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An Interview with Spinerval Creator, Coach Troy Jacobson

Coach Troy
Coach Troy

Troy's Web sites:


Read VF reviews of Troy's videos

by Suzanne Moriarty

I recently had the privilege to meet up with Troy Jacobson. Okay, so it might have been more than a "privilege" because this is THE Coach Troy. Troy is the creator/director and producer of Spinerval cycling videos. He also created Runerval videos (treadmill workouts), and owns his own triathlon training academy. I was introduced to Spinervals from my friends here at VF - and you know who you are! If you are interested in spinning/cycling and want an intense workout - Troy will deliver. Sometimes he delivers more than you want.

Who is Troy Jacobson? Well, after two hours with Troy, I think I know a little bit more about him. As we were chatting, Troy showed me a picture of himself from high school. He was a former football player and 40 pounds heavier…I hardly recognized him. He told me that he keeps that picture with him to remember what he used to be and how far he has come. Shortly after that picture was taken, he decided to train and compete in a triathlon and was hooked. His former football coach told him something he'll never forget; "You may think you're going to die during a workout, but at least you'll pass out first." Hmm, I like that! Troy started coaching in 1992, but has also been very successful in his own athletic pursuits. His record is very impressive.

Spinerval workouts were designed as a means for competitive cyclists to train in their off season. There are nine workouts in the Competition Series, and two in the Fitness Series (lower intensity than the Competition Series). Troy filmed his first video in 1995, when he was just 25 years old. He describes this as a "very thrilling event". The workout was called CycleRobx…and you'll have to notice Troy with a ponytail! CycleRobx went out of business, but Troy knew that there was a market for this type of cycling workout. Troy founded his company, Lifesports, Inc. and filmed the first Spinerval video in 1997 - the rest is history. Each workout has it's own theme--Troy thinks up the names for the workouts on his own.). Mental Toughness is a steady-state, longer workout; Suffer-O-Rama is hard intervals interspersed with tempo work, etc. There is quite a Spinerval "cult" here at VideoFitness, so if you need more information on a particular workout, check out the forum!

One of the drills Troy is known for is the isometric squat (you can find this drill in Mental Toughness and Muscle Breakdown). Troy told me that during his seminars, he has the participants hold an isometric squat for five minutes, while he talks and coaches them through it. It's the mental toughness part of training, and he considers it a very effective tool. I loved his story of men in business suits, doing a five-minute isometric squat. Yowsa.

Troy was genuinely interested in Video Fitness and what we are all about. When asked what he thought of the cross over his videos have made into the home exercise market, he said, (with a huge grin on his face) "I think it's awesome." I asked him how to adapt his workouts to a spinning bike, and he had a few suggestions. If you have been on a road bike, you should have a feeling for what big ring 15, etc. feels like. Try to adjust your spinning bike to that feeling. If this isn't possible, go by your perceived level of exertion.

What's ahead for Spinervals? Look for at least two new workouts to be released in the fall of 2003, including an audio CD. Since these workouts are still in the planning stages, Troy couldn't give me a solid idea of what the workouts will be like, but I'm betting they won't be easy. I think we are going to see a different look to these workouts, and can't wait for their release. I suggested developing Spinerval gear/merchandise to Troy, and hope that will be a possibility in the future.

After my interview with Troy, I came away with a higher respect for his workouts, and for Troy himself. Not only is he a tough/effective coach, he is a very nice guy. Maybe the next time I'm growling during the one-legged spins, I'll try and keep that thought in mind.

For more information on Troy and/or Spinerval workouts, check out www.spinervals.com or www.coachtroy.com.

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