Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Sufferfest: The Way Out Video Review

Chad Zeman first joined Triple Threat Triathlon out of Rhode Island, but now represents North Carolina on our national team. He is a recent "graduate" of Ironman University and the Head Coach at C2 Endurance.
Last but not least, Chad is a "Knight" in Sufferlandria, which he painfully earned by completing 10 Sufferfest videos back to back in a single day. Here he shares his thoughts on one of The Sufferfest's most recent releases: The Way Out.


Over the past three years I've come to love The Sufferfest 
videos - they make the trainer fun, they are to the point, and they get your heart racing. As a coach, I will only have my athletes ride these videos after the base phase unless they are absolutely antsy. Why? They stress the VO2 Max system at a time where the Northern Hemisphere is typically base training.

People have seen great gains when properly implemented, but what about those who are "recovering" or wanting to tax the fat burning system rather than the sugar burning system? In a non-Sufferfest type of workout - they did exactly that with The Way Out.

The Way Out is that perfect video that works you, but keeps you right below the edge. It's a 60 minute ride that has great landscape, music, and various workout queues to keep you on track. As a coach, this video is an essential for one of my athletes to have. 


It's a "sweet spot" workout. What this means is that you are going to be working hard enough to see fitness gains but you will not need a whole lot of time to recover. Efforts (with the exception of two) sit just below Threshold, so no lactate is going to build and stay in the system. Over the course of time, as you continue to work sub threshold, you are really recruiting muscle fibers to rebuild faster and stronger. In addition it also allows the blood vessels to provide better oxygenated blood deeper into the tissue. Below is the exact breakdown of the workout.

Serious kudos to The Sufferfest this time around - the warm-up is pretty sufficient. Notice the first Climb as well - no where near threshold. So really we are looking at an 11:30 warm up. Much better than the usual warm-up in their videos.


The video starts as all Sufferfest videos do - make sure you are cleared to ride, don't copy or pirate the videos. We also see short clips of real life cycling footage. In the video, the opening credits seriously feels like a movie production not a workout video - I almost felt like it was a murder mystery drama T.V. show or film. The opening credits seriously have improved and definitely sets the tone for the upcoming workout.

Another nice update they have done is screen directions/information. We now see the next RPE schedule in the workout, sit/stand que, Cadence, Perceived Effort, how much time is left of the interval and what is coming up next. As you are warming up, they cover what each area means.

As the workout begins, you are instantly settled in France - you actually ride a stage of The Tour de France. Crisp views of historical land markers, villages, and someone cooking. This seems to be a theme of recoveries showing people cooking and eating.

With that, we begin a story background of what is expected of you, what not to do, what is going to happen. The Sufferfest really does a good job to get a new rider informed while keeping a veteran interested.

Throughout this video, you'll also notice there isn't any real race footage. You are following endurance cyclist Michael Cotty. It's actually quite educational as if you are receiving a tour from within your own home. As the commentator continues to speak, various landscape views are shown, efforts change and you continue your workout. You never feel the need to truly push it which is key in this video/workout.

All in all, I'm actually a fan of this style of video. I am unsure how it will sell compared to the traditional "grind it out" style, but the Knights and Dames of Sufferlandria did request a recovery video for in-between days and The Sufferfest delivered.


Overall I'd give it a 10 out of 10. It provides its purpose, mixes it up, great scenic route, educational in terms of geography and more, and it does keep you interested riding on a stationary bike.

As a coach, I would recommend my athletes to download this and ride it on any Z1 and Z1/Z2 type of day no matter what phase in the plan we are in.

Check out more at The Sufferfest

Related Posts:

The Sufferfest: ISLAGIATT Review

The Sufferfest 9 Hammers Review

Tour of Sufferlandria Overview

Ironman Chattanooga Race Report: Chad Zeman

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