Teaching my First Indoor Cycling Class – Recap

Hey, guys! Happy hump day! How is your week going?

Mine started off with teaching my very first indoor cycling class, as you know from this post. Back here today to tell you all about it!

Well, most of the Sunday night I was teaching the class in my head and in my sleep 🙂 I think it might be what helped me not to freak out completely when it was actually time to teach 🙂

All day Monday I kept playing my music and cues in my head, and before I knew – it was time to leave work and go to the YMCA.

I got there 40 minutes early (which is pretty close to normal for me on Mondays even when I take the class, leave alone teaching it for the first time), got changed, went upstairs to the cycling room, turned on our “racing lights”, opened the windows, turned the fans on, had my fight with the stereo (which of course was acting up and didn’t want to switch from CD to AUX), set everything up and started waiting for my riders to show up.

indoor cycling
Yeah, I wish those were Spinner® bikes, too 🙂

Getting there early definitely helped me relax and calm down. I was still nervous, but felt much better after spending some time alone in the room and getting everything ready for the class.

I used most of the tips that other instructors on Team Spinning gave me:

  • I have prepared and practiced my profile in advance.
  • I backed up my playlist on a CD, printed my notes for it, and put it in the CD envelope. This can actually be my back up at any time now.

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  • I took my population into account. The class I was going to teach was the one I had been taking myself every Monday for the past couple years, so this was pretty easy – I knew the “regulars” and what music they liked. Half of the songs I played had been used by the regular instructor of that class, but I modified the drills for them. I got some great feedback on the new songs that I used for the class, as well. It was great seeing some riders actually sing along 🙂

Here is what my playlist looked like:

I won’t get into much detail about the routine. I will just say I think that it was challenging enough and involved a lot of climbing – both seated and standing.

  • During my “dress rehearsal” last Saturday I tried to concentrate on giving clear instructions and not getting my own workout in. That was the hardest part for me – I am so used to getting on that bike and working my heart out that it was hard to not get aerobic 🙂 Hey, I did my best!
  • I did use songs with lyrics (except for the warm up and cool down song), but practiced giving instructions in between the lyrics, i.e. brief overview of the drills for the next song at the end of the previous song, etc.
  • I tried to keep my instructions simple and specific without talking too much, and yet providing enough guidance for my riders.

I also did some things in addition to what was suggested by the Team Spinning members:

  • I brought a Suggestions Jar and put it next to the sign in book that we have for students, and told them to feel free to leave any feedback (good or bad) on the experience they had in my class. I got 2 wonderful notes in writing, and a lot more positive feedback and a round of applause at the end of the class 🙂

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  • I brought a pack of index cards with me for new students to write down their bike settings. (didn’t need them this time though)
  • I used Class Builder™ – Cycling Fusion app for the class. LOVE this app! Whether you are a beginner instructor, or an experienced one – I think this is a great app to incorporate into your class. Definitely check it out! It is not free and not really cheap, but I am SO glad I invested in it!
  • I used my flexible mini tripod to attach my phone to the handlebars so it is right in front of me and I don’t have to glance down at it.
  • I found and printed out bike set up guidelines from the manufacturer of the bikes we have at the Y (LeMond RevMaster). Since I was trained by the Spinning® program which is designed for different bikes, I thought it was a good idea to educate myself on the proper bike set up for this particular kind of bikes.

Things that didn’t go so well/I need to work on:

  • Voice projection – I got quite a few comments that people couldn’t hear me very well. I didn’t have the mic in my class. It will definitely be a must if/when I get hired – no doubt about it. For now I should really work on my voice projection skills – always good to have in case of emergency 🙂
  • Teaching off the bike – I did not do it this time. I was very nervous and worried that if I get off the bike I will lose track of my planned profile and cueing times. I think this will change as I get more experience, practice and confidence that comes with it. I totally understand the value of teaching off the bike, I was just not up for it at the very first class – one step at a time.
  • I need to remind my riders to hydrate more often. I noticed that with so many things going through my head as we moved along I kept forgetting to hydrate myself and remind them to do so. You’d be surprised – but their attention is focused mostly on the instructor and their own riding – they forget to hydrate. They really need to be reminded.
  • I need to work more on disconnecting the two things – teaching and working out myself. It was one of the hardest parts for me. I was NOT trying to get a workout myself and was trying to concentrate on teaching, but it kinda happened anyway. I need to work more on shifting my focus to my priority as an instructor – my riders’ workout, and take it easy myself. It is a habit hard to break!
  • Cue more on proper form – I am hoping the ability to do that will also come with time and growing confidence.
  • And obviously many other things that I have yet to discover I am not good at as I keep teaching 🙂

Overall – it was an incredible experience! I’ve never enjoyed seeing others sweat as much as I did this Monday 🙂 I was waiting for them to start sweating! 🙂 I know it is not a 100% validation, but I needed it.

