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!
Not too many years ago, my advice to political candidates would have been pretty simple: "Don't do or say anything stupid." But the last few elections have rendered that advice outdated.
When Barack Obama referred to his grandmother as a "typical white woman" during the 2008 campaign, for example, many people thought it would cost him the election -- and once upon a time, it probably would have. But his supporters were focused on the values and positions he professed, and they weren't going to let one unwise comment distract them. Candidate Obama didn't even get much pushback for saying, "We're five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America." That statement should have given even his most ardent supporters pause, but it didn't. It was in line with everything Obama had previously said, and it was what his supporters wanted to hear.
2016: What rules?
Fast forward to 2016, and Donald Trump didn't just ignore traditional norms, he almost seemed to relish violating them. Who would have ever dreamed we'd elect a man who talked openly about grabbing women by the **** and who was constantly blasting out crazy-sounding Tweets? But Trump did get elected. Why? Some people believe it was because Americans finally felt like they had permission to show their bigotry. Others think Obama had pushed things so far to the left that right-wing voters were more interested in dragging public policy back toward the middle than in what Trump was Tweeting.
Another theory is that Trump's lewd, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior was deliberately designed to make Democrats feel comfortable campaigning on policies that were far further to the left than they ever would have attempted before. Why? Because they were sure America would never elect someone who acted like Trump. If that theory is right, and Democrats took the bait, Trump's "digital policies" served him well.
And although Trump's brash style drew the most handlines, he wasn't the only one who seemed to have forgotten the, "Don't do or say anything stupid," rule. Hillary Clinton also made news when she made a "basket of deplorables" comment at a private fundraiser, but it leaked out, and it dogged her for the rest of the election cycle.
And that's where we need to start our discussion. Now that all the old rules about candidate behavior have been blown away, do presidential candidates even need digital policies?
Yes, they do. More than ever, in my opinion. Let me tell you why.
Digital policies for 2020 and beyond
While the 2016 election tossed traditional rules about political campaigns to the trash heap, that doesn't mean you can do anything you want. Even if it's just for the sake of consistency, candidates need digital policies for their own campaigns, regardless of what anybody else is doing. Here are some important things to consider.
Align your digital policies with your campaign strategy
Aside from all the accompanying bells and whistles, why do you want to be president? What ideological beliefs are driving you? If you were to become president, what would you want your legacy to be? Once you've answered those questions honestly, you can develop your campaign strategy. Only then can you develop digital policies that are in alignment with the overall purpose -- the "Why?" -- of your campaign:
- If part of your campaign strategy, for example, is to position yourself as someone who's above the fray of the nastiness of modern politics, then one of your digital policies should be that your campaign will never post or share anything that attacks another candidate on a personal level. Attacks will be targeted only at the policy level.
- While it's not something I would recommend, if your campaign strategy is to depict the other side as "deplorables," then one of your digital policies should be to post and share every post, meme, image, etc. that supports your claim.
- If a central piece of your platform is that detaining would-be refugees at the border is inhumane, then your digital policies should state that you will never say, post, or share anything that contradicts that belief, even if Trump plans to relocate some of them to your own city. Complaining that such a move would put too big a strain on local resources -- even if true -- would be making an argument for the other side. Don't do it.
- Don't be too quick to share posts or Tweets from supporters. If it's a text post, read all of it to make sure there's not something in there that would reflect negatively on you. And examine images closely to make sure there's not a small detail that someone may notice.
- Decide what your campaign's voice and tone will be. When you send out emails asking for donations, will you address the recipient as "friend" and stress the urgency of donating so you can continue to fight for them? Or will you personalize each email and use a more low-key, collaborative approach?
Those are just a few examples. The takeaway is that your online behavior should always support your campaign strategy. While you could probably get away with posting or sharing something that seems mean or "unpresidential," posting something that contradicts who you say you are could be deadly to your campaign. Trust me on this -- if there are inconsistencies, Twitter will find them and broadcast them to the world. And you'll have to waste valuable time, resources, and public trust to explain those inconsistencies away.
Remember that the most common-sense digital policies still apply
The 2016 election didn't abolish all of the rules. Some still apply and should definitely be included in your digital policies:
- Claim every domain you can think of that a supporter might type into a search engine. Jeb Bush not claiming www.jebbush.com (the official campaign domain was www.jeb2016.com) was a rookie mistake, and he deserved to have his supporters redirected to Trump's site.
- Choose your campaign's Twitter handle wisely. It should be obvious, not clever or cutesy. In addition, consider creating accounts with possible variations of the Twitter handle you chose so that no one else can use them.
- Give the same care to selecting hashtags. When considering a hashtag, conduct a search to understand its current use -- it might not be what you think! When making up new hashtags, try to avoid anything that could be hijacked for a different purpose -- one that might end up embarrassing you.
- Make sure that anyone authorized to Tweet, post, etc., on your behalf has a copy of your digital policies and understands the reasons behind them. (People are more likely to follow a rule if they understand why it's important.)
- Decide what you'll do if you make an online faux pas that starts a firestorm. What's your emergency plan?
- Consider sending an email to supporters who sign up on your website, thanking them for their support and suggesting ways (based on digital policies) they can help your messaging efforts. If you let them know how they can best help you, most should be happy to comply. It's a small ask that could prevent you from having to publicly disavow an ardent supporter.
- Make sure you're compliant with all applicable regulations: campaign finance, accessibility, privacy, etc. Adopt a double opt-in policy, so that users who sign up for your newsletter or email list through your website have to confirm by clicking on a link in an email. (And make sure your email template provides an easy way for people to unsubscribe.)
- Few people thought 2016 would end the way it did. And there's no way to predict quite yet what forces will shape the 2020 election. Careful tracking of your messaging (likes, shares, comments, etc.) will tell you if you're on track or if public opinion has shifted yet again. If so, your messaging needs to shift with it. Ideally, one person should be responsible for monitoring reaction to the campaign's messaging and for raising a red flag if reactions aren't what was expected.
Thankfully, the world hasn't completely lost its marbles
Whatever the outcome of the election may be, candidates now face a situation where long-standing rules of behavior no longer apply. You now have to make your own rules -- your own digital policies. You can't make assumptions about what the voting public will or won't accept. You can't assume that "They'll never vote for someone who acts like that"; neither can you assume, "Oh, I can get away with that, too." So do it right from the beginning. Because in this election, I predict that sound digital policies combined with authenticity will be your best friend.