Review: The Sufferfest – Do As You’re Told

When we found that The Sufferfest were releasing more videos, we soon got over our initial reaction of fear and got quite excited about the prospect of more flogging material.

Do As You’re Told is one of three new videos and one which was designed to improve explosive speed and improve recovery time between efforts. 
The premise of the video is simple – just do as you’re told. 
Who’s doing the telling? The Directeur Sportif of MTN Qhubeka and the team car are behind the suffering about to be inflicted, with fascinating on-board footage throughout the video that compliments the plot line perfectly.
The video features footage from the Tour of Flanders and Strade Bianche, including improved bike camera footage that we first saw used in The Rookie. In DAYT the footage puts you bang in the middle of the peloton as you jostle for position, chase attacks and lead out the peloton. 
The camera footage makes it easy to place yourself in the context of the video which in turn makes it easy to follow the plot and exert yourself when you’re told to do so. 
As you spin up your legs at the start of the video, you’re greeted with a James Bond-esque introduction with a tense soundtrack and graphics that would make any kaleidoscope enthusiast faint, setting the tone for the rest of the video.
The full breakdown of the workout is:
11:30 Warm Up
12:00 11 Matched Intervals
4:00 Recovery
12:00 11 Inverse Intervals
3:00 Cool Down

The warm up is quite long compared to other Sufferfest videos, which made us very wary of what was coming. The warm up is well put together with changes in pace using appropriate race footage as you wind your way through Flanders’ fields and prepare for the first set of intervals. 
The plot is easy to follow with the MTN team car relaying their expectations of you, including the dreaded flaming, shredded chamois and a box of Sufferlandrian pain suckers which your are constantly threatened with.
A nice new feature brought in for these videos is the RPE scale indicator that tells you what effort level is coming up next. This is a good expansion on the green/red arrows the previously told you if the effort is going up or down and allows you to measure your efforts more effectively.
The matched intervals begin with an effort of 10″ and a recovery of 10″ followed by 20″ and 20″ all the way up to 1′ before you wind your way back down again. The first set up to 1′ is enough to shake you out of your warm up with the descending intervals back down to 10″ causing plenty of suffering.
Whilst effective race footage is used the short spaces between intervals makes it difficult to select the right gear, especially if you are using a magnetic resistance function on your turbo trainer as well as the gears on the bike. It’s a lot of shifting gear when you’re trying to focus on your efforts and the footage. This would be especially difficult if you didn’t have a cadence sensor to tell you if you need to adjust your rate as you have to try and count seconds as well as juggling gears and efforts.
The recovery period sees the team car chastise you for not suffering hard enough and telling you to get your act together before the next set – the inverse intervals.
The inverse intervals put you in the middle of the dusty roads of Tuscany in the Strade Bianche classic. The efforts are opposites so you start with a 10″ sprint and a 50″ recovery, then do a 20″ and 40″ and so on until you’re at 50″ and 10″ before descending again. 
These intervals are brutal, as you suffer more your team becomes more pleased with your efforts which goes a long way to encouraging you to keep putting everything out there, especially on the final sprint where you follow Stybar to victory.
Whilst the plot is easy to follow, the intervals weren’t. At this level of suffering, keeping track of the intervals is so difficult that the only thing we could focus on is doing as we were told: sprinting when we heard the gunshot and slowing when we heard the brakes. We only knew there were 11 intervals because they were counted on screen.
As soon as you cross the line and head into the recovery, the tone of the video changes. It moves away from the rock and dance focused soundtrack and hectic race footage to a scene that wouldn’t look out of place in the Godfather, with a gentle soundtrack and stunning Italian scenery as you descend into the recovery zone.
Do As You’re Told sees The Sufferfest improve yet again with more great features and an awesome soundtrack that keeps your legs spinning when your brain doesn’t want them to. It combines a great plot that is easy to follow with amazing bike cam footage that puts you in the middle of the action, making defying orders and not doing as you’re told almost impossible. Just make sure you have a bucket handy for afterwards.
You can buy Do As You’re Told here at The Sufferfest for $12.99 (~£8.45) and view the rest of their training videos.
+ Advance RPE warning feature added to effort up/down arrows
+ Amazing bike cam footage
+ Great plot line
– Lots of gear changing in early intervals that distract from effort
– Inverse intervals confusing to follow
– Difficult to gauge effort without cadence sensor, especially in short efforts
Overall we give The Sufferfest: Do As You’re Told video 8.5/10 

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