My name is Jennifer Sage and I am a Master Instructor for the Spinning program, a certified personal trainer since 1992, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and I have a BS in Exercise Science. I am also a certified Ski Instructor, and I have 27 years in the fitness industry.
As an MI for Spinning since 1997 I have certified over a thousand instructors, taught many continuing education courses, wrote several of the continuing education programs for Spinning, and presented at many fitness conferences, including ECA Miami and New York, Can Fit Pro in Toronto, Crunch (Atlanta), New York Sports Club Summit, and WSSC (World Spinning and Sports Conference) Miami for the past 10 years.
Our biggest challenge as Master Instructors is to teach instructors PROPER training principles so they can then teach their students how to safely and effectively accomplish their goals. Notice the word "safely". There is so much crap that is taught out there in the fitness industry, and especially in indoor cycling. Unfortunately it has become rampant and widely accepted in many parts of the country as the way it should be done.
I actually wrote the workshop for Mad Dogg Athletics and Spinning entitled Contraindications in the Spinning Program. I know you know what contraindications means - but just in case you don't, Jillian, in a nutshell, it means just don't do it! In the workshop, I analyzed many popular but unsafe moves in indoor cycling looking at biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, proper training principles, the roots of road cycling, and plain common sense reasons why they should not be a part of ANY indoor cycling program, much less the Spinning program.
What you did with your participants on the Biggest Loser last night was horrendous and very sad. It showed great disrespect for your participants, for the Spinning program, and for indoor cycling in general. You showed rampant disregard for safety, for biomechanics, for understanding of training principles, and for concern for your participants. It shows that you know nothing about riding a bike, either. I know you think you must keep up your "image" as being a hard a$$, kick butt, no-holds-barred personal trainer, but this time you went too far.
Burning muscles, as I'm sure you know, is not always a good thing. It can be caused by mechanical inefficiency, and not just anaerobic work. Pain in the joints is a sign to the person that something is amiss, and is often caused by incorrect form. Good form is crucial for proper and safe indoor cycling - I'm sure your riders last night felt pain in their joints because form was never addressed. You should never, ever, EVER, take away the saddle in indoor cycling, it has high-risk and serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever. It does not make you stronger, faster or a better cyclist, indoors or out. Do you think the best cyclists in the world would ever do something as silly as that? Yet look how incredibly fit they are! And for God’s sake, one should especially never do that with someone who is carrying that much extra weight! Jillian, there is no need to risk injury in the name of fitness. You should always respect the fact that this is a bicycle, and cannot pretend that it isn't. Being a fixed-geared bicycle has huge implications on the body when pedaling. You simply can't be doing squats, girations or other crazy aerobics-on-a-bike movements without placing the rider at great risk.
Spinning is a brand, and it is based on proper and safe training. You are using Spinner bikes on your show. You should respect the brand, and show what good Spinning is! Even if you didn’t have Spinning bikes, safety, smart training and common sense should still apply, because safety is important in all indoor cycling, not just Spinning.
I have a blog devoted to safe and effective Indoor Cycling, and if you go to http://funhogspins.blogspot.com and look under the label "Contraindications" you'll see several posts, including a huge list of what NOT to do on an indoor bicycle, and the biomechanical, anatomical, physiological and common sense reasons why not. I think you should read these. Many of them were on the show last night.
And get yourself certified. Please...
Jennifer Sage, BS, CSCS, CPT, MI
UPDATE: Was I harsh on Jillian? I wrote a follow-up blog post here, where I offered to certify her for free in Spinning! And another blog post after getting some "Hate-mail" from Jillian fan who thinks I'm just jealous.