the VMO – simply repeat the steps of slowly straightening your knew and then fully straightening it 5-10 times, in two sets.

Strengthen Your VMO

There are a variety of exercises ans functional movements  that you can perform to strengthen the VMO and also to help you manage the associated pain. Here is a general list of these exercises (2 sets of 8 reps for each leg):

  1. Knee extension / leg extension using a resistance band to strengthen the thigh muscles.
  2. Foam roller extensions.
  3. Squats and lunges (also ball squats).
  4. Step-ups / Step-downs (try lateral step-ups/downs for modification).
  5. Straight leg raises.
  6. Calf raises

Remember to consult a physician for proper recommendations and specific treatments. The above are simple and personal observations based on my experience, and in no way constitute a course of treatment or medical advice.

Live well, be well.


More Hills, More Sprints, More Intensity – #MondayHillCrushers #Indoorcycling Playlist – August 10

During yesterday’s session, my MP3 player crashed all of a sudden. I tried resetting it to no avail. My backup player would not start. So now my primary and secondary systems are down. Sensing that I am losing momentum with the class, I switched to my smartphone and streamed the playlist. It worked and we were back on track!!

Moral of the story: after several years of teaching indoor cycling classes, I still carry a primary player and two backups (I used to carry CD’s, but I no longer do).

The group was supportive and gracious. As soon as I restarted (after about a 5 minute delay), they clapped and cheered on. Now, that’s what you call a “posse”.

For my #MondayHillCrushers, here’s the playlist:




My Review of Rock ‘N Ryde #IndoorCycling Studio


logoIn July, I visited Rock ‘N Ryde to attain Real Ryder certification. The indoor cycling studio is inside a larger facility, TEST Sports Club, yet retains its separate space with access to lockers, showers and abundant parking. The studio was launched in February 2014, is impeccably clean and offers modern amenities at affordable prices. It is located at 1931 Washington Valley Rd, Martinsville, NJ 08836, phone number 732-868-5400, During the visit, I met with one of the owners, Lynn Vanderbeek, who was also attending the certification workshop. The studio is easily accessible from Route 22 and I-78, and is surrounded by several eateries and shops, with free parking near the studio’s entrance (which is shared by TEST club). There is a large reception/waiting area, with a retail shop and prepared foods. 0613151359 DSC_3343 rr

Indoor Cycling

bike_alone_side[1]_previewRock ‘N Ryde focuses exclusively on indoor cycling, with several classes offered per week. Inside the 800 square feet studio, there are 20 ABF8 Real Ryder bikes that are SPD compatible. The instructor’s bike is elevated on a platform and is in front of a mirrored wall; the sound system is located to the right of the instructor’s bike. A large flat screen TV above the instructor displays metrics captured by the MyZone Heart Rate Monitoring System which is used to track real-time progress (the bikes are not equipped with power meters). The optional strap can be purchased and metrics can also be stored and accessed from the studio’s website. Reservations can be directly made using the same website ( The interface is realryder_abf8provided by Mind & Body software and is easy to use on a desktop or mobile device. Rock ‘N Ryde offers a variety of class types and lengths; however, because they are well aware of the adjustment period necessary to ride comfortably on a Real Ryder bike, an introductory package is available for 30 days of unlimited rides at a very reasonable $119 (or $39 for students). This offers a new rider the opportunity to get acclimated to the ABF8, which allows for lateral movement, giving riders the ability to engage more core muscles and replicate an almost-outdoor ride feel. The single class price is $20, with the first ride offered at no charge. Rock ‘N Ryde also offers private rides, corporate rides and fund-raising rides.  

Quick Summary

•No shoe rental

•Towels, ear plugs and wipes are offered

•Storage cubbies, lockers and showers are available

•Abundant parking and easy access




•Address: 1931 Washington Valley Rd, Martinsville, NJ 08836

•Phone number:  732-868-5400

Final Thoughts

In the past two years, numerous indoor cycling studios were launched in NJ. Competition is heating up; yet, with Rock ‘N Ryde you will get a unique bike platform (Real Ryder), numerous classes, access to amenities of a larger fitness facility, all at affordable prices. The owners are dedicated, hands-on and teach classes. Therefore, if anything needs repair, it will be addressed quickly and efficiently. I wish the owners, Lynn, Robin and Jeff continued success and I hope to visit soon.

Ride on.



images courtesy of Rock ‘N Ryde

Dog Days of Summer – Cont’d – August 2015 #HumpDayCycling #Indoorcycling Playlist

Remarkable progress – that’s the best way to describe the Wednesday group of indoor cycling riders, a.k.a. #HumpDayCycling. I have seen incredible changes in fitness abilities, stamina, endurance levels, individual abilities, personal bests and much more. What’s interesting is the common ground we all share: a sincere but well-founded desire to improve, to exceed and to overcome. Here’s the playlist for tonight’s session – one of many more to come in the month of August. Enjoy & #RideOn. Tom