Spinning Instructor Certification Overview

I just arrived home from teaching a Spinning class, so what better time to type up a summary of my Spinning Training and Certification experience than now!?

I figured a Q&A-style post would be the easiest to follow for those who may be interested in obtaining a Spinning certification. I tried to address all of the questions I received from you guys on Monday below, but please let me know if I missed anything in the comments section and I’ll definitely get back to you!

Spinning Certification Review

Spinning Instructor Training + Certification

  • There are many different cycling certifications out there. Why did you choose Spinning?

After doing a bunch of research and speaking with fitness professionals, two indoor cycling certifications stuck out to me: Spinning (via Mad Dogg Athletics) and Schwinn Cycling. I’d eventually like to get both certifications (especially because I loved the Schwinn classes I took at IDEA World), but in the end I chose Spinning simply because it is preferred by many gyms and there was a certification nearby and I wanted to get my certification ASAP.

Additionally, as you may or may not be aware, Spinning is a certified trademark and only those instructors who obtain a certification through the Spinning program are allowed to say they “teach Spin.” I wanted to have this well-respected credential under my belt so I could better market myself as a Spinning instructor.

  • Do you need to have your personal training or group exercise certifications to teach Spinning?

No. But, as always, I do highly recommend both as they provide a more in-depth knowledge of everything from anatomy and heart rate zones to injury prevention/awareness and more. You may see detailed summaries about my experience with two of the certifications offered that I personally recommend in the following posts: NASM Cerfified Personal Trainer Study Guide and AFAA Group Exercise Certification.

  • How much does it cost? Do gyms cover the cost of training for instructors?

I paid $325 for the training and my gym did not cover the expense. Some gyms will cover certifications for their instructors, so it never hurts to ask!

  • How long is the training?

unc charlotte

Last Saturday, I headed over to the University of North Carolina Charlotte campus for a 9-hour training that lasted from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. We actually went a little over our time limit, so definitely expect to be there for the full 9 hours. You must also complete an online exam within 6 months after you leave the training, though you can begin teaching right away.

  • What did you wear? Are cycling shoes required?

Spinning Clothes

(I tried really hard to snap a picture of my clothes without Sadie in it, but she wasn’t having it. So there you go. This pic kind of cracks me up… Her face is just so ridiculous.)

I wore a dri-fit tank, crops, a sports bra, comfy socks and gym shoes. I would say about half of the training participants had cycling shoes. We were encouraged to buy them after the training to wear during our classes, as they do make a big difference on the bike, but it was not a big deal at all if you didn’t have cycling shoes for the training.

  • What did you bring with you?

Spinning Instructor Manual

I loaded up my favorite gym bag with a change of clothes (highly recommended, as you will be completing two rides and sitting in sweaty clothes for hours in between would be miserable), two small towels, a water bottle, cleansing/makeup-removing towelettes, lots of snacks, lunch (most people brought their lunch, though we did have about 25 minutes to grab something nearby), a pen, my Spinning Instructor Manual, a heart rate monitor (highly advised by Spinning to bring with you) and a sweatshirt.

  • How was the training formatted?

Spinning Certification

The training is led by a Spinning Master Instructor and covers the following lessons: 

Spinner® bike setup and safety

Cycling biomechanics

Creating motivating class ride profiles: Population, Purpose, Plan, Progression

Coaching and teaching skills

Spinning Energy Zones™ and heart rate training

Music selection and visualization techniques

  • How long are the rides during training?

Spin bike

During the class, our Master Trainer also took us through two different rides. The first ride lasted about 90 minutes and focused on form and cycling biomechanics. We completed this ride with no music and simply listened to the instructor and asked questions along the way. The second ride lasted about 45 minutes and took place during the last 45 minutes of the training. This was a normal ride with music where the Master Trainer took us through a Spin class that focused on heart rate training and incorporated the lessons we went over that day.

  • Do you have to teach in front of a group during training?

No. You never actually teach the group on the bike, but you do work in pairs quite often and are expected to be able to help your partner get set up on the bike safely, etc. Our instructor also frequently called on us randomly to get up and demonstrate skills discussed throughout the day, but you never lead the group through a class on your own.

  • How long does a Spinning certification last?

Two years. Then you must submit 14 continuing education units (CEUs) to keep your certification active.

  • Does the certification count toward CEUs for other fitness certifications?

