Monday, July 25, 2011

My Report: Spinervals Taping featuring Ray Lewis | EPIC!

Wow!  In my 15+ years of exercise video production, I’ve never had an experience like I did this past weekend with the video taping of two new Spinervals Team Sports Performance workouts with Ray Lewis. 

First, a little background.  Ray Lewis (his Official Website, is a Super Bowl MVP and multi-time All Pro linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens who will undoubtedly go to the Hall of Fame as one of the best defensive players in the history of the NFL. Even as he nears the end of his career now in his mid-30’s, he’s still revered as one of the best in the league and is the leader and soul of the Raven’s football team.   Ray’s level of stardom and admiration in Baltimore and with football fans throughout the country is that of a rock star.

I grew up playing football since the age of 10 through my freshman year in college, so I’ve always loved the game and I follow it as much as time allows.  I’ll never forget when the Colts left Baltimore in Mayflower trucks for Indianapolis in the dead of night when I was a kid.  That was a sad day.  I think that if I had not discovered and fell in love with the sport of triathlon, I would have pursued a career as a football coach.

Starting the first workout with Ray at Under Armour.
The story goes that Ray has been using Spinervals workouts as part of his off-season conditioning program and was seeing the results he wanted.  So, when the unique opportunity presented itself to have one of greatest players of the game take part in a Spinervals video project, I wasn’t about to pass it up. As they say, when opportunity knocks, you'd better be prepared to answer the call.    After a few conference calls and meetings with Ray’s business partners and agent, Marc Rosen, we quickly set a date to shoot in July, prior to the start of training camp for NFL teams.  I am humbled by this because a star athlete like Ray can work with whomever he wants.  It's an honor to me that he chose Spinervals and further validates the benefits of intense indoor cycling workouts for all athletes.

The location chosen was the headquarters of performance apparel company, Under Armour (Official Website,  Another incredible Baltimore success story, Under Armour is one of Ray’s sponsors and features him in many of their iconic commercials, including the slogan, “Protect this HOUSE!” 

The casting of the athletes for the videos were handled by a long time friend and former pro-cyclist, Kristy, and her business partner, Greg, a former NFL player and U.S. Olympic Bobsledder.  They recruited some former professional athletes, including former NBA star Gheorghe Muresan and former Baltimore Oriole, Michael Young, in addition to local high school and collegiate team sport athletes (LaCrosse, Football, Basketball, etc.).  We even had a top Fitness Competitor and Raven Cheerleader in the videos to cover more athletic pursuits. And, of course, we had a few road cyclists and triathletes involved to stay true to our roots, competitive endurance sports training.

The day of shooting was flawless, as usual.  My production group included Mark Gambo and his crew at Jomar Productions, Torrence, Nancy and Heather. We have exercise video making down to a science … as I guess we should after 15 years and over 70 titles! J

I had not met Ray before the morning of the shoot.  He arrived with an entourage of people including his fiancé, personal assistant and personal chef/nutritionist.  He has an aura and a special presence about him that is apparent as soon as he enters a room.  People stared as their football hero got ready to mount his LOOK carbon bicycle attached to the green Kurt Kinetic Fluid Trainer as other athletes got on their own bikes or SPINNER NXT's. He graciously and very genuinely posed for pictures and signed autographs before and after the video tapings.

Coaching Ray through a tough set of intervals.
Ray started using Spinervals videos and added cycling to his legendarily intense training regimen about 1 year ago.  He is known as one of the hardest working athletes in the sport, training 6 hours a day, 6 days a week in preparation for the football season.  He likes Spinervals for the interval training, and saw how workouts like them can benefit team sport athletes, typically concerned more with short burst explosive power and speed than with endurance.  In a way, he’s a visionary, and looks beyond traditional training in the Strength and Conditioning field for team sport athletes. He believes that his hard training on the bike has helped his speed, power and stamina and that’s why he wanted to get together with me to let other Team Sport athletes know of his discovery.  Spinervals Team Sports Performance workouts will help take speed and strength athletes to new heights of success and Ray is creating this path.

Once on the bike, I was immediately impressed by his pure athleticism.  Here was a man of incredible speed, size (6’1”, 250 lbs) and strength and during the first set of high cadence leg speed drills, he was smooth and steady, spinning his legs at over 130 rpms.  “Awesome!”, I thought to myself… “he truly does “get it”.   You should have seen how the bike frame seemed to twist and bend at times when he performed high power intervals… frightening. 

The two workouts are about 50-60 min. in duration and feature a warm up,  a technique set, an anaerobic threshold set and a power/speed development set.  A gradual progression, intensity builds throughout the workout.  As anyone knows who does my workouts, I really get into it during the hard sets. I think that comes from my football background where emotions and intensity are so important, as opposed to patience and ‘holding back’, as in endurance sports.  In any event, during the hard sets when I was getting into it and talking about ‘heart’ and ‘focus’ and ‘paying the price to win’, Ray was getting into it too.  He’s a born motivator and we were playing off of each other’s emotions and intensity. His intensity, and that of the other athletes, was incredible and it gave me goosebumps with each hard set.  I felt like I was in the huddle with Ray getting ready to defend a  4th and goal with one yard to go for a TD in the 4th quarter.  My adrenaline was spiked so high during those sets, I can’t describe the feeling in words! I hope you can ‘feel it’ when you do the workouts.  Here's a sample video of his intensity on the field, 
Thanks goes out to my long time sponsors and partners, Life Time Fitness, SPINNING, Kurt Kinetic and FORD for their continuing support.  And thanks to Under Armour and GARMIN for their help in making this a reality.  Finally, thanks to the professional team at RL52, including Ray Lewis, Marc, Greg, Kristy and Laura... as well as the athletes who took part in the workouts. Awesome job!

Look for these new videos to be released in Fall 2011.

Train smart,
-       Coach Troy
p.s. for more pics from the video taping, please visit SPINERVALS on Facebook

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