Friday, March 2, 2012

Fast, Slow, Stand, Sit

I finished teaching my first spin class today. It went as well as I could have expected given that I had two weeks less to prepare than I had originally been told and am still fighting off the end of a cold. I had 6 people in the class. I would like to say that the snow kept some people away but the truth is that the class has never been very ummm... populated - 3 to 5 people is the norm - and that's okay. If I'm going to make mistakes (as rookies are wont to do) I prefer failing in front of the few as opposed to failing in front of the many. Most of us have been spinning together for years so they're a very forgiving lot and that made my debut a ton easier.

My friend who gave up the class asked one of my co-workers to make up some signs announcing my debut. I was wondering how this would go over and for the most part, the other instructors were not only congratulatory, they also asked if I was available to sub for them - this all before I had even taught my first class. I guess it's like my boss, who's also a spin instructor, said, "You go fast, you go slow, you stand up, you sit down - what else is there?" and, without going into the finer details that you can bring to the "Indoor Cycling Experience," she's pretty much right. Subbing is also a great way to pay for some of these seminars and the music.

Flying in the face of my training, which said I should be OFF the bike 99% of the time, I chose to stay on the bike. There were several reasons for this but the greatest being that the room itself is not conducive to walking around. There is no PA set up for talking into a microphone, and the bikes themselves are set up in a semi-circle so I can't actually walk behind or stand next to someone to coach them. That leaves me with talking face-to-face which lends itself to feelings of confrontation - not the nicest way to conduct a class with so few participants.

I'm no dictator. I'm not going to bark out orders and demand that the hands be in some preordained position and the resistance is cranked to a knee-ripping intensity. I made it clear that my primary goal was to guide them safely through a challenging workout and that's what I did. I figured as long I'm getting through the basics, I can get comfortable adding more imagery, etc., as we go along.

Or, I could just turn up the music.


  1. Your spin class sounds fun! I dont like to be yelled at in a class. I would probably pick up my bike and throw it like in that classic TdF video.

  2. Instructor on the bike, playing tempo music, giving instructions has been my only experience with spin classes. At the beginning and all throughout the class the instructors would say to set the resistance at your comfort level and spin at the rpm that you want.

    Most of us would try to follow the variations of the class--but Christine would set her bike on an "easy" resistance and try for 80-90 rpms. Instructors were never offended so everyone got the workout they wanted.

    Got some more rain this past week. Good for the farmers-bad for bikers. More rain predicted this week. May have to join a spin class--