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

Culture

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!

Culture

A Modern Day Witch Hunt: How Caster Semenya's Gender Became A Hot Topic In The Media

Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.


Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.

That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.

Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.

Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.

Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.

With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.

The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.

Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.

As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.

Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.