As fitness professionals, we all know the importance of making sure our members have a fun and entertaining experience. The bike that’s ‘made to move’ not only offers greater functional training benefits over fixed, one-dimensional indoor bikes, it also lights up riders’ faces and elicits smiles just like riding a bike should!

That fun-factor is exactly what attracted Toma Dobrosavljevic, a 34-year old now-fitness-fanatic, to the RealRyder® Cycle. The Chicago-native struggled with his weight for more than 10 years. “I was overweight after college and had promised my Dad that I’d lose weight,” Toma shared. Soon after making this personal commitment, his beloved father passed away prematurely at age 54. This sent Toma into a downward spiral of grief and unhealthy, self-destructive lifestyle habits. !

When his weight hit an all-time high of 377 pounds, Toma realized it was time for a change; it was time to make good on that promise he made to his father, and get healthy for the sake of his own quality of life. He started his weight loss journey by focusing on improving his diet first. “When you’re that big, it’s hard to get moving, so I focused on eating better first to help get some of the initial weight off,” Toma said. !

After starting to see a physical shift, Toma was ready to go big or go home. His desire to make a major life change led him to an open casting call for NBC’s hit series, The Biggest Loser. Toma was selected and dove head first into a fitness and nutrition challenge that would forever change his life. !

“The hardest part for me was not communicating with my family in the initial stages of the series, a time where we needed to come together and focus. Physically, as a former athlete, I knew what I needed to do, but, exercising for several hours a day and adhering to a strict diet was not easy.” !

But, the real challenge came when Toma returned home. “You accomplish these amazing goals and then you have to leave this protected world, where there are temptations and the routine of every day life again. I really had to focus on seeking out the right foods and keeping up with my exercise, constantly changing things up to get results.” !

He took up running, swimming and weight training. He also took some cycling classes, but felt they were boring. “I’m not a spinning guy. But I do like riding a bike.” One of Toma’s new favorite workouts is with leading Indoor Cycling Instructor and fitness industry veteran, Tracy Martins, owner of Studio RYT, a RealRyder® Cycling Studio, in Westlake Village, CA. !

“After my first RealRyder class, I loved it! Tracy is a great instructor. Anytime you would dip to the left, pedal and hold into the turn, you engage more muscles than you do with just sitting or standing. Most cycling classes, it’s just up and down, fast and slow, but with RealRyder, you’re really working a lot more muscles.” !

Toma experienced indoor cycling workouts on a variety of bikes. We wanted to get this former novice, deconditioned rider’s perspective on the difficulty of the RealRyder Bike when compared to traditional “fixed” bikes. !

“I wasn’t intimidated by the bikes at all. From my perspective, they’re not harder to ride than a regular stationary bike. Like anything, the hardest part is getting motivated to get moving. At first, my core muscles didn’t have the strength to hold and ride out of saddle for a period of time, but eventually I gained that strength.” !

Toma won Season 16 of The Biggest Loser, and is now utilizing his profound experience to spread the good word of living a healthy, fit lifestyle in his community. His advice to someone new to the RealRyder Bike, or any other exercise modality for that matter, is this: “Don’t be intimated. It’s human nature, if we’re not good at something, we tell ourselves not to try it. Everyone is where they need to be at this time, whether it’s a professional or beginner. Why not experience something new? Everything takes a little practice and patience, but you can get to where you want to be with focus.” !

Toma plans to further his fitness education so he can coach others who can relate to his plight. He will become a Certified RealRyder Indoor Cycling Instructor at SCW Chicago Mania in September. Visit SCW Fitness to register for an upcoming RealRyder® Indoor Cycling Certification Training or a workshop with top fitness industry educators Douglas Brooks, M.S., Adam Reid, Leslee Bender and Casey Stutzman. Learn more about RealRyder Indoor Cycling here!

2007 was an auspicious year for me: I was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame. I’d definitely come a long way since landing in Los Angeles in 1990 with one bag and $800 to my name. I knew one person in LA; she was a friend of mine from Sydney, Australia who was also visiting to take classes at Voight Fitness and Dance.

