I “met” Stacy through the comments section of this blog and quickly realized she had a ton of great advice and words of wisdom to share for first-time indoor cycling instructors, so I reached out to her to see if she might be willing to share some of her insight on the blog! Thankfully she said yes, so I hope you enjoy her advice and this awesome guest post from Stacy.
Guest Post: Tips for First Time Indoor Cycling Instructors
Hello! My name is Stacy and I’m honored to be doing a guest post blog for PBF! I used to have a blog a few years ago, where I documented my *40lb weight loss* by eating better/cleaner and working out with a personal trainer. Well, between 2 jobs and ‘life’ stuff, I gave up the blog but never gave up on healthy eating and fitness! With that said, I am a part time Certified Cycling Instructor, by day a bookkeeper/Office Manager (2 different worlds, I know!).
I have been in and out of gyms for a long time. Back in 1999, I started taking Spinning classes at my gym. I fell in love with the music, the instructors, sweating a lot, and not being bored in a fitness class! Fast forward to a few years ago, I thought hey, I can do that. I can get certified and teach! I felt some fear for a while, thinking, nah, nobody will hire me. Well, after a year of that fear, I finally ‘went for it’.
January 2012, I received my certification from Maddog Athletics.
I made sure to get my CPR/AED certification too before looking for a job. I did a ton of networking and ended up at 2 different locations. I was teaching twice a week, different locations, different students. Last week, I just completed another certification class; Schwinn Cycling. SO awesome!!!
I am very into the education part of cycling because a lot of instructors take these 9 hour courses and then think, okay I’m done. No. You are not. Study biomechanics of the body. Make sure you are not doing anything unsafe or ineffective. Just because they do hovers/isolation/tapbacks/lift weights on the bike at other gyms, doesn’t make it right. This particular subject can be another blog post at another time. As an instructor you have an obligation to do what is safe. Schwinns tag line is #rideright.
Ok, so why am I here on PBF? I have been reading Julie’s blog every day for a few years now. I was super excited to hear she is teaching cycling!
First, you need to be certified. You can learn a lot from a VERY good coach, yes indeed. But the certification classes are fantastic! PLUS, even when you go through the 9 hours of training, you need to constantly educate yourself. Once you start teaching and get more familiar/comfortable, things will come more easy. There are things that happen along the way and sometimes you ‘wing’ it, learn from it, and move on.
-banging my knee on the stereo door, bleeding, in pain but teaching at the same time so the students are not affected.
-teaching with laryngitis (ps. USE a microphone all the time, if possible!)
-bloody nose (have no clue why but it happened)
-student comes in 10 min late AND she is a newbie. Learning to teach the students and set up newbie at same time
-no music! oops the stereo is not working
That is just a short list of the fun things that have happened in my 2+years of teaching. I’m sure more stuff will come up!
If any reader is new to teaching or thinking about it, please find below some helpful hints.
Also, I belong to the Indoor Cycling Association. I pay a small fee of $11.99/month for very valuable information.
I also found some blogs on Facebook. I not only made ‘Facebook friends’ with people from around the country/world, but learned A LOT of teaching methods from there. I would describe myself as very energetic, fun personality, interesting, different playlists all the time and caring. I have had very positive feedback from the students over the past years. We as coaches have to remember, it’s not your workout. It’s your job to coach, inspire, motivate and get them to have the best workout possible.
Now of course, we all have different energy levels, every time we go to the gym. That is why, never think of this as YOUR workout. GET off the bike as well. I like to throw in some recovery tunes (no more than 2.50 min) and connect with them, see how they are doing, ask them to check in with themselves, do they have enough in the ‘tank’ to finish. Cueing/motivational sayings can be very challenging and this, you learn over time. In my opinion, it’s almost impossible to learn this within a week or so. There is so much to it, learning from others and just getting into your own groove as a coach. BUT it’s fun to learn along the way! It’s so rewarding!!
Tips for First-Time Indoor Cycling Instructors
1. Bring a back up CD in case you have iPhone/iPod/Ipad issues.
2. Remember to introduce yourself, ask if you have any new riders in the class, go over proper bike setup and safety making sure all the rider pop-pins are tight. At the end of class thank the riders for attending your class.
3. Discuss with your riders that it is NOT about the number of miles they go. Remember, anything above 110 rpm is useless and dangerous!
4. Remember the 4 P’s to Spinning. Population, Purpose, Plan, Progression. Know your audience. Profile accordingly and think about the intent of your ride.
5. Keep an eye on your participants during class so it’s about them and not watching the stereo or your notes too much.
6. Pace your verbiage because even though it’s their ride, not yours, and you’re not going anaerobic, it is very different to talk and teach when first starting out. Remember you are not there for your work out. Yes, we sweat, but it’s good to connect to riders, let your personality shine and remember it’s their workout. They tend to push more when you get off the bike.
7. Don’t be afraid to jot down some notes of what to say during certain planned segments of your profile. There’s nothing wrong with an instructor having notes.
8. Try not to let lyrics of any chosen music over-ride what you are saying. Hence, it’s easier not to play that type of music so you’re not combating with it.
9. However, do play what you like initially because they will feel your energy.
10. Act confident. If you act it, you will feel it. They will sense that and respond to it providing positive energy back to you to go back to them! It creates a circling effect.
11. Don’t talk too much! Don’t feel obligated to fill every moment of silence.
12. Brining a spare water bottle for a rider who forgets is a good habit to get into.
13. You might feel like people are giving you the stink eye; don’t take it personally. Some people are very attached to their instructors and if you’re taking over a class, it might take some time for them to “warm up” to you.
15. Relax. Be yourself. Smile. Bring your love for Spinning with you. If you have it, your participants will feel it.
If anybody has any comments/questions, please let me know!
Thank you so much for stopping by PBF, Stacy, and for taking the time to share such valuable information with us!
Questions of the Afternoon
- Group exercise instructors: What are some of your tips for new group exercise instructors?
- Group exercise class participants: What is one thing you look for in a quality group exercise instructor?