Have you noticed that a lot of exercise fanatics work out in the morning? Here’s an indoor cycling class for these dedicated early birds. This ride, adapted from the Schwinn® Cycling continuing education workshop “The Wake-Up Workout,” celebrates early risers with a morning playlist and stage-by-stage escalation. Each stage offers visual imagery, motivational suggestions and intentional social interaction. The sample script below is followed by a detailed chart, with playlist options.
Wake-Up Workout Details
FORMAT: mixed-intensity cycling (switchbacks, hills climbs, flats)
TOTAL TIME: approximately 60 minutes
EQUIPMENT NEEDED: indoor cycling bikes
MUSIC: suggestions offered (see chart)
Stage 1: Warm-Up (~6–10 minutes)
Sample script: “Good morning! Is that a rooster I hear waking us up so early? Wrap your mind around the five stages ahead. Did you eat a good breakfast and get enough sleep? Who’s ready to perform today? As you wake up from stage to stage, this class will challenge you and get you ready to take on your day.”
Stage 2: Switchbacks (~12 minutes)
“Each of the three switchbacks gets progressively steeper. On the first one, it feels as though you’re sleep-cycling—the body is working, but you’re not awake yet. During this switchback, imagine you are one with the bike. Picture a smooth pedal stroke. With each successive switchback, wake up from your sweet dreams and become more aware of your pedal stroke. Do you have the right cadence and resistance to match the intensity? Notice your breathing pattern as you work your way to the top of the hill.”
Stage 3: Recovery Flat (~2:30 minutes)
“Are you awake now? Have you ever woken slowly in the early stage of your workout? Catch your breath, and when you get your heart and lungs on the same page, hydrate. Raise your hand if your neighborhood barista knows your name and your beverage of choice. Share your favorite morning drink with your riding buddy.”
Stage 4: Impossible Hill Climb (~6 minutes)
“Imagine that impossible hill you have yet to climb without getting off the bike. Today is the day you reach the top and stay on the bike the entire way. There will be no ‘walk of shame.’ Stay strong and steady with a moderate intensity until you get closer to the top, where you’ll ramp it up. Is there one thing you can do to work harder and stay challenged without going breathless or getting off the bike? Get to the top and feel you’ve conquered Mount Everest!”
Stage 5: Recovery Flat (~2 minutes)
“Good day, sunshine! Catch your breath and take it easy. Did you make it up the hill without getting off your bike? Sit up tall with pride like a champion. Share the location of the impossible hill you just conquered with your riding buddy.”
Stage 6: Standing Hill/Seated Flat 5-4-3 Drill (~16 minutes)
“A 5–4–3 drill alternates hard and moderate intensities and fast and slow cadences. This stage consists of 5 minutes’ hard intensity, 2 minutes’ moderate, 4 minutes’ hard, 2 minutes’ moderate and 3 minutes’ hard. I saved the best for last. What can you do to ensure this will be your best stage?
“You must be a little crazy to work out in the morning. If you are feeling crazy, give your neighbor a thumbs-up. Do you feel how your legs respond to the hard intensity with a slower cadence and the moderate intensity with a quicker cadence? Your legs feel delightfully confused! Time the start of the 5-4-3 drill with your watch, wall clock or the bike console timer. Count down the time with your riding buddy and celebrate the process together.”
Stage 7: Cool-Down Recovery Flat (~8 minutes)
“Are you awake now? How has your body responded to the ride? Cool down, stretch and congratulate your riding buddy. Here comes the sun. Go take on your day!
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