Yes. The training and certification counts toward 0.8 CECs with ACE, 0.8 CEUs with NASM and 8.0 CEUs with AFAA.


  1. says

    I’ve recently thought about getting certified. I am not sure if I would do anything with them since I do have a full time job. This is great info though. I guess it is something I am going to have to think about. Thanks for sharing.


    • stacy says

      I work full time, and have 2 certs..you can do it if you want to 🙂 I just teach 2x week so it doesn’t impact my full time stuff plus I spend time making playlists/profiles but its fun! extra $ doesn’t hurt either.


  2. Bethany says

    Are any of the certifications recommended enabled strictly online? I currently live in Europe and will be moving to Japan soon. I would love to be able to teach at a gym there.


  3. says

    Good morning!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE that photo of Sadie on your clothes. So cute!

    I got my Spinning certification back in 2009 (can’t believe it’s been that long). I had taken spin classes for years and kind of just got to the point where I felt like I could do a better job than some of the instructors. I had been laid off from my job and had plenty of time.

    I enjoyed the training, but quite honestly, I think it’s pretty easy. It’s interesting stuff to learn, but then taking an online test doesn’t necessarily make it a challenge. That said, anyone who is interested can definitely do it.

    At the end of the certification class, the instructor said to look around at those in the class. Some will make good instructors, some won’t. For some reason that resonated with me.

    What’s really odd for me is now that I’ve been teaching, I can’t stand to take a spin class. Ha! I’ll teach anytime, but just can’t make it through a class. It may be lousy instructors, but even so. I wonder if anyone else has had that feeling.


  4. says

    This was such a great post! Thank you for sharing and allowing us an inside look to what it takes for this kind of certification. I have a friend who is going to get her certification soon, and I am looking forward to hearing her experience as well. Spin is difficult for me because I have a hard time using only one piece of equipment for the entire class. I crave change!!

    I got my NASM cert last year and am looking into getting additional certs but am still trying to figure out what direction to take my training. I’m so thankful to have found your blog and get an inside look to where your fitness training has taken you. It’s inspiring!


  5. Caroline says

    Julie, this is awesome, really great rundown for anyone interested. I actually took the certification a few months ago and am still trying to muster the courage to try teaching. Do you have any tips on putting together a class? Also, do you ever try out the various workouts or skills with the songs before a class? That’s something I’m struggling with now, is not having access to a bike/classroom to practice in. Thanks for any and all advice! 🙂


  6. says

    Thanks for the great info– I had done the Schwinn certification about a year ago but have been curious about Mad Dogg as well. From what I’ve heard both are pretty similar overall and I know here in NYC each studio / gym has slightly different preferences depending on their own style.


  7. Julie says

    HI there!

    Thanks for all of the great information regarding spin. I love spinning and have been doing it for years and have recently considered teaching it. Would you happen to know how much on average spin instructors make?



  8. Mel says

    Hello!! I’ve falling in love with spinning classes and I have decided t go ahead and get certified, I live in NC and i was wondering if there are any other places around Raleigh/Durham city’s that offer the 9hr class. I have googled and nothing! (Bummer) but if I have to drive to Charlotte I will.

    Great blog,



  9. says

    Nice post! As I read this post, I realized that the Master Spinning instructor looked familiar… he and I met at a personal training workshop in Tucson, AZ. Small world, eh? Love your blog!!


  10. says

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m interested in getting my certification so I can teach a few classes on the side. I think I’ll probably go for the Spinning certification through – it sounds like almost any gyms/cycling places accept that, is that correct? For example, I know with barre workouts, some barre studios require their specific certification. I wanted to make sure I take the indoor cycling certification that will open the most doors no matter what gym/where I live. Thanks!!!


  11. Cate says

    would you be willing to share more details on how you prepare for a class? I am especially looking for info on how you arrange your music, choose music, and plan out the choreography. Does Spinning manual give you recommendations for this? What programs and tools do you usually use? thanks!


  12. Roseann says

    Very good information. I love spinning, although I don’t do it much anymore, I am thinking about getting certified to make some extra money and just really get “free spinning classes”. I am not in super shape right now, is everyone expected to be really fit for this certification? Just curious! For me it’s going to be a way to get my butt in shape too. Thanks so much!


  13. Katy says

    How important is it to have a heart rate monitor for this certification? I’m taking it this weekend, and don’t have one. I wasn’t planning to buy one. Can I still do everything without it?



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