Indoor Cycling: Does Size Matter?

Hello-hello, my fit crowd! How are you doing today? Ready for some more cycling instructor ramblings? 🙂 Let’s talk sizes, shall we?

indoor cycling

No, that’s not what you thought 🙂 I’m talking the size of the class!

I’ve had a pretty busy week as far as teaching cycling goes! What’s interesting is how this past week’s teaching experience was all about class attendance/number of students in a class – class size.

Let’s see what happened in the past week.

Last Wednesday I taught a lunchtime cycling class (I was subbing for one of my fellow instructors).

I got there 15 minutes before the class, prepped the room, got ready, set up all my devices and “commenced waiting” 🙂

At 2 minutes to 12 when there was still no one in the room but me, I decided I would leave if no one shows up by 12:15 PM.

At 1 minute to 12 my only student showed up.

I was about to teach a class to ONE person.

It was a very interesting experience – don’t get me wrong – she was a nice lady. But she just did her own thing kind of – and that was nerve-racking.

Imagine this: you’re starting to go through the stretching off the bike routine after the class, and the only student in your class is kinda watching you do it while wiping their bike off.

Do you stop stretching? Do you keep stretching and just shut up since you don’t really have to cue yourself on stretching out loud, and your student doesn’t care about stretching at all?

Anyway. It was difficult. In case you’re wondering – I shut up and kept stretching.

I did my Movie Ride again that Wednesday since I knew the crowd (haha) was going to be different from that at my Monday class, and I thought it would be a nice and engaging ride to the music most people know. And my only student enjoyed it – she really liked the idea and enjoyed guessing the movies the songs on the playlist were from.

I guess, overall the class wasn’t bad. Just felt a little weird at times.

indoor cycling

On Saturday morning, bright and early I had to do it again. 🙂

Saturday 8:00 AM class is very popular right now. People like coming in early to get their workout out of the way and enjoy a full day of summer activities with no interruptions.

I had 10 people signed up for the class. When they showed up, I realized I was going to be teaching a class to seasoned riders (both indoor and outdoor riders) – two of them were indoor cycling instructors with popular classes of their own.

I was nervous. I think I was more nervous than I was on my audition ride for the job. I blame those two instructors 🙂

They are great people, but they made me nervous that morning. I guess it’s that feeling of being “checked out” and evaluated if you will. Being put to the test. Yeah, kinda just like what I do to other instructors. The difference is – when I go to check them out they don’t know I’m certified 🙂 I do understand though that all that evaluation nonsense might be just in my head, but that was how I felt (might be through no fault of those two instructors).

There was also a lot of chatting going on in the class which was very distracting and hard for my vocal cords. The chatting was going on for a while…and then they stopped. All I could hear was heavy breathing 🙂 Of course they started chatting again on the next recovery song, but that doesn’t matter.

What does matter is the experience of teaching in an environment far from perfect – not all the students look for your every word, they chat, some of them came there not just for the workout, but to socialize as well. Fine by me.

Also, what did matter was that when I started playing Old Time Rock and Roll by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, my class started clapping to the beat. I know, I know…good form, not safe… But it was just for a few seconds and it just gave me such a boost of energy and confidence to see them enjoying the music and the ride so much!

Another thing that mattered the most was when one of my students came over to me after the class and said he LOVED my music choices. He was amazed to not hear the kind of music he expected based on my age (rap and stuff). I told him I was born at the wrong time 🙂 Should have been born in the 60’s. Old time rock and roll, you know 🙂

So. Did the size of the class matter on Saturday?

Yes and no.

Yes – there were more people there than what I’m used to – more people you are trying to please with your routine, etc.. More musical tastes to satisfy. More fitness levels and age groups to consider.

No – because what made ME nervous had more to do with WHO was in my class rather than HOW MANY people were there.

indoor cycling

Here’s the playlist from the Saturday class:

On Monday I had my regular crowd (3-5 people) that I am now used to and comfortable with teaching as far as the number of students goes.

indoor cycling

Did size matter? Yes and no again 🙂

Yes – this size group gives you a chance to look at people closer and pay more attention to each student. For example, I noticed that one of my regulars is a big Elvis fan. I don’t think I would have noticed his reaction to the Elvis’s song I played if I had more people in the class as he usually rides in the back of the room.

No – it didn’t matter if it was 4, 5 or 6 of them.

Here’s the Monday night playlist:

So, does the size matter?

I guess it does to me when it comes to bigger groups. At this point in my career I still get nervous, which can potentially influence the quality of my teaching.

It also matters if it is a one person class as it is harder – you have that one person to establish connection with and your failure to do so is much more obvious that it would have been with one person out of a group of 10. You beat yourself pretty hard afterwards…

Anything between 1 and 10 I am comfortable with 🙂

And that’s the way it is right now in my world of teaching indoor cycling.

Question of the day: do you like indoor cycling classes in big groups or small groups? Why?

Take care, fit friends, and ride on!

Lean Lena


  1. Hmmm…..I think size does matter when it comes to cycling class. I’m not sure I would want to be the only student in a class – I can’t imagine how awkward being the teacher would be! I’ve been the only one at a CrossFit class and, while it’s cool to get the personal attention especially if it’s a lift/movement that I struggle with, it’s weird and I’d prefer to have another student’s energy to feed off of. It’s more fun with more! Now, that being said – too big is not good. I like classes that have a size cap. When I was in Florida, we had a week at CrossFit where 15-20 new people showed up each day (at the 5am class!) and we were already about 15. That sucked. They took all the attention of the coaches – which, of course, they should get – but it made the rest of us “seasoned students” a little forgotten. Bah!
    Jennifer recently posted…The busiest week ever – workout recapMy Profile

    • Yeah, it is a little awkward. 🙂 When we get ready to teach I think the whole concept of any class is to create a group energy that keeps everybody in the class going. If you show up and realize it’s just one student it takes some re-adjustment of the whole mind set the instructors get themselves into before the class 🙂

  2. That happened to me when I first started teaching. It takes a few weeks for students to be comfortable taking class from a new teacher. Just keep doing your thing and they will come! Having a packed class is awesome and you can feed off of the energy. Just be patient and be yourself it will work out!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Easy Whole Wheat Orzo Greek SaladMy Profile

    • Thanks, Deborah! I am not worried they’re not coming – it’s summer time and class attendance always drops in the summer. In fact, I think it’s for the better – for the beginner instructor that I am, it gives me a chance to get comfortable teaching in general as it easier with a small group for me. By the time class numbers go up in the fall, I’ll be much more comfortable teaching.

  3. Oh man teaching to one person must be tough! I know I would find it hard if I was the person taking the class too. Sounds like you’ve done a great job adjusting to different class sizes in your spin instructor career. Love following along! #wowlinkup
    Amanda H recently posted…Workout Wednesday – Airobic Fitness ReviewMy Profile

  4. OMG!!!! I would have died laughing if I were a fly on the wall watching the scene with the single rider!!! I would have asked her if she planned to stretch and why she should seriously consider it after the workout. LOL oh my goodness, I’m still cracking up at the thought. LOL. #wowlinkup
    Femme Fitale Fit Club recently posted…Be Healthy, Be Active Summer Giveaway Hop|YurbudsMy Profile

    • Yeah, that all had been said and emphasized (the importance of stretching). Oh well, can’t force anyone 🙂 Glad I made you laugh 🙂

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge