Beating Boredom in the Classroom
By Rachel Healy
Let’s face it:
Even the most energetic, creative Spinning instructors encounter
occasional bouts of boredom in the classroom. The upside of routine is
that it allows us to build experience and ultimately gain confidence in
our teaching abilities. The downside is that the very thing that
motivated us to become instructors—love of Spinning—can be threatened
by monotony or, even worse, burnout. Whether you’ve been teaching for a
few months or a few years, consider the following tips to juice up your
Be a recruiter.
Recruiting new students can be a fantastic way to add fresh energy to
the classroom. Encourage friends, family and co-workers to take your
Spinning class. Talk about Spinning to gym members who usually stick to
the cardio machines. Having new students in your class—especially
people you know—can breathe new life into your teaching.
Give your playlist a makeover.
As Spinning instructors, we know that music is a big motivator for
students—but what about for us? Updating your tunes regularly can keep
you excited about the atmosphere you are creating in class. Expanding
your music library should be no hard task. Ask your students what they
like to hear when they work out. Get music recommendations from friends
and other Spinning instructors. Best of all, you can find plenty of
great playlists every day at spinning.com!
Connect with your students.
Sometimes this is about getting to know the new faces, and sometimes
it’s about reconnecting with the students you already know. What are
their fitness goals? Are they training for a sport or an event? Not
only will this allow you to design rides that will engage them, but it
will remind you that you play a significant role in their physical
Perhaps the biggest pitfall of getting too comfortable as an instructor
is not boredom, but forgetting that there is always room for
improvement. Seeking honest evaluation is one way to identify areas for
development. Have the fitness director or a senior instructor take one
of your classes, and ask about the strengths and weaknesses of the
class. If your gym does not administer student evaluations, ask if you
can create and pass out your own. From my own experience, this is more
effective than soliciting verbal feedback because it gives the students
specific input guidelines rather than asking the very general, “What
did you think of the class?” If you have the resources and permission,
consider videotaping yourself during a class. Speakers, teachers and
performers sometimes employ this method of self-evaluation because the
record is an objective, accurate assessment of their performance as an
Practice Spinning feng shui.
Making a few small changes to the room arrangement can shake up your
routine. Instead of having your bike at the head of the class, take a
spot next to your students so that you are riding with them, or change
the position of the bikes. Experiment with different room setups and
notice the different energy each creates.
Have commitment issues?
For some instructors, the idea of being locked into a schedule is
enough to make them break into a sweat. In this case, try teaching at a
university or college. Group exercise schedules are usually updated
each semester, and there are fewer classes scheduled in the summer. The
variety could reenergize your teaching and give you some recovery time
Discover what motivates you.
Some instructors have a passion for teaching seniors, while others
gravitate toward hardcore cyclists. The key is to unlock the thing that
inspires you. Others may prefer a more intimate classroom environment.
Another source of motivation is the variety of the Energy Zones™.
Alternating Recovery, Endurance, Strength, Interval and Race Day
classes is a great way to avoid boredom.
Students are drawn to positive energy (that means you!), and will pass
on their positive vibes to other students—and back to you. Perhaps that
is the most important reason to stay engaged in your teaching: if
you’re not feeling excited about what you’re doing, why should your
students? It’s easy to lose sight of this at the end of a long day,
when we’re grumpy and tired and would much rather kick back on the
couch than teach a Spinning class, but remembering why we fell in love
with Spinning in the first place can help put it in perspective.