About Us

What is RIAK Fitness?

We are London’s only ‘bring your own bike’ turbo training and multi-sport studio.  We provide key training services that we believe are currently missing from what London has to offer triathletes and endurance athletes.  These include:

  • Fully coached and structured turbo training sessions – now online
  • Low-tech Performance Spin sessions, where all you need is static bike – now online
  • Triathlon & Endurance sport coaching
  • A popular and friendly Run Club – now online
  • Personal training designed specifically for endurance athletes – now online
  • Group strength and conditioning sessions – now online
  • Video swim assessments where we analyse your technique and provide you with the tools to develop your own swim stroke – currently on hold due to the COVID-19 crisis

Our Philosophy

We believe the key to achieving your fitness goals is consistency. At RIAK Fitness we feel the best way we can help you to attain that aspiration is by helping you to achieve balance in your life; help keep things straightforward for you and be as inclusive as possible.  Balance, simplicity and accessibility are the corner-stones of the business and everything we do.

What this means in practice is that while we take cycling and triathlon training seriously and want you to come back because you see performance gains, nonetheless, we also take balancing your training with the rest of life’s demands equally as seriously.  That is why we want every service we offer to be as simple and as accessible as possible so you have more time for life’s other demands.

Our Founder

Richard Akers

``I have been a keen cyclist for most of my life and a triathlete for about the last decade. I was once a lawyer and lived the stressful city life where every minute seems to count, especially when it comes to life outside of work, which sometimes felt like an interlude between bouts of working. That is why I am so passionate about the sessions RIAK Fitness provides. Why shouldn’t people be able to do proper cycle, triathlon or endurance training in an urban environment? It seems nuts to me that sessions like those we offer and in particular, the turbo trainer classes, aren’t everywhere considering how difficult it can be to train in an inner-city area.``

``I have been a triathlon coach for four years. Originally it was on the side whilst I worked to earn as much money as possible to set up the business. Now it is not only my passion, it’s my career and one I absolutely love! Coaching and personal training is not obviously a noble cause. However, seeing the difference it can make to someone’s sense of self-worth as I have over the course of the last few years is really what it’s about for me. Often People seem to underestimate the importance of personal achievements outside of work and the effect they can have on how happy you are.``

Richard currently runs the majority of our RIAK ONLINE sessions, triathlon coaching and personal training operations.

Our Athletes

Charel

What is your dream race to win?
Ironman 70.3 Luxembourg

Code Name:
Thunder

Favourite racing moment:
Finishing the swim at my Ironman in a PB and feeling awesome!

Which three athletes would you cobble together to create a superhuman athlete capable of taking over the world?!
Marco Pantani, Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali

2020 goals:
Finish a 70.3 strong with a decent run - aiming at 4h 45min

Overall goal:
Age group World Championship qualification in the next 3 years.

Why did you choose to commission a coach?
I work in consulting, so travelling 4 days a week with long working hours. Rich helps me to balance training with work to get the most out of every session.

What advice would you give to those new to Triathlon?
Take it step by step. It takes time and experience to build a solid foundation. Be patient and consistent with your training and you will improve – guaranteed!

School report:
Charel has the potential to become an extremely strong athlete. For someone that is so new to the sport, he has improved incredibly quickly, especially on the bike. His ability to remain calm and practical sees him knit together quality training blocks with apparent ease. This is why I think he has massive potential in the sport should he carry on this way.

Oli

What is your dream race to win?
Kona...just give me a few years

Code Name:
Tearjerker- love a good cry at a finish line

Favourite racing moment:
Breaking 3hrs for a marathon for the first time and knowing I'd qualified for Boston. (BQ Baby!)

Which three athletes would you cobble together to create a superhuman athlete capable of taking over the world?!
The shoulders of Lucy Charles, the legs of Chris Froome and the sheer class of Kipchoge.

