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A Year of Resolutions

I love this time of year: the harvest of a year's worth of classes and a year's worth of happy members. It’s also the time to make room and plans for new projects in the coming year.

At the beginning of every year, I take time to review myself as a facility manager/Spinning® Instructor and also to review my goals for my classes. I begin planning my goals for my Spinning participants to help them continue to improve their performance and I prepare for those January Spinning resolutions to be a “better rider.” As I was trying to define a “better rider,” I quickly realized that there are so many different aspects of form, technique and basic positions that it would be hard to pick one thing that could address the myriad of teachable Spinning practices. Being a better rider is a multifaceted goal and it is different for almost every student. 

Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions rarely last more than a few weeks. A 2007 University of Bristol study found that 88 percent of all resolutions fail. The study also added a hopeful note that resolutions are 22 percent more effective if you set small, measurable goals.

Author Frank Ra wrote in his book A Course in Happiness that "resolutions are more sustainable when they are shared, both in terms of with whom you share the benefits of your resolution, and with whom you share your path of maintaining your resolution." Peer-support makes a real difference in success rate with New Year’s resolutions, so I asked myself, "What if I could use this information about the higher success rate of shorter term goals and make it work to my advantage?"

I started to create a list of aspects of the Spinning program that could become goals for the next year so that I could plan a “Year of Resolutions.” I also wanted to have a map for myself, as well as my instructors, to help guide us in creating new profiles, using existing profiles to support each goal and finding creative ways to teach many different skills that build on prior knowledge and our previous goals.

Each month we will have a different resolution to focus on in Spinning class. The Year of Resolutions could be adopted across the board at your gym and all instructors on staff could spend a little more time coaching on the specific resolution of the month. This well thought out, strategic plan to improve skills and help your members meet their fitness goals will set you apart from other clubs.

Each Spinning class during that month does not need to be absolutely specific to the resolution of the month, but the Spinning instructor should use the coaching opportunities in each different class to teach more specifically toward that theme. Each month can build on the months before so that the previous concepts are continually reinforced.

Below is an outline of my Year of Resolutions:

JANUARY: MENTAL FOCUS. Work on inner strength, positive self-talk, visualization, focus, flow, concentration and even how to de-emphasize painful parts of a ride.

FEBRUARY: SEATED FLATS. Fast flats, steady tempo flats, controlled endurance flats and flats as active recovery. Work on perfecting form on flat roads.

MARCH: INTENSITY. Focus on Spinning Energy Zones™, anaerobic threshold field test, understanding RPE, creating a better awareness of what your body is telling you and encouraging riders to wear heart rate monitors.

APRIL: STANDING FLAT. Easy jogging, picking up the pace and running. Work on staying smooth and light on your feet.

MAY: THE ROLE OF RESISTANCE. Work on eliminating the fear of resistance and understanding the relationship between resistance, intensity and cadence.

JUNE: THE ATTACK. Focus on understanding the difference between a run, a sprint, acceleration and an attack.

JULY: THE RACE. (Coincides with the Tour de France)  Work on understanding race preparations, strategies and intensities.

AUGUST: JUMPS. The focus is on perfecting form for Jumps on flatter terrain and Jumps on a Hill.

SEPTEMBER: SEATED CLIMBS. Learning to climb with a balanced pedal stroke and reducing the struggle on the saddle.

OCTOBER: THE FUN FACTOR. Spinning is supposed to be FUN! Focus on the enjoyment and camaraderie, play some profile games and approach each class with a light heart and big goofy smile. 

NOVEMBER: STANDING CLIMB. Focus building up from a moderate hill to intense mountains while keeping excellent technique, even when we are in a steep climb.

DECEMBER: REFLECTION. Reflect back on the whole year of resolutions and bring it all together. Think of this as your “greatest hits” month, or as a time for each rider to pick something they want to spend a bit more time perfecting. 

By the end of the year, each of your members should have a greater understanding of their own strengths and weakness. The Year of Resolutions will help your members continue to achieve short-term and long-term goals to meet their fitness aspirations!

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