Riding to the Numbers
3 Things to Expect from a Metric-Driven Indoor Cycling Class
By Amy Schlinger
Music and metrics should be the mantra of Rachel Vaziralli’s cycling class. The 38-year-old grew up loving dance, so much so that she went to New York University, or NYU, for undergrad and majored in dance. Post-graduation, she decided to continue her education by getting her Masters in exercise physiology, and got involved in sports, namely outdoor cycling, which transferred to a newfound interest in indoor cycling at the gym.
“There are lots of musical components to indoor cycling, which satisfy my background as a dancer,” explains Vaziralli. “The whole musical experience I enjoy.”
Vaziralli started to take note of the classes she enjoyed most and the people who were in them. Most riders were focused on going hard to get the most out of their indoor cycling session. “I didn’t love the classes with choreography as much,” explains Vaziralli. “I liked classes geared for power output and metrics.” With that revelation, Vaziralli decided to become a certified indoor cycling instructor. “I wanted to be an educator for cycling, to help teach students how to achieve their goals.”
Fast forward to today where you can find Vaziralli as the senior manager for cycling at Equinox. She’s been with the brand for 12 years and counting. “The most challenging thing is finding a way to lead a group of 45 people, getting everyone to ride together, while also allowing each person to scale the ride,” explains Vaziralli. “I have to lead a collective class while also knowing and allowing students to do what they need to get the most out of class, which can vary from person to person.”
How does she do it? By leading a class where expectations ad goals are laid out, and metrics are minded. Here’s what you can expect from this numbers-driven cycling coach’s class!
1. You’ll know the game plan for class up front and what to expect from during the 45 minutes.
Vaziralli’s goal is to take what can be an intimidating experience for most people, namely first timers, and make it user friendly, so that students feel comfortable and confident, and so that they adapt over time, and keep coming back for more.
“At the beginning of class, I lay out the plan and explain what the workout will be, as well as the goal of the workout,” says Vaziralli. “I explain the ‘why’ so that everyone feels confident in the plan and they are ready to give it their all.”
2. The session will be geared towards power output and based around metrics.
While Vaziralli used to be a dancer and is extremely familiar with choreography, her workouts are more based on metrics and less about dancing on the bike. “I explain to my class how the bike and metrics work up front so that they can follow along as I cue throughout the ride,” says Vaziralli. “I like teaching people how to most efficiently and effectively reach their goals, and I’ve found that classes geared for power output and by numbers help students get results quickly.”
3. You’ll find out how metrics based classes can translate to outdoor cycling.
Vaziralli doesn’t only indoor cycle—she also rides outdoors. “I understand how outdoor cycling works in terms of things like shifting, power, cadence, RPMs, and I do my best to try to bring that indoors and make it engaging,” she explains. Part of that she attributes to a stellar playlist. But based on her students’ accomplishments, it’s clear that Vaziralli’s class style does help riders gain more confidence cycling outdoors as well.
“I have students who have said ‘your class helped set me up to do this triathlon this weekend,’ or ‘I did this 40-mile bike ride that I never thought I could do,” says Vaziralli. “Riding indoors helps a lot of them become comfortable enough to try riding outdoors and enjoy it. I like to teach in a way that will improve performance while also allowing students to have a good time.”