For Instructors


"Well, I think it is irresponsible!" That's what he said to me. I was sitting in a restaurant with my family and some of my husband's colleagues and I told the guy to my right that I try to cycle about 300K per week as a minimum in addition to my 5 Spinning ® classes...and he said that given the heat, the traffic, the lack of emergency services and the fact that I have kids made my behavior irresponsible....and he said this having lit his second cigarette with his first cigarette. I told him that I felt the risk of being sedentary were more dangerous and definate...and I didn't have the guts to spit out anything about his smoking. Many Europeans I have met feel that Americans are over the top on their dislike of cigarettes - that we are dumb and blindly following a big gvmt conspiracy to keep us eating food for the farmers....oh, I can't even go further into it. Anyway...I gnawed on his comments through the weekend and realized that I know why people come to me for weight-loss issues. It is because it is a relevant issue in my life. If I don't pay attention I easily pack on the pounds...but one thing I would never do is be a coach to get someone off smoking. I don't have the experience. I don't know what it is like to want or need a cigarette...I wouldn't have street cred. The new guy in town is a weight loss guy and what I am hearing about him worries me frankly...and guess what? Skinny as a rail. I have to wonder if he has visceral knowledge of his subject.... which brought me on to my next thought....the "sportfolio" I don't get credit for the term, but I like it a lot. Like Ralph pointed out the other day, Spinning® is a training program...with an emphasis on cycling. Great if you're an aerobics instructor, all the stuff of class-management will get you far...but to have a cycling component in your life would really serve you well. I was a cyclist a long long long time ago...then I stopped and now I'm back at it. More of my Spinning® career has been off the road/mtn bike than on it, but since I got back on the road, training with more competitive people than I am, my Spinning® coaching has gone through the roof. I would not have defended this position 3 or 4 years ago, but I have done an about face on this. I know many of you are buried in snow right now, but if you're an instructor who does no cycling on the road at all, consider getting yourself a bike. You'll get a lot of nuances that will help you be a better cycling training coach, than just a workout Ralph was saying. You might think you're excellent at visualization, but until you actually ride against a headwind, or put in some long and boring hours, you can't really get under your clients' skin with authenticity. This is, of course, my own humble opinion having been on both sides, denying that you have to be a cyclist to be a Spinning® instructor. ...and I'm not outright saying it is impossible to be good... I'm just saying you'll be a better one if you do some road miles.... ...but like my husband's huffing and puffing colleague was suggesting - don't be irresponsible; you should do all you can do be safe, from helmets and no mp3 to lobbying for laws and road construction to keep it safe. Go with groups...form a group...explore your gears and different terrain and keep your head open to how you're feeling and how you could bring that self talk into great coaching in the classroom. Don't call it exercise, call it lesson-prep....and have fun bumping up your street cred.



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