This issue we spoke with Molly Campe, the fitness director, and Hagit Tal, the group exercise director, of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, New Jersey, about creating the best indoor cycling program.
Describe your indoor cycling studio and program.
MC: The Kaplen JCC on the Palisades cycling program is an indoor/outdoor hybrid. We have moved cycling, along with other group exercise formats, into our outdoor fitness space. Honestly, it’s fantastic. Early in the morning, the fresh, crisp air is refreshing. The evening classes, especially during the summer, are like attending an outdoor concert. The instructors carefully tailor the playlist to the members there for the ride. When you are rocking out with dozens of other people during golden hour, it is a tribal experience. It has solidified the collective sense of community in a way that feels safe for our JCC members.
What does it take to run an excellent cycling program?
MC: Flexibility. In years past, we would have prioritized staying ahead of and creating trends. I would have talked about creating cyclical programming that adapts overtime for those consistently taking my class.
HT: I would have spoken about our leaderboard, an in-house racing system that displays real-time results for our riders, and the playlist. Our classes at the J should always feel like a party. Nowadays, it’s about rolling with the punches and pushing creativity. Before Molly joined the team, I hosted cycling classes in our parking lot, courtyard, pavilions on our camp’s grounds and tennis courts. Now, we are juggling the demands of being vaccinated and comfortable having indoor classes with those who aren’t there yet. We want to be as inclusive as possible while prioritizing safety.
How can indoor cycling engage members?
HT: The leaderboard provides results-driven training and real-time motivation. The J has had great success with it. Our members love competing with one another. Our instructors leverage the metrics as a tool for encouragement and intensity.
If a facility is designing a studio from scratch, what should they keep in mind?
MC: Top-of-the-line sound system, lighting and bikes that have the technology to support growth and change. The JCC’s new perspective also includes good ventilation and an incredible cleaning and sanitization team.
Photo courtesy of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades.