A few years ago a friend gave us her old indoor cycle trainer. Basically its a stand that you place your own bike on, enabling you to ride your own bike to workout. To train on something that is suited to you – not some gym bike that doesn’t fit your own proportions. The thing is, with turbo trainer rides, you need a plan. It’s not like you have a spin instructor in front of you telling you what to do.
Or could you?
I first heard about The Sufferfest series of video casted cycling workouts in I think 2010. I always thought they sounded like workouts that could work for me, that could bring me some variety to my indoor training, especially in the bad months of winter.
But I was lazy. I never quite sorted out purchasing a video. I am not quite sure why, in retrospect. I mean it is just a click, choose, click to buy, then click to download a zipped file, then click to unzip and presto, you have a cycling video to workout to!
When the “kind” people of Sufferlandia (home of Sufferfest) tweeted that they were looking for a few brave women to review their new women’s video “Hell Hath No Fury” I thought – a ha! Finally, the motivation to try out a Sufferfest.
And seeing as I’m on the road with work right now, any motivation to hit the gym and train, especially to try out a new thing, is a bonus.
(Note: I hate gym bikes. Their geometry is wrong for me and I wind up inflaming niggles. The Sufferfest workouts deserve to be done on your own bike. But it is totally do-able, and downright fun dare I say, to do this on a gym bike, as it makes the time pass SO QUICKLY. It is a great alternative to spin class too if you do it on a gym bike.)
Anyway, I did the simple download. Synced mine to my iPad, which I am loving for bike workouts (watch a film do a turbo ride, yes I think I will!) Plus I can bring the iPad to the gym with me, wherever I am. But enough about the iPad, this is NOT an Apple product review.
So, what do you get when you choose a Sufferfest?
Beside sweat. And suffering.
First, you get good tunes. Intensities and beats per minute correlations. Toe tapping. Or should I say, pedal stomping?
Next, you get video. Video of races to cycle along with. Fit athletes to surround yourself with (the videos do a good job of making you feel you are there, in the middle of the action). The “Hell Hath No Fury” series features women’s pro road cycling races. So I felt like I was cycling with the best, the most kickass female cyclists in the world. They took no prisoners and it was motivating to watch them go (to have an ounce of that leg strength – yes please!)
Third, you get workouts. Proper, structured workouts. The effort scale is explained, and you get a target cadence. You get good cues to stand up, sit down, speed up, slow down. I found this really helpful, especially the focus on cadence, as I tend to go lower cadence and grind my workouts a bit. Which is not too good for preserving muscles from fatigue. The workouts are shown up front in the intro to the video (the warm up) as well as on the screen and in the lower right hand corner, and with sound cues. No way to get lost with the workout (which is good because these are hard sets so you need easy to follow instructions for when your brain goes to mush).
Finally, humour. I LOVED the sense of humour interspersed in the video. Yes, you won the leaders jersey. And it is… (I won’t give away the secret!)
Or this one. Almost pissed my bike short chamois with this one!
I must admit, I thought initially that a Sufferfest video workout would maybe be good for perhaps one workout once in a blue moon. That the video would not be inspiring or catchy enough to keep me going back for more, like twice a week worthy. I was also a bit worried that the smack talk would put me off. I’m not really into that.
I was wrong. On all fronts.
I am not sure that you can say that you “enjoyed” a Sufferfest workout. But I did. I worked hard. The smack talk was motivating. I found myself loving the scenery, and also loving “cycling along” with the best women in the world. I found myself motivated, working as hard as I do in a race, but in a gym. It is rare when I do that in a gym environment.
I could, and will totally, come back for me.
Call me a glutton for punishment. Or a masochist. Because, as they say:
“I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow.”
Thanks to the kind folks in Sufferlandia for welcoming me to the land of the converted!
Disclosure: Sufferfest provided me the download free of charge in exchange for a review. I don’t hold back on my thoughts, nor let them get skewed by free product. If the Sufferfest sucked, I would say so. Sadly the only thing that was sucking was me, on wind, as my lungs were about to burst from doing the workouts. It’s good stuff and I’ll be back to buy more.