Sufferfest Relaunches as SYSTM

Wahoo acquired The Sufferfest a little over two years ago, and soon after embarked upon a major platform revolution. Today Wahoo launched and rebranded The Sufferfest as SYSTM. Of all the training platforms, SYSTM has probably changed the most since its introduction. The Sufferfest began as a collection of high-energy videos to inspire and motivate you during training workouts. The theme was pain, intensity, humor, and fun. The Sufferfest had a dedicated following. The original name represented what they were about and what people were looking for. Sufferfest sold its content to other platforms, but then developed its own app-based platform to host its content. Along the way they added yoga, mental training, strength training, and structured plans. The team began to realize that the current name and original philosophy no longer matched the future direction.

Welcome SYSTM

SYSTM is Wahoo’s vision to be the world's most complete training app for endurance athletes. This is not a veneer with a new name. SYSTM is a two-year redevelopment of the platform and content around this strategy. In my experience, people tend to resonate around three experiences with a training platform.
  • Gamification – virtual worlds and interactive races text
  • Structured training – coach-led plans designed to work toward specific cycling goals
  • Simulation – videos of actual courses with wind, hill, and surface simulations
SYSTM checks two of the boxes above: structured training and simulation. A major part of SYSTM’s two-year journey was creating a new content library. The good stuff is still there. Sufferlandria lives on; it just got annexed into a bigger country. Then they built an entirely new app to support all the content categories and brought those together under SYSTM’s Four-Dimensional Power® (4DP) model.

SYSTEM’s Content

SYSTM has 7 major categories of workouts. These are designed so that you can just jump in and do them ad-hoc depending on your mood. Plus, they are woven into the structured plans. SYSTM licensed content from famous races along with its own content and the production quality is very high.
  • Inspiration
  • ProRides
  • On Location
  • A Week With
  • GCN
  • NoVid
  • The Sufferfest

Inspiration workouts are over 50 films with insights into numerous aspects of cycling culture with interviews, commentary, and cycling celebrities. They are great if you want to get a personal view into cycling along with your workout.

ProRides is a new category that uses live content from world tour onboard camera footage synced to power files and include director sportif video and audio. These workouts give you the fast group ride or race simulation. The power files of the pro riders are indexed to your 4DP profile, so you can hang with the pros if you ride to your ability level. ProRides is launching with 6 cities, and more are coming.

On Location are good workouts but not the brutal Sufferfest rides. These offer a degree of escapism like other simulation videos. These have structured workouts attached to them, and they add a tourism twist by highlighting features in the location, like castles, breweries, ruins, etc. On Location is launching with 8 sessions and 4 Mediterranean locations are coming next year.

A Week With is a series borne from fan obsession with cycling. These sessions spend a week with a cycling celebrity. It is a one-week set of structured workouts with cutaways to life experiences with the celebrity during the interval rests. The series launches with Ian Boswell & Neal Henderson and has plans for a multisport athlete for early next year.

GCN is spin class type content. No Vids are workouts without any video content. The Yoga workouts are all 15 minutes long designed for endurance athletes. Strength Training is also 6 different focus areas designed for endurance athletes that target specific sport and overall fitness goals. The Mental Strength series is 20 different audio modules accompanied by a workbook to help build the four habits of the mental toughness for endurance.

SYSTM’s Structured Training Plans

SYSTM’s workouts, fitness tests, and training plans are built on their Four-Dimensional Power approach. Most platforms index workouts based solely on FTP and default percentages for higher intensity intervals. SYSTM’s 4DP tests to FTP, Maximum Aerobic Power (5-minute power), Anerobic Capacity (V02 Max, 1-minute power), and Neuromuscular Maximum power (sprint power, 5-second power). Each of SYSTM’s interval levels is indexed to the rider’s 4DP.

SYSTM’s structured workouts and plans are all based on their Sport Science team led by Neal Henderson. To SYSTM, this is an anchor and not an afterthought that intends to compete directly with other trainer-led platforms on the market. Their plan builder asks a series of questions to build a plan through a funnel approach.

  • Discipline
  • Goal
  • Timing
  • Terrain, Discipline, Aim, or Distance
  • Volume
  • Progression
Next year the platform is adding machine learning – artificial intelligence to further enhance the training plans. And Wahoo offer personalized live coaching through the platform in addition to the regular subscription. The plan builder works well. The only quirk I found is that you cannot alter the weekdays in the training sequence. In my case I like to tailor my plans so that I do not have 2nd workouts on Tuesdays and Fridays – I could not figure out how to do this with SYSTM. I could still do a plan; I would just have to move activities in the calendar after generating the plan.

What Else

Wahoo is planning to add many more features like training plans for badge hunters, activity analytics, seeing outside activities on the calendar, pushing workouts to head units and watches, and a coach portal for Wahoo coaches. The platform will continue to grow rapidly over the next 12 months. It will remain device agnostic, working with any trainer and most common devices (iOS, Android, Mac, and PC). The pricing is $14.99/month or $129/year.