The Indoor Cycling Craze: How Tevia Celli Supun Her Way To Success

Body And Soul: How Indoor Cycling Spun Tevia Celli Into Control

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People want to feel good and be inspired. All of us look for ways to create a release for our daily struggles and believe me that is what indoor cycling is all about. Backtrack to 1996, I was living a relatively active lifestyle in L.A., but honestly dreaded going to the gym. A friend of mine convinced me to try an indoor cycling class that she was teaching at a local gym. In order to persuade me to attend, she promised to make me a playlist that I would enjoy. Despite all my preconceptions of what a cycling class would be like, I dragged myself to this initial class and was hooked. It became sort of an active meditation for me. I was able to close my eyes, ride to the beat of a song and escape everyday worries for 45 minutes.

Time passed, and I realized that I wasn’t the only one who was hooked. People become addicted to things that make them feel good and indoor cycling made them feel great. The demographics of the participants in the classes expanded to more high-end clients like celebrities because they truly felt productive and inspired participating in the class.  But at the time, there weren’t any studios for this kind of workout – just carpeted, non-air-conditioned side rooms of gyms. There was a void to fill, and I knew I could fill it.

At CycleBar I took my experience in the industry and developed a three-class approach to include the athletic riders, soul type riders and a mix of the two. I wrote the training manual, crafted the four-day training content and branded 12-song ride.

In 1998 my friend and I opened Body and Soul, the first ever boutique indoor cycling studio of its kind. We put a focus on luxury and were able to give riders a Four Seasons experience at a studio exclusively for indoor cycling. It was all about the feeling you had when you entered the studio, when you got on a bike, and when you left the class. We were able to offer a premium product in a premium facility.

People become addicted to things that make them feel good and indoor cycling made them feel great.

What hooked me and many others was the musicality and release of the riding experience. You are able to walk into the studio with whatever negative feelings you had throughout the day and after 45 minutes, leave with a completely different mindset. Add the elements of upbeat music, motivation, and a boutique feel, and we were able to create a lasting experience. This formula worked, and it spread. A regular client of mine moved to NYC and was lost without the studio indoor cycling experience. She and a friend decided to open a studio like ours and call it SoulCycle. Concepts like SoulCycle, FlyWheel, and CycleBar began to open up across the nation. The wheels of the indoor cycling scene were spinning at a faster pace than ever. Creators and innovators were finding what worked and what didn’t and mastered the perfect experience for indoor cyclists everywhere. I was able to operate Body and Soul until it was bought out by a bigger company in 2010. Throughout the following years, I hopped through several different indoor cycling concepts and consulted with some of the best instructors in the world.

I came to CycleBar in 2015 to lead their class content and education department and was able to include what I liked from all the concepts I had worked with. After working with the best indoor cyclists out there, and through trial and error from everything I have seen and done over the past 20 years, I was able to shape what CycleBar is today.

There are so many different elements shapes a class; this is what makes concepts unique. I wanted to make sure that I mixed passion and metrics in a CycleBar class. I didn’t want the experience to be solely based on numbers. If you wanted to shut your eyes and simply ride to the beat, that’s okay! If you want to choose a different class to focus on performance and numbers, that’s okay too! It is all about your specific journey and goals.

At CycleBar I took my experience in the industry and developed a three-class approach to include the athletic riders, soul type riders and a mix of the two. I wrote the training manual, crafted the four-day training content and branded the 12-song ride. I created a CycleStar forum where instructors can post content weekly for continued learning and inspiration.

The one thing that has stuck with me since my introduction to the concept was the music during class. It is truly all about the music because people are able to uniquely connect to it. A cool thing about indoor cycling is that we can ride to the rhythm of the music, pedal to the literal beat of a song. At CycleBar, we stress music to the masses. No matter the age of the rider, our playlist will affect them. Instructors are trained to make sure to include a great combination of remixes, decades and genres so that an 18-year-old can enjoy the experience just as much as a 43-year-old. A rider only needs to hear one song to be hooked. That, in addition to the lights in our CycleTheater, can create a certain ambiance that transports our riders.

I don’t foresee indoor cycling going anywhere because you will never get the same euphoric experience at a big box gym. Boutique studios, no matter what kind of fitness, create a sense of community to which nothing else can compare. All the added bells and whistles have been tested, but people continue to go back to the basics because it works. With all that is going on in the world people really just want to feel good! Exercise is an amazing thing, and when you can get your body to love it, the effects are remarkable.

Indoor cycling can be an intimidating concept. I know, I’ve been there. But it is successful for a reason. Find a studio that works for you, try it, and see how you feel. Find your release through the music and group experience, and Rock Your Ride!

Tevia Celli

Tevia has been a pioneer in the studio cycling industry since 1998. She has successfully opened and maintained a studio for 10 years and has been teaching for 16 years. Currently she is the Director of Education at CycleBar Franchising. She has developed and overseen best practices for the hiring and training of CycleStar Instructors. And this year she has successfully launched their ongoing education platform. The ongoing education platform provides continuing education, motivation and ongoing development of CycleStar instructors, including sharing of best practices across the CYCLEBAR studio network.

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