I came to the US to continue my education by taking the American Council on Exercise (ACE) certification and to take classes at Voight Fitness and Dance, so I could learn to become a continuing education presenter. I had always had a passion for doing things the right way and I wanted to share that. Little did I know that 25 years later I would be a Master Trainer and Subject Matter Expert for ACE, a member of the SCW Fitness Education Faculty, a Schwinn Indoor Cycling, IndoRow, Shockwave and BOSU Master trainer, as well as lead program developer for the Kamagon Ball.

It didn’t start off easy, not by a long shot, not knowing anyone, having so little money and nowhere to live…oh and I didn’t have a driver’s license or even know how to drive and LA is one place in the world where that’s a total necessity! So I started taking lots of classes at Voight, Karen Voight, Billy Goodson, Darren Grove and Joan Wenson inspired me to hone my craft. I was totally star struck, the level of skill at that studio was incredible.

After a couple of months I was hired to instruct classes at Voight. I was sooooo excited!!! I would sit at home in my tiny apartment and stare at my name on the schedule! Meanwhile I studied hard and passed the exam and became a Gold Certified ACE Personal Trainer and an ACE Group Fitness instructor and I started my own personal training business. There were a lot of celebrities taking my classes, and I kept thinking, “I am training a lot of famous people!”….it was more than a little crazy!

In 1991 I was invited to audition for a video project with Cher. There were many people invited but amazingly I got the job. Originally the Cher Fitness video was supposed to be Dance with Dory Sanchez, Arms and Upper Body with Karen Andes, legs with me and core with Anita Moralez. At the audition I suggested to Cher to try Step Aerobics, I thought it would be perfect for her. So when I started training her I did Step, then I’d rehearse our leg routine for the video and I’d finish with some core work. This is where it got really crazy! Cher liked me so much that she asked me to do an entire video on my own with Step, Legs and Core.

In 1991 there weren’t a lot of celebrity videos out and what I did with Cher was revolutionary. I was in the video with her, teaching her. We had so much fun, but since I’d never done a video before and there I was on stage with CHER I was scared to death! When we were shooting I kept going to bathroom between takes and getting on my knees to pray! I guess those prayers were answered because this video was so successful that it sold 1.5 million copies in the first three months! The next few months were spent touring the world to promote the video, it was incredibly exciting. I also toured with Cher as her PT during her Love Hurts international tour. I have such amazing memories!

CBS/Fox who produced the Cher Fitness: A New Attitude, received so much fan mail about me that they then offered me a contract to film my own video series. After I shot my next Step and Circuit training videos I went on the road to promote them. During this time a publisher approached me about writing a book, so Fitness Hollywood, The Trainer to the Stars Shares Her Body Shaping Secrets was born. It went into three editions.

This is what launched me and opened many doors. I was in the right place at the right time for sure, but I was most definitely ready, I’d put in a lot of hard work and I was up for all the challenges that working with famous people posed. I had done my homework, I had studied, practiced, gone to conventions, took other people’s classes and participated in many workshops.

Eventually though, training Hollywood celebrities was not what I wanted to do. I wanted to teach continuing education, so I started to pursue presenting at conventions. Along the way I’ve been rewarded with many honors including the 2003 IDEA International Instructor of the Year, OBOW 2006 Best Female Presenter, 2005 Best Use of Equipment and 2008 Lifetime Achievement awards as well as the 2012 Empower! Best Presenter.

To keep up with the constantly changing environment in the fitness industry I’ve continued my own education. Along with my original certification in Australia ACHPER and being a Registered Fitness Leader, two ACE and an AFAA certifications, I’m also an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, a Cancer Exercise Specialist and a Level 1 Precision Nutrition coach.

I present the SCW Fitness Personal Training cert by making sure that I bring the science to life with examples of how to apply it when designing programs for individuals. This makes it much easier to understand and more motivating to learn. Be sure to check this out at the MANIA® Conventions! It’s sure to leave you feeling ready and motivated to work with your clients.

If you’re not looking to take a certification, come take one of my sessions at MANIA®. I have developed a number of courses for SCW, including KettleBells, medicine ball and HIIT. My lecture IQU Do. The Art of Intelligent Coaching is one of my favorites! In this lecture I break down learning styles, and look at the most effective communication styles for each level of learners.

