Fit to Fly

sascha's 6 week challenge STORY

Sascha in full jetfighter pilot uniform.

What do you do for a living? I’m a documentary filmmaker.

When did you begin the 6 week challenge? In November 2016.

How’d you come to find out about BECYCLE? I was filming a documentary on the German fitness industry. BECYCLE was one of three stories featured in the film. We interviewed Gundula and filmed a class with Damien. I loved what I saw that day on the shoot because I had been indoor cycling for many years, but never in this context.

What was your motivation to take the challenge? I was gearing up to make a documentary about fighter jet pilots in the German Air Force. This was going to involve me taking flight in the Eurofighter, which is one of the most advanced fighter jets. I knew it would be really strenuous on the body, as I had flown three years prior in an F-4 Phantom jet. The G forces during that flight were really hard on my body, so I knew first-hand in order to fly in the Eurofighter, I’d have to be extremely fit.

What were your first impressions/experiences of the challenge? The first few ride classes were quite strenuous, I got out of breath. After a couple of weeks, it got easier and easier. I was no longer out of breath. In the end it became a question of strength. I pushed my limit every time, of course, but soon it was all about how hard I could go.

Did you notice a difference between the Phantom flight you took three years ago and the Eurofighter flight taken post-6 week challenge? Definitely. It was much easier. In fact, before I was allowed to fly in a fighter jet, I was checked out by flight doctors, if I was fit to fly. This included an exercise electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) on a stationary bike. On my last check up, my test results were the best they’ve ever been. Way better than before the previous flight three years ago. This was post-challenge and after taking three months of continuous rides at BECYCLE.

Were you scared to fly in the Eurofighter? No, it was always a childhood dream of mine.

Sascha's dream come true.

Sascha's dream come true.

Then it sounds like you kept up with your cadence of attendance post-6 week challenge. Actually, I came more often post-challenge. During the 6 week challenge, I took only ride classes. Starting out, sometimes it took me a couple days to recover between rides, but quickly got easier and the recovery time much shorter. Now I’m hooked and my body is used to the workouts. And as a monthly member, I’m mixing in more refine classes.

Are you a challenge seeker and taker? I’d say so. For a long time, I was struggling to be motivated for sports. But with the 6 week challenge, when you sign up you have to go! You do it and it’s rewarding.

Was the reward of 99 euros back also a motivator to beat the challenge? Sure, who doesn’t like 99 euros?!

Did you have to work around your workout schedule? No, I’m a freelancer.

Have you done any other challenges like this, outside of BECYCLE, like marathons? I’ve being going to fitness clubs since the late 90s and have done many many classes in gyms. But then I wasn’t so motivated. The challenge pushed me into a regular workout routine. The difference is it’s fun and motivating. You can challenge yourself on a micro level, asking yourself things like “Do I make this a hard interval?” I usually don’t go the easy way. It’s more rewarding to go hard.

Are you one to come to a place than work out on your own? Yes, I need the place, a community and someone yelling at me.

As far as nutrition goes, did you change up your diet at all for the challenge? Sure, if I took an evening class, I would eat light before. I couldn’t eat a cheeseburger for instance. There’s always more to do. I try to eat healthy. This is why the early classes were better for me,

Did you ever feel like giving up? No. You never regret it.

What would you tell someone considering taking the 6 week challenge? Do it. Don’t think, just do it. If you’re into cycling and good music, just do it.

Why do you love BECYCLE? The place where I used to work out, only had two cycling classes a week, which didn’t work well with my fitness needs or schedule. The people at BECYCLE are really nice and friendly. There’s a familiar feeling. It’s a beautiful studio. The ride room is probably the best you can build, I think. The music selection of music is perfectly set to the intervals and drills. I’ve never experienced this kind of perfection anywhere else, but here.

Check out Sascha's documentary's premiere of: Kampfpiloten - Schneller als der Schall / Fighter Pilots - Supersonic on February 25th, 2018 on SPIEGEL TV Wissen. 

Interview conducted by Megan Lillick