2020 goals:
Complete another Abbott Major Marathon Race, a sub 10hr Ironman… and actually stick to my core training plan!

Overall goal:
Qualify for Kona by 2023

Why did you choose to commission a coach?
After completing two Ironman races on my own, I felt my training had plateaued. I wanted to start competing rather just completing and knew to achieve that I had to take it to the next level. Enter Rich to make that happen!

What advice would you give to those new to Triathlon?
Endurance sport is 90% a mental game. It's a long day out that's hard work on your mind, so make sure you're ready to dig deep at times.

Secondly, backwards caps make you go faster.

Thirdly, fuelling in the right way and consistency in training is key. Nothing feels better than nailing both.

School report:
Oli has to be the most positive athlete I have ever worked with and I love his attitude to racing. When something doesn’t go right, he doesn’t get down on himself, he switches the goal and looks for a new objective, sometimes this is just about enjoying the event. This is something I have actually learnt from him, take time to enjoy events. This is coupled with natural talent, especially in the run - I think he could become a complete machine!

Katie

What is your dream race to win?
London Marathon (emphasis on ‘dream’ rather than reality!)

Code Name:
Good Gill Hunting

Favourite racing moment:
Winning the Lyon half marathon and the under-23 French cross-country national championships on my year abroad.

Which three athletes would you cobble together to create a superhuman athlete capable of taking over the world?!
I just need one - Kipchoge. No other explanation required.

2020 goals:
1. To complete my first Ironman 2. To break 3-hours for the marathon 3. To compete in a cycling crit race

Overall goal:
1. Qualify for Kona 2. Reach my running potential 3. Compete for England / GB in running or triathlon

Why did you choose to commission a coach?
I am very new to triathlon, coming from a running background with an unfortunate injury history. I wanted a coach to help me learn a new sport, keep injury free and maintain a positive work / training balance.

What advice would you give to those new to Triathlon?
Train your head as much as your legs! Sport and competing doesn’t have to be stressful! You can still train extremely hard but have a huge amount of fun along the way 🙂

School report:
Katie is an absolutely fantastic athlete and rarely do her limitations lie in her physical capabilities. If we can keep her injury free, I think we could unleash a monster! She’s a gifted runner, strong in the swim and now seems to find cycling a doddle. Prepare yourself Ironman, Katie’s exponential development shows no sign of diminishing!

Paul

What is your dream race to win?
I aspire to do 1) an Ironman/Full Distance Tri; 2) a 10k in less than 40 mins; and 3) a 5K in less than 20. I've also not yet run a Marathon but would love to and to do some ultra-distance off road racing.

Code Name:
Watto

Favourite racing moment:
Completing my first Olympic tri was pretty cool. I love riding in the French alps and I love riding in the Lake District - last year completing the Fred Whitton route with a few mates was a great day.

2020 goals:
It would be great to be at front up some of the hills/and generally more on the front/less at the back of my club rides.

Overall goal:
The main goal though is to complete Alp d'Huez Tri in good time and form having DNF'd on two previous occasions!

Why did you choose to commission a coach?
I had not decided to get a coach until I met Rich at his turbo training sessions. He was a good guy and I realised I was investing a lot of time, effort and money into Triathlon, so it seemed worthwhile to get a coach.

What advice would you give to those new to Triathlon?
I have learned a lot about the different training zones and energy systems and ensuring your training takes a broad approach across these.

School report:
Paul is relatively new to the squad but has already improved an immense amount. He now seems to gobble up bike miles like an addict and his newly developed inherent strength is an advancement I am particularly proud of. 2020 might be a write-off but I think Alp D’huez 2021 is going to be his b*itch!

Anna

What is your dream race to win?
Ironman 70.3 World Champs

Code Name:
Mini Dynamo

Favourite racing moment:
Running Boston Marathon, the year after the attack. Such an emotional race and the biggest crowd I have ever seen come out for a race! It was amazing to be part of such an experience.

