How to get the best out of your group cycle studio

How to get the best out of your group cycle studio

With the explosion of Boutique Fitness offerings in the fitness market we realise that some gyms don’t always have the time to even think about the basics. Gym management are crushed by daily figures, monthly targets and annual reports, often overlooking the gradual decline of the basic elements of fitness offerings. Dated coaching messaging, sweat-tainted flooring and dusty sound systems disappear in the ether of business busyness.

“To maintain a competitive edge, club owners must constantly renovate, rethink and renew their cycling programme. Updating your studio’s physical appearance is one of the easiest, most impressive quick fixes you can implement to boost momentum” Club Industry Nov 2012. Yes, the date is noted. That was the message 5 years ago and is still true.

Let’s look at the facts: Group Cycle Studio offering Spinning®

  • A group training program can be highly rewarding and even addictive.
  • The possibility of generating additional income with each session at your facility.
  • People have come to assume that facilities will offer indoor cycling, just like they assume there will be treadmills on the cardio floor.
  • Member sales increase. Industry trends show that a percentage of the new members who join a fitness facility is because they are attracted by Spinning® or another form of group fitness class.

If all the above is true, then clubs need to provide simple environmental changes to maintain quality for members and keep them coming back. But where to start?

Here’s a checklist of guideline and tips for clubs to assist in the refresh.


Sound Advice

I cannot tell you how many times I get messaged by instructors telling me the head mic or music system is not working correctly in their club. Certainly not great from the instructor’s perspective, making their job tough from the outset. The member in the meantime is already irritated, annoyed or sometimes steaming mad.

Let’s also remember the regulations:

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 deals only with people at work. However, the duties set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 are more general in scope and mean that employers need to act if noise creates a risk to people other than workers. As an employer, where people who are not at work are exposed to noise risk by your activities, you will need to do what is reasonably practicable to safeguard their health and safety by action like that taken for your employees.

A study done by the National Acoustic Laboratories - which is the research division of Australian Hearing - has found the noise of fitness classes reach sound levels that are almost as high as a jet engine, which happens to be around the max available iPod volume of 100db.


Here are some basics on sound in your studio:

  • Invest in a simple, easy to use sound system with CD, iPod/iPad auxiliary input, supported by a good quality amp system and monitor it in every class with a decibel counter, which there is an app for.
  • If you want to use visuals then add a DVD player to the system stack with a laptop and projector input options.
  • Distribute small wall speakers evenly round the room. Avoid large speakers positioned in one corner.
  • Keep music levels within the health and safety regulations
  • Use a good quality head microphone and spare batteries, foam head-mic covers and belts.
  • Sound system needs to be in easy reach of instructor


Lighting the way

  • Invest in a simple, easy to use lighting system.
  • Use wall wash lighting with a range of different colours.
  • Dimmable ambient lighting works well and aids to reduce light induced heart rate response.
  • Lighting should be subtle and diffused to complement the rides.
  • Light enough for riders to see heart rate monitors or bike consoles.
  • Instructors should be able to see riders faces to be able to establish if the rider is feeling unwell.
  • Do not use any form of strobe lighting / extreme flashing lighting. This is a health and safety recommendation.
  • Enough lighting to the entrance and emergency exits with the bonus of enabling a lit advert for the class to those outside the room.



Room layout and environment

  • Avoid poor quality rubber matting, it’s difficult to clean and absorbs sweat.
  • Hard-wood flooring is durable, effective and long lasting and there are new eco- flooring options available that don’t always cost the earth.
  • Laminate floor is also a good option but again, go for the quality option that scratch resistant from the bike cleats.
  • Recommended square footage per bike is 4’x6’. This alows for instructor 1-2-1’s coaching with riders.
  • Well ventilated rooms improve air quality and scent, as well as prevents humidity damage to wall and floor surfaces as bikes. It also improves sound quality.
  • Risers – These are the stepped look of the studio where each row of bikes are on another level. It looks good but are limiting, consider how else you will use the room. It makes it difficult to change class formation and be business flexible if needed.
  • The bikes and flooring should be cleaned every night without fail and maintenance logs for daily, weekly and monthly checks be acted upon and recorded.


Instructor positioning

  • Create a stage for your instructor so its easy to see riders and vice versa.
  • Ensure stage is no higher than 1.5ft for step on/off safety.
  • Stages need to be large enough for a safe mount/dismount and stretch space around the bike. Having the space for two or three bikes on stage aids programming of team teach events.
  • Use rounded edges if possible to avoid painful accidents at shin level.


Studio Imagery

  • Liven up white walls with interesting, inspiring imagery and branding.
  • Consider foamex boards and banners instead of wall paper. This will allow for flexibility in your studio’s look and feel.
  • Try not to overload the rider with too many distractions, focus on one or two key features.
  • Keep plasma screens at the right rider height (consider neck flexion/extension issues).
  • Projection is a good way to change the theme and can generate revenue (advertising).
  • Create a Spinning® noticeboard for your members outside the studio to communicate challenges, monthly rider tips, motivational messaging and social events.




All in all, we all want a quality experience every time we want into the studio and I hope that this set of guidelines assist in providing at least one thing you may have overlooked.


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