Start Strong: Top Tips for New Instructors

As a new instructor, I’ve found teaching Spinning® classes to be among the most fun, rewarding and powerful learning experiences I’ve ever had. My journey has just started—but I’ve made discoveries that I hope will help fellow newbies and seasoned vets.

Make like a boy scout and be prepared
1. Review the manual and practice. Get back to the basics, know your stuff, and practice, practice, practice. Review the Spinning Instructor Manual on a regular basis and practice all the basic elements to become stronger and more confident on the bike.  Students can tell whether or not you have put work into developing your classes and look to you as an examples on proper form and technique.
2. Learn from your fellow instructors. Attend other Spinning classes and observe teaching styles and strategies of other instructors. Talk to them after class. Ask them for tips or solicit advice. Their experience can help you become a better instructor.
3. Listen to the music. Expand your horizons. Collect a variety of music and keep your ears open for anything that might work well for class. Choose music conducive to everything from aggressive climbs to flats with a tailwind. As we all know, music can make or break a class.  
4. Network. Get to know other instructors, trainers and students and let them know that you’re a Spinning instructor. You never know who might have the inside scoop on a teaching gig.
5. Sub. Get on facilities’ sub lists and take every class you can. After class talk to the students, ask them for honest feedback and work to build a rapport. Try to sub at various clubs to learn to cater to different types of club cultures and students.

Lights, camera, action!
1. Understand what you want to give your students. Can you evoke the true essence of the Spinning program? Can you personify it when you’re at the front of a class? For 40 minutes, students look to us for guidance and motivation. Be clear how you want to lead them.
2. Come ready to ride. Create class profiles and playlists ahead of time so you know your stuff and never fumble to figure out what comes next. Arrive early so you’re ready to greet your students and help with bike set-up if needed. As a new instructor, students are checking out your every move to see what kind of instructor you are.  Everything you do and say when you first start teaching makes a strong lasting impression, so start strong!
3. Make a connection. If you’re not already comfortable smiling, approaching people, and starting conversations with strangers, now is the time to practice. When your students like you, they like your class. Building relationships with them, making them feel valued and understanding their needs is what will make you a truly exceptional instructor.

Beyond these suggestions, each of us have special gifts, attributes and insights that we can offer our students. Find your gift and share it fearlessly. Your students will thank you.

Lola Tsai is a certified Spinning instructor, yoga teacher, and Education Manager of SPINNING® TAIWAN.  She is also an Empowerment Trainer dedicated to the growth and empowerment of children, youth, and all people around the world through fitness, inspirational art, and education. She would love to hear from you at

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