Which three athletes would you cobble together to create a superhuman athlete capable of taking over the world?!
Chrissie Wellington - For being such an icon to her sport over so many years, Daniela Ryf - Because she's an absolute beast and her endurance is incredible and Serena Williams - To counter balance with some badass attitude.

2020 goals:
To qualify for Ironman 70.3 World Champs. Ideally it would have been Taupo 2020 but now Utah 2021.

Overall goal:
To be on the British Triathlon Age-Group Team... And, if I make a marathon come back at any point, then a cheeky sub 3hr is still on the ultimate goal list.

Why did you choose to commission a coach?
I've followed plans and had online coaching over a number of years for marathon and triathlon training, but I want to see what I can achieve and how much I can potentially improve with a coach on my side.

What advice would you give to those new to Triathlon?
Stick to the plan! Don't be tempted to increase mileage or training intensity too quickly or you'll risk injury - yes, I speak from experience.

I like to think I'm pretty self-aware and know my strengths and weaknesses - but the key thing I've learned so far is that there are areas I wouldn't have thought to build or work on (e.g. bike sprints to improve my hill work).

School report:
Anna is a phenomenal athlete, strong across the board and coupled with real emotional intelligence when it comes to managing her training. Really excited to see where we can take Anna in her quest for 70.3 World Champs qualification. COVID-19 might have moved the goal posts, but I think it has only made her goal more of a reality.

Tom

What is your dream race to win?
London Marathon

Code Name:
Gazelle

Favourite racing moment:
Completing Ironman 70.3 Mallorca - my first ever triathlon and the finish line feeling was indescribable.

Which three athletes would you cobble together to create a superhuman athlete capable of taking over the world?!
Lucy Charles-Barclay - rapid swimmer Eliud Kipchoge - HE DID A SUB 2 MARATHON! Job done!

2020 goals:
To become stronger on the bike part of Ironman 70.3 to get a PB at Mallorca in 2021. Then to complete my first full Ironman in Hamburg.

Overall goal:
To continue to enjoy sport, whilst pushing my limits to keep proving it is mind over matter.

Why did you choose to commission a coach?
I lacked the structure and balance whilst trying to train independently and wanted the support of being able to get through an Ironman.

Rich knows a ridiculous amount. From gruelling run sessions, bike training that makes you weep, to knowing when you've not been stretching! I've never known someone to really know how to use the gym to make such a big difference too in all triathlon disciplines.

What advice would you give to those new to Triathlon?
Be prepared for commitment, but make sure you enjoy it.

School report:
Tom is one of the originals. He joined RIAK when it was but a mere whisper on the triathlon scene. It has been amazing watching him develop as an athlete over the last few years, especially as a cyclist. He has improved in every respect but I think if we were to compare his bike capabilities when he first started, to how he can now crush the pedals, I think the contrast would make us both very proud! Seriously looking forward to where we can take his performances in the future!

Dean

What is your dream race to win?
I’m not in it to win just complete. I guess my dream event to finish would be a Deca Ironman type event.

Code Name:
FFS would be my code name as that’s the first response from my support crew doing a race.

Favourite racing moment:
Crossing the finish line at The Brutal.

Which three athletes would you cobble together to create a superhuman athlete capable of taking over the world?!
Michael Phelps, Chris Froome, Mo Farah. Can you tell I’m a triathlete?

2020 goals:
Finish The Double Brutal Extreme Triathlon, do the Panama Coast-to-Coast & have as much fun as possible on the way.

Overall goal:
Keep racing, keep pushing myself and having fun

Why did you choose to commission a coach?
I need the structure of a training program and the interaction between myself and a coach to discuss how things are going and where I’m struggling
.
What advice would you give to those new to Triathlon?
The biggest piece of advice I would give anyone is make sure it’s fun and you’re enjoying it, and get a coach! With the right support, anything is achievable.

School report:
Deano, what a bloody legend! Absolute sociopath in terms of the events he chooses, but I love working with him. The inherent strength he has developed since we have been working together is the thing I’m most pleased with. He’s a fantastic endurance athlete and I think the increased power and strength he now has will make even crazy races such as the Double Brutal seem manageable.

Matt

What is your dream race to win?
Aiming to win a Cat 2 race

Code Name:
Goose (but see school report)

Favourite racing moment:
Training rides in Mallorca

2020 goals:
Reach Cat 2 and be competitive in racing at that level.

Overall goal:
Increase racing and achieve. consistent results

Why did you choose to commission a coach?
You can’t beat structured training. Particularly when I'm not performing as I want to or hitting the numbers I know I can, having a coach who I trust and I can speak with, reassures me that I might just be having a bad day and actually I'm making progress.

What advice would you give to those new to Triathlon?
There are no shortcuts, gains hurt, but it’s so good when it all comes together and you have one of those days when you're just flying. You can push yourself so much further than you think!

School report:
The ‘Calves of Valhalla’ – see photo. Matt has turned into an absolute monster on the bike and I’m super pleased with his progress. Extremely looking forward to seeing how that progress translates into race performance, once such things can happen again. Matt is a paragon for how quickly you can develop if you focus on building consistent and high-quality training. As soon as we gave him structure and told him it’s okay to take a rest day, it was game on.

Ross

What is your dream race to win?
Tro Bro Leon. You win a live pig. It's also a class race across the farmyards of Brittany. But mainly in it for the pig. I'd call him Hinault.

Code Name:
Short Round. After the kid from Indiana Jones: The Temple of Doom.

Favourite racing moment:
Winning my first race was sweet as it was the Melbourne equivalent of Crystal Palace but 3 days later I won solo on a pan flat crit course by about a minute. Given my build I'm not sure it'll ever happen again and subsequently I found out that the bunch hadn't been told anyone was up the road. A win is a win is a win however and they accidentally gave me both primes too so I wound up taking $135 home essentially by accident.

Which three athletes would you cobble together to create a superhuman athlete capable of taking over the world?!
Male - The head of Ayrton Senna, the upper body of Roger Federer and the legs of Usain Bolt. The vision, the poise, the power.
Female - The head of Abby Wambach, the upper body of Van Vleuten and the lower body of Serena Williams. I'm not sure of a sport that person wouldn't dominate.

2020 goals:
Regain my cat 2 licence and win a Palace crit.

Overall goal:
Be the best athlete I can be while maintaining a ``normal`` life.

Why did you choose to commission a coach?
For accountability and structure.

What advice would you give to those new to Triathlon?
Find pleasure in pain. You might not feel it day to day but structured training will bring you on leaps and bounds.

School report:
Ross has to be one of the most knowledgeable and natural cyclists I’ve come across. His ability to look effortlessly cool all the damn time is nicely matched by his immense potential on the bike. Giving such a natural rider a bit of structure is super exciting and I can’t wait to see him take the ‘W’ at Crystal Palace!

Jason

What is your dream race to win?
I'd love to win something like R.A.A.M or Dirty Kanza

Code Name:
Jackal. A nickname bestowed upon me by Coach Akers on our first ever bike ride (still don't know what he's insinuating?!)

Favourite racing moment:
Hearing the crowd cheer you on at the final 100m of Mallorca 70.3

2020 goals:
My goal going into 2021 would be to develop my overall cycling ability so I can be a better all-round rider.

Overall goal:
To hopefully do an ultra-endurance cycle race and also be able to chase podiums in cat 2 races.

Why did you choose to commission a coach?
My training before Riak was to go out and hit each ride/run hard and over time I wasn't see any noticeable improvements and in some cases my performance actually dropped! Rich introduced me to proper structured training and I'm very happy with my progress

What advice would you give to those new to Triathlon?

