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Overcoming Burnout: Coaching for Exercise Adherence

You have a new participant in your Spinning® class and two months later, they haven‘t missed a class. Another month passes and their attendance becomes sporadic. Eventually they stop coming to class altogether. Sound familiar? That individual has most likely put working out at the bottom of their priority list. Why? Burnout has set in. Whether it’s physical, mental, or both, burnout is a big disruption to any fitness-oriented lifestyle and is a road block to meeting fitness goals. As Spinning instructors, we want our classes to fill up and to be popular within our clubs. More importantly, we want to help our students reach their fitness potential and make exercise a part of their lives, not an inconvenience. By paying attention and applying some of these principles of exercise adherence, you can help your students stick to their workouts and reach their fitness goals:

Avoid Over Training
Many people still believe that the harder the workout, the better. However, working out harder isn’t necessarily working out smarter and can lead to drop out. We have to educate our participants on the benefits of heart rate training and working within the Spinning Energy Zones™. Encourage your students to wear a heart rate monitor, continue to talk about it (i.e. where to get them, what features to look for, etc.) and integrate it into your Spinning classes. Over time, many of your students will realize that they are missing out on a big value that you are providing during class and will be more inclined to invest in their own heart rate monitor. Monitoring their heart rate and understanding the Energy Zones they are working in will help students understand what is going on inside their cardio-respiratory system and engage them more during class. When your class starts to understand the difference between anaerobic and aerobic training, you can help them avoid over training, which ultimately zaps energy and leads to lower immunity and possible injury, factors that could easily lead to physical burn out and cause them to drop out altogether. 

Coach Everyone in the Room
Rather than calling out how much resistance to add, or how fast the students should be riding, offer guidance on heart rate ranges that the class should be working within. Give students the option to keep their heart rates within their Endurance or Strength Energy Zone ranges, even if you are leading them through intervals. This provides options to students who are more or less fit then the average student. By coaching Energy Zones, you are coaching everyone in the room. 

Create a “Club Within a Club” Atmosphere
Make your class a fun, unique place where everyone feels welcome. Exercise adherence is more prevalent when people enjoy the exercise. As their leader, you play a big role in that. Smile and encourage their efforts and hard work. Remind them to smile too and don’t be afraid to let your sense of humor show. Your personality is what makes your class unique. Students need to see that you are having a good time and that even though you take fitness seriously, you can have fun while exercising.  Acknowledge and welcome new members or first-timers. Congratulate them after the ride on a job well done. Remind them of what an accomplishment every class is and that they should be proud of themselves. Interact and enjoy your participants. Encourage them to answer when you ask questions like, “how does that feel?” and “are those leg muscles talking to you?” Having a voice will help them to feel a part of the class.

Acknowledge Results
Seeing and feeling results are also a huge motivator to stick to a workout program. When you notice a member looking stronger and leaner, make sure to tell them. If you’ve got students who are riding right there with you in terms of stamina and strength, let them know. It’s sure to make them feel good about themselves, which will help their motivation.

“We are a team, and I am your coach.”
Create a sense of togetherness and teamwork in your class. Tell the class that you are a team and you will all finish strong together. Not only do you want them to feel like you’re their teammate, but you are also their coach. You must lead them through the workout, remind them of form and proper technique, and motivate from start to finish. After each class, welcome their questions, comments and feedback. Encourage them to share their fitness goals with you, which will create a sense of accountability and offer safe suggestions to meet those goals.

Variety is the Spice of Life
Don’t forget to talk to your class about cross training and recommend other classes. Invite them to other class formats you teach or take yourself. Let them know how other types of exercise will benefit their Spinning form and technique. 

As Spinning instructors, we have chosen exercise as a way of life, but the average person isn’t as passionate about it as we are. It’s not only our job to lead classes through safe and effective exercise, but to motivate and help keep our members on target to meeting their fitness goals. Exercise adherence is essential to our class participants’ fitness and overall health, and by applying these simple principles to our classes, we as coaches can keep them coming back year after year. Ride on!

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