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Spin Teaching...tips, any regrets?

Miranda2010-05-02 17:53:08 +0000 #1
I found spinning first before road cycling. Due to some health issues, I could no longer no impactive exercise, and was told biking was an option for me. I had always been a high impact aerobics class person before. Thankfully, the spinning fit the bill. Then, once in class a while, the roadies helped me find the joy of outside as well. I have been asked to get cert to teach spinning and am debating if it would change my love for it. One of my roadie guy friends said it "would kill my spirit to ride, and it would then become work". Maybe true. I have the fear of course of being in front of the class, as you can not make everyone happy. But, it is something I whole heartedly believe in for any fitness level. Also, I have a bit of both camps to offer as a potential instructor. There is one camp, more just cardio class people, that love it for the music/organization etc. The other camp, are the roadies, who like more of the technical style. We have different teachers that fit both with the experiences and style--but no one person that is of both. I guess for any of you ladies that teach, any thoughts or advice... or any other non-teaching ladies comments. Thanks!


AuntieK2010-05-02 17:59:06 +0000 #2
Wow! I totally could have written that post!

Becoming a Spinning instructor has been one of the best things I've done. I love my job! In no way has teaching lessened my love of riding outdoors or of the Spinning environment. The only time they conflict is when I'm tapering for a race, then I just teach my Spinning class off the bike. I do wish I would attend other instructors classes more...I do get tired of myself every once in a while.

Everybody goes through the fear of being in front of the class. I used to be a very shy, introverted person. Becoming an instructor has helped me become much more outgoing, and I'm no longer afraid to speak in front of groups.

I think you can teach in a way that can make both the cardio-class people and the roadies, who do occasionally come indoors, happy. I have both come to my classes, and they keep coming back, so I must be doing something right.

So, I say go for it! You'll never know how you'll feel about it until you give it a try. You can always stop instructing if you find it doesn't work for you.
latelatebloomer2010-05-02 18:08:02 +0000 #3
My favorite, and IMHO the best spin instructors at my gym, are also cyclists. I think this is because they are more focused on fitness results through interval training and such rather than an hour-long stream of pure cardio and cheerleading/drill sargent hollers. I also know they get better results from their new spinners, even, or especially those with a lot of weight to lose. The very best instructor is a champion masters road and track racer who often teaches off the bike. He can walk around, check your HR, offer tips/encouragement, refill your water bottle, etc. He observes his spinners carefully and seems to have a clear idea of their status and improvement. His class are almost always full.

The non-cyclist spin instructors more often come in, jump on the bike, ride like maniacs for an hour, and go. Some people prefer them, I guess, but when I must take one of their classes, I ignore or modify their routines (push ups on the handle bars while doing high-cadence?

how about I spin and then do real push ups on the floor, instead?)

I think of all the trainers at the gym, the spin instructors have the best opportunity to take unfit people under their wing and help them get real results. So I say, please go for it! Confront those front-of-the-room jitters (DH and I both did in the educational world and are now considered classroom naturals, hoho) and help people change their lives!
han-grrl2010-05-02 18:23:13 +0000 #4
hello Miranda

I teach spinning, and mountain biking, this summer i even worked at a mountain bike camp...

I found doing this WAS definitely too much. I did start to burn out.

I decided this fall not to teach at all, and focus on my personal training side of my business, i will tell you how things go.

As for certifications - choose wisely. They can be expensive to take, and to maintain. Mad Dog Spinning is what i have. The main draw back is no "apprenticeship" you are on your own trying to apply what you have learned.

I love teaching spinning, the environment is fantastic and it definitely helps that i race and ride. I have found that i dont "trust" instructors that don't have true riding experience.

Those are some random thoughts.

Enjoy and have fun!