I know I will always continue my education. I have a passion for learning and a deep commitment to teaching other fitness professionals. This is why I feel so at home at the MANIA® Conventions. Everyone at SCW seems to have a passion for what they do, a drive for excellence and the instructors and trainers seem infected by this unique type of energy. From the outside it might look like my career has been effortless, but like the tip of an iceberg, underneath it as has been a lot of hard work.

As SCW Fitness Education moves into our 30th year of business, interesting trends are occurring within group exercise. We see our older adult population growing while we simultaneously witness our programming pushing to embrace the millennials although many clubs are working hard to capture the younger populations, the 17-21 year olds. There are some that see this as a worthy cause but others interpret this as a lost cause.

Pulling back to examine physical fitness in a grander perspective, we notice that girls are embracing competitive athletics more and more. We see young females playing soccer, ice hockey and baseball, and we notice them participating in track, skiing and basketball. Girls are athletes who we see rising out of racecars and sprinting off tennis courts. They are jumping head first into competition and are no longer leaping on the sidelines with pompoms.

When our boomers were girls, athletic competitions did not exist for them. Dance or cheerleading was the only option. Hence, the transition into group exercise was easier since moving to a synchronized beat was simpler and more inviting.

Clubs and studios are now finding that it has become harder and harder to recruit energetic, committed and enthusiastic group exercise instructors. They are more difficult to find, train and transition. Young women are competitors and not as willing to don the bra top and spandex of yesteryear. Long gone are the Jane Fonda leg warmers and the Jamie Less Curtis “perfection”.

Thus, the arrival of the “APP” for Aerobics! Now more and more instructors want it all and want it fast. They like pre-choreographed programs where the music and the moves are provided for them. The genie-in-a-bottle has now become pre-processed programming that is tried and tested and ready for use.

Originally instructors were insulted by these pre-packaged offerings claiming that they squash creativity, inhibit personalized exercise prescriptions and are the Stepford Programs for fitness. There was great fear that we were getting further and further away from the needs of the individual client. Now, it is difficult to find a free-style class anywhere! P90X, Insanity, and of course the ever popular Zumba lead the way. Les Mills certainly started the craze almost 30 years ago and now Werx, BODYSHRED, Mossa, MOi Cycle, WerQ, Urbankick, Tabata Bootcamp, Mashup, Masala Bhangra, Pound, FXP Hula Hoop and WATERinMOTION® have created a literal flood of options.

Instructors get certified, brand a class, teach a system and build a following all based on the creativity of an instructor that they have never met, often from a continent far, far away. So where does this lead our industry … down a dark path? No. It certainly doesn’t look that way. It appears that our instructor ranks can continue to grow in the sunshine - a flock of fitness moves and bouquet of musical creativity. Even more young ones are joining the ranks as new trainers who can get upskilled quickly and easily as well as affordably. No more long hours watching music videos or stealing hot moves with modifications a local YMCA can tolerate - someone has done this for you! No more downloading expensive music tracks and sifting through hundreds of songs to select just the right ones (without the profanity) while mixing them smoothly into the perfect 55 minute routine. It’s all done for you!

Trainers and teachers now have more time to scour the internet for exciting new ideas for training varieties, nutritional advice, and modification techniques. It is exciting times for group exercise and fitness trainers alike. We have adapted and expanded and now can attract younger participants and instructors who move quickly and excitedly from fitness option to fitness option with high quality, well educated professionals to lead the way.

Forget the leg warmers …. It’s time for the millennials to take on fitness programming!


Miami, FL -- To maintain high standards and offer the best instructors possible, Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED, a fast, intense and results-driven 30-minute group exercise class in fitness centers nationwide, has teamed with SCW Fitness Education to offer instructors a chance to become part of the BODYSHRED team at upcoming MANIA conventions, a 3-Day Fitness Education Conference offering over 200 sessions and appearances by Michaels herself.

After the success of Michaels’ appearance at last year’s Dallas MANIA, where there were more than 250 participants in each Master Class and a sold-out Q&A, Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED committed to eight MANIA dates for 2015. With the same goals to promote health and wellness, as well as offer continuing education and support, the synergy between BODYSHRED and SCW Fitness brings Michaels’ signature workouts and motivational style to her dedicated fan base as well as new fitness enthusiasts that want to experience the results-driven workouts that Michaels is known for. The successful relationship between Michaels and SCW Fitness has transformed bodies across the country and is set to change even more. .

