Ok, we simply need to mention the word “test” and all kinds of things tighten up. Relax. For week 3 of instructor self improvement month, let”™s look at how we are doing mentally and emotionally....”sit back on my couch and close your eyes”.  Before you jump to a conclusion on either side of the spectrum, answer a few questions:

  • How motivated am I to teach my classes?
  • How excited am I about teaching this weeks profile or ride?
  • Do I still get pumped by my music?
  • Do I feel energetic during class or just getting through?
  • Do I find myself taking shortcuts when planning class?
  • Am I considering taking a break from teaching?

If you got through this interrogation and said “I”™m motivated. I”™m excited. I am pumped, energetic and plan every detail of my class and would NEVER consider quitting” then just tuck this article in your calendar and check back in a couple of months.  However, if you hesitated or flat-out broke down in tears, then read on.

The truth is we usually don”™t see it coming.  Life is so fast and we are so busy that we get desensitized to how we are really feeling.  Regardless, don”™t panic.  There could be a number of reasons you may not have answered the way you wanted on any of these questions.  It could be that you need some fresh inspiration, some new music, a challenge or some rest.  It really depends.

Don”™t Rule Out Rest

Back in July, I wrote an article entitled “Taking Care of YOU” which focused on staying aware of your overall health and need for rest.  We need to consider ourselves athletes and consider our classes as training sessions.  Regardless of how hard you are working, and depending on how many classes you teach a week, your body will eventually get fatigued if you don”™t take the time to rest.

Rest also rejuvenates the mind and soul.  I have over 5000 pieces of music and over 60 individual ride profiles that I teach throughout the year.  With rare exception, I do not use the same song in 2 different rides.  The song goes with that ride and that is it.  I also don”™t repeat the same workout within a 6-8 week period, so basically I may not do the same rider or hear the same music for almost 2 months.  However, at times, I get bored and tired of my music.  Of course, I use that as an excuse to buy more, but honestly, that is often not the solution.  What I”™ve found 99.9% of the time is that I”™m simply “tired”.  Once I get some rest, EVERYTHING is again exciting and full of life.  The music is pump”™in and I can”™t wait to get up at 4:30 AM to throw down.

Get Some Inspiration

How about that, the ICI/Pro Conference is next week!  Yes, a shameless plug.  But seriously, when was the last time you pursued some education and training for yourself?  Sign-up for a workshop in your neighborhood, or better yet, take a trip (call it a professional retreat so you can write it off) and go somewhere exotic — for business of course.  A cheaper option: get a sub for your class and take a class with another instructor.  Take a class with another instructor at another club!  Why not?  Get out of your environment and see how the other half lives. Come on, we are flattered when someone asks to take our class.  Instructors often have guest pass privileges so don”™t be shy - “Hey, I”™ve heard some great stuff about your class, are you able to get me a guest pass so I could experience it?” You”™re as good as in.

Challenge # 1

Everyone knows I”™m all about challenges so take that surprised look off your face.  Try something different in class.  Teach a totally different ride.  Not into rock?  Add some.  How about teaching without music? Here”™s one I had a ton of fun with (and my challenge): Ask your riders to build a ride for you.  Yup.  I asked them to create a ride with their own music and burn it on a CD.  I gave them a date and said I would teach the first CD given to me when I walked into the room — no questions asked AND no prep. What a blast!  Not only did it challenge the snot out of me, it was freeing AND gave me some insight as to what type of music and rides my class liked.

Challenge # 2

Ok, if you are more the athlete type (and want a cop-out for the first challenge), here is another way to determine and/or inspire you to get your edge back.  Take a threshold test.  I don”™t care which one you do.  It could even be a VO2 test or the Foster Talk Test.  Go for broke.  This can often have a 2-fold affect. First, you will see what kind of energy you have.  If you are exhausted and can”™t finish the test or put-out a sub par performance, you know your body is tired and you need some rest. Second, if it is just inspiration you need, blowing out the dust may just be what the doctor ordered.  Besides treating ourselves to an endorphin high, pushing our limits can reinvigorate our conviction on the type of training our class wants and what it feels like to give it all.  Then turn around and give one to your class while your in the mood.


The bottom-line is that we bring a lot of ourselves into each class and each ride.  It is not just the physical energy but emotional energy as well.  In many ways, the emotional is more important.  As you dig into all the aspects of what makes you a great instructor this month, take a deeper look into your motivation and inspiration and make sure you are still bringing and dishing out a healthy dose to your class.

Originally posted 2011-09-22 14:58:46.

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