Stryde Instructor, Liz Stoyan discusses what it’s like to be a cycling instructor.
Get to know Liz! Liz joins the Stryde platform from our studio partner, High Ride Cycle in Denver, CO. She’s been an instructor at High Ride since 2019 and has taught virtually on the Stryde platform since 2020. From elementary through high school, Liz was involved in numerous sports . After college she was looking for a way to stay motivated and involved with fitness in someway which is when she came across a cycling studio. She decided to give it a try and immediately fell in love. In order to feed her spin addiction and fuel her motivation to become an instructor, Liz began working at the same studio she took her first class at and the rest is history. Whether Liz is on the podium teaching, or just riding, she describes it as a form of meditation for her. Her energy is so contagious that you can’t help but love her as much as she loves cycling.
How do you plan a class? What inspires you to put together the classes that you do?
I try to pull from my own music that gets me motivated to workout. Also, I just really like to pull music in that people want to hear, so I am always asking people what they want to see and what themes they want to see. It also depends on the class length. We are always trying to spike the heart-rate, bring it down a little bit, spike it back up in general throughout the class. There’s a lot of flexibility with class layout, which is actually one of the best parts about Stryde because there aren’t really any rules and obviously different studios and instructors have different styles.
Do you actually do the things you are asking riders to do?
Really trying to expose us, huh? It’s definitely different from instructor to instructor. I know Alex Brink, one of the High Ride instructors on Stryde always rides to what she cues. She is a boss. I definitely do not always ride to the resistance that I am cueing, I will put that out there for everyone to know. In terms of cadence, we are all always on the cadence, so even for sprints I’m definitely always there. If I’m going to ask you to do 128, or whatever it is, I’m doing that.
What do you do to prep for a ride in terms of meals, drinks, supplements, etc.?
I don’t eat right before a class, which I don’t think is surprising to anyone because it is so high intensity. I’ve made the mistake of not planning super well and I am coming from something to a class and maybe I am more full than I’d like to be and that’s definitely not great. As far as supplements go, I don’t really take any. I am big fan of protein smoothies, that’s my breakfast everyday. I drink a lot of caffeine, eat some kind of carb and I will eat a banana if I am on my way to a class and don’t want to be super full.
What do you think are the benefits of cycling?
So many obviously! The main ones are it being cardiovascular exercise, it’s great for your heart. I personally get so many endorphins. I could be having a terrible day, but if I go to a class and I leave feeling amazing. That’s true for almost any kind of exercise, but specifically for beat-based cycling, it’s so connected to music so if you’re a huge music fan, or even if you just need to be distracted that’s helpful.
What’s your favorite time of day to ride?
It’s funny, I am not a morning person, but even in person I actually teach mostly morning classes. I tell all my riders that I am just as tired as them. I don’t want to be out of bed either, but we made it here, let’s do it together and it ends up being fun. I feel the strongest and have the best workouts usually right after work though.
How do you motivate yourself?
I try to just tell myself that it’s going to take one to two songs and I’m going to feel amazing. There’s definitely been times where I have gotten like three hours of sleep and working out is the last thing I want to do, but I play pump up music and remind myself that I have never regretted doing a ride. I know it will probably improve my mood and it will only take just a couple of songs to really be completely in to it and feel so happy that I made the decision.
What are your favorite fitness activities outside of cycling?
I love circuit based weight workouts and I have been trying to teach myself how to box. That has been fun for me. I really love lifting when I can make time for it and then making time for stretching, recovery and doing some yoga — definitely guilty of needing to do this more.
What is your training mantra?
I think a philosophy for me is that you don’t know what you’re capable of until you just do it. So, there might be a day where you’re taking a ride and some interval feels hard and the instructor tells you to add on 10 and hold it. In your head, you’re like no way, but in those moments it’s so important to say I don’t know if I actually can’t do that. You’re already telling yourself that you can’t do it, so you’re setting yourself up for that to come true and you’re not going to do it. I think just trying it and especially with Stryde, you are in your house, no one is watching you, no one is going to judge you if you try and you can’t do it. Even if you can’t do it, you tried and did your best.
What is your favorite part about the Stryde platform?
To pick one is hard, but I think one of my favorite things is being able to reach so many more people and connect with people. That’s one of the reasons I even got into cycling, was to meet people who had a similar interest in fitness and things like that. Once I started teaching, I realized that I was really impacting people and showing them they are capable of so much. It’s honestly such a privilege that I could cry just talking about it.
To listen and watch the full interview with Liz and Tamara, click here.