Nailing the Audition: An insider’s guide to getting the gig

You know you’re ready to make the leap from student to instructor, so you take a Spinning Instructor Orientation, study your Instructor Manual and arm your iPod with a slew of new songs. You feel more than ready to take a seat at the front of the room but that’s not enough—you’ve also got to convince a facility’s program director.

Most facilities require potential instructors to audition—which means you get the chance to show them just how great you are. But if you’re like most people, the thought of auditioning for a  program director can be nauseating! Concerns ranging from what to say and what to wear to how to answer tough questions can turn an exciting opportunity into a dreaded event.

You’ve already got what it takes to wow the program director—but with the help of a few simple tips you can make sure that you’re prepared and confident for your next audition.  

• Remember where you’ve been. Boost your confidence by reminding yourself that you know what you’re doing.  Odds are you’ve been a student in countless classes and you’ve learned a lot in your Orientation.

• Know where you’re going. Take the time to check out the club. Most clubs offer free passes for potential members and instructors. Take a few classes and make notes of what effective techniques instructors employ. Talk to members to get a sense of what their goals and values are. Visit the facility’s website and read up on club history and key employees. Make sure you are a good fit for the club and the program is a good fit for you and if it is, use the information you’ve gained to tailor your performance to your audience. 

• Come early. Whether you are auditioning in a full class or just for the program director, arrive a few minutes early  to acclimate yourself to the studio. There’s nothing worse than arriving frazzled because you hit traffic or took a wrong turn. 

• Be prepared. Don’t forget to bring your CPR card, Spinning instructor card and copies of any other certifications you may have. 

• Design a profile. Give riders a glimpse of what to expect so they can pace themselves for a successful ride.

• Be cadence conscious. Cadence is important. It sets the tone for the terrain and is the best way for riders to make sure they’re riding appropriately. It’s not necessary to take a cadence check after every song, but 2-3 checks during a 40 minute ride should be enough to give riders an idea of what certain RPM feels like.

• Teach with heart. Set a good example by wearing your heart rate monitor. Cue heart rate ranges but don’t forget to mention perceived exertion since not every rider wears a heart rate monitor. 

• Coach off the bike. Demonstrate your commitment to your students by floating between bikes to ensure proper form. Check in with your students to verify that they’re getting the intended benefits from the ride. 

• Tune in. Select music that will appeal to a variety of members. Let the music speak for itself. You don’t need to spend every moment cueing—a well-picked song can propel a rider to the top of the hill on its own.

• Strut your stuff. Include each core movement and hand position during the ride.  Let the director know that you know what good body alignment looks like by modeling proper posture—whether in or out of the saddle. Be sure to use the proper amount of resistance and the correct speed for the terrain.

• Finish what you started. Don’t rush to the finish!  Be sure to include a proper cool down period with lower body stretches performed off the bike. Take this opportunity to thank and congratulate riders.

• Ask questions. There’s only one way to find out about things like job responsibilities, the facility’s mission, compensation and continuing education opportunities. Ask! Remember—it’s not just about them. You want to be sure that you are becoming part of a quality program with trained, professional instructors. 

• Follow up. Ask when a decision will be made or what next steps are.  Take the time to send a thank you note to the program director and you’re sure to stand out from the crowd. 

Wendy Jett is the Corporate Group Fitness Director for Global Fitness Holdings, which owns 18 Gold’s Gyms throughout Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. She oversees three Lexington, KY-based clubs and manages over 50 certified Spinning instructors. She has over 20 years experience in the fitness industry and holds a B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Kentucky. 

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With an array of exciting workshops and a pre-conference Orientation, the DCAC fitness conference and convention is the perfect place to gain the skills you need to boost your personal fitness and sharpen your teaching skills. Join us in Alexandria, VA from August 2-6. 

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