"I went to Jenny's class the other day...."
When a regular client starts off telling me that they went to another instructor's class I have a hesistant moment of uncertainty - not knowing if the purpose of their initiating this conversation is to compare (for better or for worse) me to another instructor or to simply try to drag something out of me about a colleague (a dance I am unprepared to dance).
But this time, what she said has really got me thinking about things.
"She's a real butt-kicker...I kept thinking 'I can't wait to get back to Cori's class...."
And in I got sucked into the rabbit hole of self-doubt, useless comparisons and professional concern about a colleague. Am I not a butt-kicker? Should I be? What did she mean by all this...so against my better judgement, I asked, "what do you mean?"
"Well, you know how you didn't see me last week?" (I didn't but I said, yah....?) "I went to her class and she came off her bike and went around to several of us and tightened our resistance knobs so tight that I could hardly pedal. I wanted to release it, but I felt she would say something so I left it and I could hardly walk out of the class....it made me feel sick."
"What do you think about that style of teaching...." (why oh why did I keep engaging her....I don't know - I was just intrigued that a colleague might change a client's resistance knob....it is contrary to my Spinning® training)
"It was great, I guess....I wouldn't have worked that hard on my own...you know...if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger."
"Did you work out the rest of the week?"
"ha ha...no I couldn't have...my knee was killing me, my thighs were like lead and my lower back hurt."
"hmmm.....well, I'm glad you're back this week - take it easy and listen to your body - work as strongly as you feel is appropriate, but please don't push into pain in any of your joints...I don't mind muscular discomfort and a challenging breath, but in my classes, I don't promote the 'if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger...I prefer an approach that leaves you confident that if it makes you stronger - it doesn't kill you."
This woman always comes to my classes because my classes fit her schedule - but we'll see in the long run if she gravitates toward the teaching style of teacher-driven motivation and external prompting vs. my decisive approach to leave the exploration and curiosity to my clients through coaching, visualization and cueing.
I've left this for both instructors and enthusiasts to ponder. I understand that some people respond really well to drill-seargant screaming and actual physical intervention - like keeping people standing in a hill climb by removing or dropping their seats, or controling their resistance knob, but that's not my style at all. I believe that self-efficacy and true intrinsic change comes about by self exploration and permission to safely take on those upper efforts without fear and intimidation, but rather internal curiosity.
*(...by the way - this other instructor is not Spinning® certified)
Happy to hear your thoughts on this too.