Michaels is now scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the upcoming Atlanta MANIA and Chicago MANIA. Known for her work on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, a library of award-winning workout DVDs and online streaming fitness videos, Michaels’ motivational speech will include inside information on her trademark training style, her signature no-nonsense, straightforward workouts, and a live Q&A. .

To help instructors nationwide continue their education, Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED Certification Workshops will be available at the Atlanta, Dallas, Midwest, DC and Boston SCW Fitness MANIAs. Instructors will have the opportunity to become certified or expand their knowledge base during an all-day class where they will learn about Michaels’ workout formats, her motivations and more to keep classes positive, upbeat and packed to capacity. .

Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED is something fresh for both fitness centers and their members, who want the latest, most buzzed-about workout classes. Each workout follows Michaels’ “3-2-1” interval format, which includes 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of core work. With each session lasting just 30 minutes, it’s a quick, results-oriented, and endurance-based workout focused on delivering the maximum calorie burn and enhanced athletic performance in a short period of time. .

“The fact that it’s only 30 minutes is really important, but the fact that they’re going to see incredible results in only 30 minutes is what keeps them coming back,” explains Michaels. “People are busy. We don’t often have 60 minutes to get a workout in — it’s a huge luxury.” .

In true Jillian Michaels style, every workout is a challenge from start to finish and hits every muscle in the body. Highlighting the personality of the instructors, those teaching can choose from more than 250 movements and exercises to create unique and dynamic classes and each exercise can be modified for different fitness levels, so there are no plateaus to reach and no feelings of monotony. .

“It’s really supportive, it’s really social, it’s motivating, it gets you out of the house, it makes you accountable if you’re meeting friends there — you’re not going to find that in any other sort of fitness format, personal training or otherwise,” says Michaels of her BODYSHRED system. .

For more information on SCW Fitness MANIAS, visit .

Created by America’s favorite trainer, Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED™ is a high intensity, holistic resistance and endurance based 30-minute group exercise class held at fitness centers nationwide. Since launching in November 2013, Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED Certification Workshops have trained more than 2500+ fitness instructors. For more information on how to get certified or how to offer Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED at a fitness center, visit

Beyond being a healthy way to ditch negative energy, dance is seriously uplifting. From the music, to the smiles, to the camaraderie felt between a group of people moving in time to beat, dance transcends everyday frustrations that can weigh you down (literally). People are losing weight, hearts are becoming more efficient, moods lifted, muscles toned – all through dance. And don't forget…people are having fun doing it. As Fitness Professionals, we know that finding an activity you enjoy doing is the key to wellness. SCW Mania had a chance to catch up with the owner of WERQ Dance Fitness, Haley Stone, on the benefits of a WERQ Dance Fitness class.

  1. WERQ is a healthy addiction. The most effective workouts are the ones you can stick to. With fresh pop, rock, and hip hop beats and new moves every week, participants plan their week around WERQ, because of the draw of new routines and the hottest music.
  2. Dance Fitness kicks cardiovascular diseases where it counts. The primary goal of a WERQ class is to build strong, efficient hearts. WERQ is specifically designed to keep participants moving from start to finish, moving from one heart-pumping routine to the next. The cardio dance routines are repetitive and scalable, so anyone can achieve the appropriate level of intensity.
  3. Choreography makes your brain sharper. Studies show that adults who learn choreography are exercising the brain and preventing memory loss and dementia.
  4. Dance boosts your energy. Exercise is proven to give you an endorphin rush that boosts your energy level. WERQ provides that healthy punch of energy better than any cup of coffee!
  5. WERQ is a safe and effective way to bring you to a healthy weight and keep you there. WERQ choreography is designed to keep students moving, smiling, sweating, and torching calories from start to finish. Each week new routines are added to keep students engaged, learning, and exploring new movement patterns all in the name of calorie-crushing cardio.
  6. Dance turns that frown upside down. The mood boosting power of a WERQ dance fitness class is undeniable. WERQaholics frequently refer to WERQ as their “therapy”. Life got you down? Shift your mood from gloom to happy glow with 60 minutes of dance fitness!