Teaching this first class made me realize what a wonderful group of people the Y brought into my life. How lucky I am to have met Jim Mader who has become my cycling/yoga/lifting guru, and other wonderful people – Fiona, Susan, Marlene, Lisa, Don, Sandy, and many more.

THANK YOU, guys! For making my first experience of teaching indoor cycling so UNFORGETTABLE!

Lena

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Comments

  1. Congratulations on teaching your first class. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m currently working on my certification. I will definitely use Class Builder™ – Cycling Fusion and the suggestion jar idea. Also thumbs up on the playlist: Ray Charles, Brooks & Dunn, and Serena Ryder!
    Amusingly Quirky recently posted…Celebrate the Success of Our Efforts – #StrongerEveryRunMy Profile

  2. Thank you and you are most welcome! 🙂
    Who are you getting certified with?

  3. Congrats on teaching your first class! So cool that you were able to teach a class you’ve been attending for so long, and it sounds like you did a great job! Keep it up!
    Amanda H recently posted…Chardonnay 10-Miler Race RecapMy Profile

  4. Congrats on your first class! Sounds like you did an excellent job!
    courtney recently posted…Saturday Night ThoughtsMy Profile

  5. How awesome to teach your first spinning class! I LOVE spinning and have been doing it consistently for the past 6 years, it’s my main form of xtraining for my running training. Way to go on being so dedicated to making it a great experience for your riders, the instructor really does make all of the difference and I’m sure you’re going to be a great one!
    One thing about teaching off the back, as a rider, I’m not a huge fan of instructors walking around, for some reason it distracts me and I don’t feel as focused and “in the zone” as I do when I can just really focus on and watch my instructor. Not to say there isn’t a place for it and it might help some riders (especially new ones) if you can see their form up close, but that’s just my personal opinion!
    Jayne @ Jaynie’s gotta Run recently posted…WOW Link-up-Happy Heart 5kMy Profile

  6. Jayne, thanks a lot for stopping by and for your opinion! I appreciate it.
    Do you see a lot of instructors teaching off the bike?
    Could you being distracting by it be due to not being really used to instructors doing that?
    Lena recently posted…Teaching my First Indoor Cycling Class – RecapMy Profile

  7. I have a friend that will be teaching a class for the first time soon so I’m going to share this with her. I like how you took note of the things that went well, and not-so-well. Best way to grow…best of luck with future classes! #wowlinkup

  8. Awww that sounds so cool. Happy and proud of you. It will get easier and easier the more you do it. It will become second nature. 🙂 #wowlinkup
    Femme Fitale Fit Club recently posted…Thursday #MotivationMy Profile

  9. Yay for teaching your first indoor cycling class! I love how prepared it sounds like you were. By the way, I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a Liebster Award on my blog at http://runningandenjoying.blogspot.com/2014/04/liebster-award.html.
    Chaitali recently posted…Liebster AwardMy Profile

    • Thank you so much! I am super honored!
      Looks like I will have to combine your nomination questions with Jen’s who also nominated me 🙂 I have no problem doing that at all 🙂

  10. I taught indoor cycling for a few years it was so much fun! I found it really rewarding and I am sure you will too. Just be yourself and remember you won’t please everyone all of the time and that’s ok! Enjoy!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Comment on BFF’s and Burgers-”Sunshine” Style by Deborah BrooksMy Profile

  11. Congrats on teaching your first class, it will get better and better with time. You always have to remember the workout is for your class not you. Now that have been teaching for a long time, I really get that concept. What are your thoughts on Soul Cycle?
    The Frugal Exerciser recently posted…South Beach Results And Workout WednesdaysMy Profile

    • Thanks! I understand the concept – I just need to practice actually implementing it.
      Soul Cycle needs to stop. Seriously. 🙂

  12. I don’t take spinning often, usually only when I’m recovering from an injury. I seem to just get to the point when my butt stops hurting when I decide I can go back to my regular classes. Love the idea of giving an index card to new participants for their bike settings. I find it intimidating enough just taking a spinning class, plus then having to ask repeatedly for help adjusting my bike. All of the regulars are very vocal about the music – classic country is not a hit. Also, we are usually given a reminder to hydrate during every recovery. Also lots of reminders to keep our shoulders down.
    Savvy working gal recently posted…Lean Back and ThriveMy Profile

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