What piece of advice would you give anyone new to endurance sport?
Trust in your coach and don't rush the process.

School report:
The ‘Jackal' is the ultimate in dedication. If we all had the same level of consistency and motivation, we could create some sort of super-race that felt no pain and could run longer, jump higher and generally dominate. Jason was already a cracking athlete when we started working together but I have seen him become a much more nuanced athlete capable of resisting the urge to train when he should be resting. In particular though, we have seen his bike power soar. If you ever saw the size of his quads you would understand that there is world ending power there and our task going forwards is to unlock all that strength!

Affiliated Coaches

Sophie Bankes

Sophie is a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach who is extremely passionate about helping people achieve their fitness goals. Whether it is building strength, improving fitness levels or training for a marathon, Sophie will do everything she can to get her clients there.

Sophie has a background in team sports, and after graduating University and starting work full-time she began running with friends as a way to stay fit and active. Fast forward a few years and Sophie has raced in countless half marathons, duathlons and completed her first 70.3 Ironman in May 2019.

Before moving into the world of fitness, Sophie worked in the property industry for several years. During this time Sophie managed and trained her department’s top performers. A crucial part of her role was to encourage, motivate and to help her team reach their full potential.

Now working in the fitness industry Sophie is continuing to work with clients to ensure they achieve their goals. If you’re new to training or you’re a seasoned athlete Sophie will be by your side to make sure you get to where you want to be.

Sophie’s own training consists of long runs along the River Thames, and when the sun is shining, she likes to ride around the Surrey Hills. While in the gym, she enjoys getting stuck into a heavy barbell session and will often team these workouts with a sweaty high heart rate finisher.

Sophie is the lead coach for our Performance Spin & Strength sessions. Catch her online for her extremely popular strength & conditioning sessions or for a spin in her low-tech spin classes.

Matt Wright

Matt is a BTF L2 tri coach, with a wealth of experience in coaching athletes of all levels. His coaching philosophy is founded on the idea that a coach’s role is to accelerate the rate of improvement for each athlete, whilst enriching their experience in the sport. An engineer by training, his approach is rooted in scientific research, whilst recognising that if we aren’t having fun, we are missing the point!

As an athlete, Matt has 20 years of experience competing as a swimmer up to national standard. He races triathlon up to domestic elite level in the British Super Series and has won medals at age-group national championships, all whilst balancing training with a successful coaching business, a day job in engineering, and a busy social life.

Matt offers individualised training plans and 1-2-1 coaching through ΔTRI (pronounced Delta Tri), and coaches squad sessions for Savage Tri Club in Basingstoke. Head to www.deltatri.co.uk for more info.

Matt now also runs some of our RIAK ONLINE sessions. In particular, you can find him on a Thursday turning and burning and imparting his impressive level of technical knowledge.

Tanya Selby

Tanya is a qualified England Athletics running coach, Level 3 Personal trainer and Sports Massage Therapist.

Coming from a background in rehab and performance means she has experience helping a wide range of abilities, from athletes to beginners. Her specialisms are in posture, hypermobility and strength and conditioning for endurance sports.

Tanya is dedicated to helping you achieve your goals and ensuring you enjoy the process along the way. She is an approachable coach who will work with you to achieve long lasting change. Her sessions focus on technique and functional exercises to help you regain your energy and ensure you feel confident in your daily life. Her enthusiasm will help you push yourself to achieve measurable results.

Along with many personal successes as a runner and cyclist Tanya has experienced her own setbacks, linked to overtraining and poor biomechanics. She is now more passionate than ever to help others avoid common pitfalls and can empathise fully with the many frustrations that come from falling in and out of training.

Tanya is the Run Club’s lead coach, which is now meeting online but outside of the COVID-19 crisis, can be seen dominating the asphalt in the vicinity of the RIAK Fitness Studio. She now also runs our fascinating and incredibly beneficial Prehab Strength sessions.

Partners

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