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 the RealRyder Training Schedule 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.