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Reflections on 10 Years of Teaching

For my final newsletter, I thought it fitting to share the news of my 10 year Service Award from the studio where I have been an instructor for a decade. I hope you enjoy the stories of my Spinning® classes and the tale of this journey. Some of my students have come and gone. Some have gone on to become Spinning Instructors. There have been many 'Spinning Babies' (not mine personally!), marriages, divorces, job changes and house moves. But through everyone’s good times and bad, my classes have remained a constant in their lives that they know I will always be there.

One of my 10 year followers gave me an 'Oscar,' saying it was for many great performances. This gentleman asked me a couple of years ago to check out a lump on his leg which he said was hurting when he rode (he's in his 60s by the way). I said it didn't look right and to have it checked out. It turned out to be cancer, but he's had it removed, endured a few Chemo sessions and been given the all clear. He's said so many times that my classes really helped him to stay positive on his dark days.

A good percentage of my participants have been with me the whole time and I asked them to share why they've stuck with me over the years. Of course there were a few ‘witty’ comments like “we should get a 10 year Service Award too,” and when I said “I’ve aged 10 years in here” they said “we’ve  aged 20 years”…cheeky! However there were some great comments and feedback which just goes to show that if you stick to the Spinning programme and how it should be taught, it really is lifelong training.

Here’s what they had to say….

  • Spinning helps me maintain consistency for winter training.
  • Love the music and the way it’s used.
  • Great for cross training and able to do it injured (this is from a marathon runner).
  • Love your periodization plan and the cueing of each profile at the beginning of every class.
  • Tangible, incremental improvement through periodized training.
  • Helping me to keep on top of my fitness so that I can get into ‘that’ dress (this is from a university student who is getting in shape for her prom).
  • You know you’re going to sweat and get a great workout.
  • Love your personality, the variety, the madness and it’s always great fun.
  • Always structured classes which are both motivational and fun.
  • Getting in the extra ‘mileage’ for my first 110 mile bike race.
  • You’ve given me self-belief and in just over 2 years I’ve gone from a non-cyclist to soon doing my first 128 mile bike race (this is from a 49 year old lady who had never stuck to an exercise regime all her life and who had devoted all her time to raising her children).
  • Great structured all-weather cycling for ‘fair’ weather cyclists!
  • Love the discipline element for someone who lacks self-motivation.
  • From a Cat.1 cyclist…it’s a testimony to you that I have not only attended your Classes for 10 years, but during all the summer months too!
  • Love your support and encouragement to work at your own pace.
  • Strangely addictive!
  • Measured intensity. The classes have greatly helped to improve my running.
  • Having had two children, I was overwhelmed when I first walked in, and felt out of my depth, especially when everyone seemed to know what they were doing. But you were so supportive and encouraged me to get a heart rate monitor straight away, and now I’m geared up for every class and it works.
  • I’ve increased my fitness, I can now catch my friends on hills, I’m no longer the ‘one’ who gets dropped. As a goalkeeper, I can now keep up with the training sessions and circuit training I have to do with the rest of the team. This year I’m doing my first London-Paris bike ride.
  • Finding what you think is your limit, then going beyond.
  • You don’t realise you’re getting fitter by doing this, but you are!
  • Great relief for the times when I walk in feeling tense and stressed. I always walk out feeling more relaxed.
  • You’re down to earth and never intimidating even with such mixed abilities.
  • I completely understand what you wanted me to achieve every time I walk out of the class.
  • I can switch off, you calm my mind. It’s me time and no matter how I feel coming in, I always feel better walking out.
  • It’s you, me and the heart rate monitor (this is from a mom who’s been with me the whole 10 years and has had two children in that time. She said my classes are the only thing that has got her back to post-baby body weight both times).
  • And one guy (who’s a triathlete) said this in a Facebook message to me: “The Spinning program has the benefit of being both a comprehensive fitness regime in its own right and has the ability to be incorporated into a wider fitness program. It is now a quintessential part of my training program and I like not only the variety it offers but also the flexibility it can provide.”
  • And finally, my favorite follower had these lovely words to say, “Summing up your classes is not easy in a few words...but I was thinking last night that I always feel fantastic after coming out of your classes. I am much better exercising in a class environment and your classes are the best.”

While reading this you may be thinking I’m just "bigging" myself up! But these are the sort of comments and feedback that EVERYONE can have. Many Spinning Instructors come to my classes and ask how l pull it all together and how I connect with everyone in the class. I tell them that it comes down to what I do, what I say, how I say it and what music I use. Plus, I just teach Spinning and I’m always myself. I’m a people person and I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Ten years is a long time teaching four classes every week at the same facility, during which time my classes have always been full. I was a S.T.A.R. 2 Instructor when I started teaching there, and have been a Master Instructor for the last six years. What you see is what you get. I’ve always stayed true to myself and remained authentic over all these years. I believe in Spinning, it really does work and I believe people see this in me, and it endears them to me. They trust, respect and feel safe with me and you can have this too. I’ve had my ups and downs during this time and my students have been there for me. Indeed some of my closest friends are people from my classes. We have a bond, a connection that deepens with time. They don’t always like what I do, but they understand why I’m asking it of them.

You only have to look at the ‘longevity’ of the Spinning program to see why it means so much to so many people. The adversities it encourages riders to overcome, the competition it fights off, the morals it sticks to. It faces change without fear and it looks after its heart by staying true to itself. Here’s to the next 10 years!

Author: Michelle Colvin

Michelle has been an international Spinning® Master Instructor since 2007. She leads Spinning certification clinics and continuing education throughout the UK and Europe and presents at major Spinning events around the world. Michelle co-owns a triathlon and cycling company that delivers coaching, metabolic assessment, cardiorespiratory examinations, as well as power and blood lactate analysis.

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