All posts in Business of fitness

Leading the Pack



What moves people to pay $34 dollars for an indoor cycling class? Calories burned, music, ambiance, location, a celebrity spotting? Perhaps. Or, is it the instructor? When fitness enthusiasts take a class and are immediately hooked to the instructor, making their class on a weekly basis becomes part of their to-do. As a fellow indoor cycling instructor, I am always on the hunt to learn from the best in the country, and I found her in my hometown of NYC.  Jolie Walsh has been teaching weekly indoor cycling classes at SoulCycle for three years and her classes sell out every week–yes, booked solid. Not surprising given her Soulful Puerto Rican roots.


Q:How is the SoulCycle method different from other indoor cycling classes?

A: SoulCycle is a 45 minute full body workout on a bike (arms, core, legs and butt). It’s a very intense workout in which you burn up to 700 calories.  I like to describe it as a cardio party on a bike.  We dance to the beat of the music, which is all carefully choreographed to make sure we are targeting different parts of the body.

Q. Do you consider it a fad?

A: No, SoulCycle is not a fad. It’s a workout that really delivers results. It’s a community, and it keeps growing in size because they’ve really tapped into something special.  People come because they want to get a great workout and get that soulful experience as well.  People that come to Soul Cycle keep coming because they get results, and they have fun while they’re doing it.  There are so many friendships that have been formed through these classes.

Q: Weight loss successes/transformations?

A: The SoulCycle workout delivers weight loss results. Though I breastfed I lost all of my baby weight within two months, and at 5’2 adding 32 lbs of pregnancy weight was a lot. It is very common to see at least five pregnant women in one class.

Q: What’s so special about your music and class atmosphere?

A:We put a lot of effort into the playlists, and we never repeat so that every ride is a unique experience.  That’s where we get to be creative, express ourselves through music and create this incredible journey we will get to experience when we ride. We ride in a candle lit room to quiet down the mind so that we get a soulful experience. We ride as a pack. It’s a community. Every single person is so excited to be there, and the energy is magnetic.

Q: What does a cycling profile look like?

A: Rides are either 45 or 60 minutes and starts with a warm up followed by moderate intensity and into the choreography, which involves sprints, jumps, hills, runs against resistance, pushups, isolations, intervals, arm series and more.

Bethenny Frankel-from broke to buff

The business side of fitness has been very good for reality star and natural food chef Bethenny Frankel. She started filming season 3 of her wildly successful reality show “Bethenny Ever After” in NYC last month. Bethenny also shot the pilot for her own talk show back in June.
The New York Times best selling author just launched Skinnygirl Sangria, and in November will launch Skinnygirl Face and Body, a skin-care line that will be available in Wal-Mart.

To think that five years ago she was broke! In a recent Us Magazine interview, she stated, “I had negative $50,000 in income on my 2007 taxes.” Last year Bethenny banked $55 million* in cash, she has reached the pinnacle of financial comfort and success, and she credits vinyasa yoga for creating peace in her life.
Currently, she stays away from what she calls “fear-based workouts” which she defines as intense cardio or workouts that leave you doused in sweat.

Revenue streams:

Bethenny’s reality show “Bethenny Ever After” $400,000

Skinnygirl cocktails

Lifestyle Books

Skinnygirl shape wear

Pampers, Pepperidge Farms, BlueFly, and British Airways endorsements

Skating with the Stars

Body by Bethenny DVD

Skinnygirl Daily nutritional supplements $600,000

The most beautiful woman in the world is also the fittest

I’m not sure how La Lopez mustered up the strength to train for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon (½-mile swim, 18-mile bike ride and 4-mile run) seven months after giving birth to twins. Nevertheless, in recognition of J-Lo’s People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful Woman in The World” recognition, check out the video clip of her training for the triathlon with Self magazine’s editor in chief Lucy Danziger.

J-Lo’s stunning looks and physical transformation from her days as a fly girl is a result of discipline, dedication, determination–and a really good colorist and facial moisturizer. Jennifer is a true fitness aficionado who has dabbled in Krav Maga, Zumba, TRX, yoga, pilates, running, swimming, and the Tracy Anderson method.

The counts, beats per minute & thong leotard

Recently I asked a director of a personal training fitness program, who also happens to have a PhD, who invented aerobics? His response: Richard Simmons. (I thought he was going to say Jane Fonda.) I wasn’t surprised as I assume most Americans would credit afro-totting “fitness guru” Richard Simmons or leotard, tights, and leg warmer wearing Jane Fonda as the inventor of aerobics.

The term and form of exercise known as aerobics was developed by exercise physiologist, Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D. Dr. Cooper, a self-declared exercise enthusiast and former Air Force Colonel, didn’t understand why folks with excellent muscular strength couldn’t perform tasks like long-distance running, swimming, and bicycling. In 1968, he authored the book Aerobics that emphasized a point system for improving the cardiovascular system.

Aerobics is a physical exercise that combines movement, stretching, and strength training routines and it’s goal is to improve flexibility, muscular strength, and cardiovascular fitness. Dr. Cooper is the founder of the Cooper Aerobics Center (Cooper personal trainer mentorship) Craig Ranch, The Cooper Institute, and CooperLife in Texas.

Starting in the late 70s the traditional aerobic class was comprised of several dance-like exercises. The high impact aerobics and step aerobics class dominated the industry. I was certified by AAI/ISMA in the early 1990’s and taught at Living Well Lady and JackLaLanne (now known as Bally’s). I also worked at the famed Jeff Martin aerobics studio in NYC. It was there where Oscar winning actress Julia Roberts would clamor to take it-girl Patricia Moreno’s high impact class. Modern day aerobic classes are referred to as group exercise classes and lead by group fitness instructors (GroupEX).
Almost 20 years to the day, I’m off to the Cooper Institute at the end of June. I’ve been selected to attend cooper’s Functional Movement certification, sans leg warmers.