Hannah
Miranda2010-05-02 19:01:09 +0000 #5
Thx ladies for the thoughts on the teaching

. Still thinking about it, and good points made to help me decide.
Raindrop2010-05-02 19:05:44 +0000 #6
I'm an outdoor cyclist AND an indoor cycling instructor that has been at it since 1996. In no way my enthusiasm waned from teaching indoor cycling. In fact, I was strictly a mountain biker when I started teaching and ended up converting or at least changing my primary focus to road biking after teaching the classes for awhile.

I do find that my classes attract more people that include cyclists and competetive riders as well as the more typical member looking to get fit and/or lose some fat.

I didn't come from an aerobic background and that is probably one of the reasons I never thought about making my class choreographed aerobic work. I run my own in-home personal training business and have always focused on basing my classes on training with a purpose which means the members know what the focus of each class will be and how it can benefit them.

By the way, I was (and still am in a non-class situation) an introvert, but it's something that's easily overcome when you are following a passion. I hope you seriously consider getting certified and start teaching. There are way too many classes taught by people that want to "jazz" up a cycling program by adding non-cycling contraindicated stuff.
OakLeaf2010-05-02 20:31:21 +0000 #7
Just another thought.

I teach aerobics, not spinning. (Indoor bikes hurt my knees, and besides I hate cardio machines.)

Before I started teaching, I did aerobics almost every day. I started teaching about the same time that I came back to cycling. So I'm not getting any less cardio than before.

But it's definitely a different dynamic when one instructor goes to another instructor's class. If attendance is high at your gym, you may not even be able to go to other instructors' classes if the bikes are filled by paying members. Putting together a class is more work than I ever imagined, and I definitely would not want to teach every day.

Just something to think about with the winter months approaching and less light for outdoor riding... how will you get your cardio on the days you don't teach?
Miranda2010-05-02 20:44:44 +0000 #8
More good points. OK, I'm thinking about the comment on going into another instructors class. Do you mean to take the class, or sub to teach the class? I think you mean just to take it, with the teacher knowing you teach as well...with perhaps the idea that one's work is being "critiqued" by a fellow instructor?

Some of the teachers, I noticed on the side, there is a bit of gossip. Which is not me at all. Just a negative waste of energy.

At first, I was a bit of a spoiled brat cry baby to a diff teacher from the one I "loved". Then, after having to mix it up, by schedule forced alone, I developed a humbled appreciation truly for all the teachers and the unique values they incorportated into their classes.

The combination of them, made me such a better spinner, and lead to the one technical teacher helping me find the road. Now, another cofession, of something I went thru, post becoming a road rider, is that I found myself a bit snobbish again, towards some of the teaching techniques.

Some I think go against the fundamentals of teaching a group class to all levels & spinning in general. Some go against what I know to do on the road. Resistence is one example.

I'm still learning about road riding, but as a new cyclists, one thing I used to do, that aided in killing a prior knee injury I had, was to push too hard of a gear. Now, I use my cadence, vs a knee stressing gear, to get me what I want, and my injury likes that better.

If I am not up to the resistence drills to the fullest in spin class, because my knee is maybe sore from a prior day's outside ride etc, I use my cadence for my intensity and modify. Or use same cadence, and less resistence.

One teacher razzes me about it, and once on her "walk around class" (which I personally hate as a spinner--I'm a responsible adult, in a voluntary adult class to benefit myself, I do not need a babysitter to announce my stats mid class and make a big whoop about it--on the whole, I'm all "the animal" that I'm capable of giving, so back off) she turned my resistence dial mid drill, and about blew my knee out--hurt, had my eyes closed, I didn't know she was there until she did it. I could have choked her.

Also, my asthma meds just spike up my heart rate a bit, so I know I will be higher than the average spinner in class, it's a side effect, but my doc's ok with it, my heart can take it etc., and she'll razz me about that. I have said, "ok, I'm modifiing for a reason etc...", general good class rule of thumb for things to be safe. Just irritating, and a bit dangerous on the day she messed with my tension dial.

So, ok, on my snob critique, those things would be something I would NOT do as an instructor. Thx for listening to the rant!

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