I was walking the floor yesterday prior to my Spinning® class and I saw a lady that looked like she wasn't too sure what her bike set-up should be, so before offering to set her up, I asked how often she took classes? She said that she had recently started taking classes and that she had gone to the ____ class at such and such time and it was so hard she almost vomited. When she decided to get off her bike and leave, the students booed her, and she was actually going to put her bike away and didn't because she was so ashamed. I had a pretty good idea of who the instructor was (although there could have been a sub), and I have taken that time slot, so I know that the usual instructor does cue for beginner, intermediate and "maniacs," but that does not happen on all of the drills including jumps and sprints which is really a shame. That is why this student felt ill taking the class. This student was not given the kind of options that should be given and the instructor has created an atmosphere that backing off or going at one's own pace is not acceptable. Remember that the participants are a mirror image of the instructor, once that person has been teaching the same time slot for a while. We, the instructors create the energy in that room. We create the expectations and when the ego takes over, the results can be detrimental to the whole program.
As another instructor at that same facility, all I could do was apologize that she had suffered such a demoralizing experience and promise her I would not make her feel that way. Looking back I am impressed that she dared come back to any cycling class. I don't think I would have done the same. I then asked if I could set her up to ensure her comfort and she then said no one had spent time doing that either. I used the Josh Taylor's bike set up tool that MDA sells right here on this website and my trusty plumb bob I made from string and a large nut from the hardware store. She stayed and rode the whole class. Though I did not get a chance to converse with her afterwards, I do believe I helped her see that an indoor cycling class can be fun and challenging, but not a death trap.
Blog written by master instructor Sabrina Fairchild for community.spinning.com on Sat. May 7, 2011
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