Kids raising hands

Here's more responses to Irene's question about music in part one of Hey Team > How Would You Answer This Question?

ICI/PRO contributor and future studio owner Callie Bowling Kelly responded with...

Hey John!10428100_10152800927253869_1563779448547048002_n

Here's my reply:

This is a fantastic question! If I may pull from my background in Psychology to get to the root of what may be occurring... this sounds like a case of Blockage to me. Blockage from trusting your unique genius to come through and guide you. You know what made you fall in love with indoor cycling, if you didn't you never would have gotten certified to teach in the first place, right!? Get back in touch with what it was that you loved most about cycle classes, and then re-create that passion in your own class.

There is no right or wrong way to set up a class... honestly! The industry is evolving so much that all sorts of studios and instructors are coming up with their own way and re-inventing the wheel so fast my head is spinning  (pun intended). I give you complete permission to do whatever it is that feels fun and challenging to YOU and then implement that in your classroom, as long as it's safe of course!

I know all too well the pressure of being up in the front of the room, positioning yourself as a leader, and feeling like you have to perform. It is human nature to want acceptance. We crave it. But, wanting acceptance too badly can literally shut you down artistically, because you second guess every decision you make. We think: how is this going to be received, are they going to like my music, is my class hard enough, what if they think I don't know what I'm doing? All of those thoughts are counterproductive to getting up there and having a great time and inviting your class participants to do the same.

Here's a tip of mine on music and choreography for the ride: I pick EPIC music that has a beat and makes me want to move! For the choreography... I like to work intervals, so in my classes we go hard during the chorus and bridge and recover during the verses. It makes the workout follow the energy of the music which creates pure exercise magic in the class!

Hope that helps John!


You'll find Callie's fun and informative articles and interviews here.

Lena Hershey is a Spinning® Instructor & Fitness Blogger @ She offer these practical tips that I feel are perfect for a new Instructor.

Hi John.IMG_4045-800x800

Thank you for including me into this.
Here's what works for me:

1. Profile first - think "terrain". Where are your wheels taking you after warm up? Hills? Fast flats? Off the road and through the mud? Lay it out on paper - draw! That really helps me visualize and make the class profile realistic and my cues to class "spot on" not just pure technical.

2. Put your profile onto music. Beware of the lyrics - just as it can be incredibly inspiring, it can ruin a perfectly wonderful intent. Listen carefully to the lyrics of the songs and make sure not just the musical but verbal message matches the purpose you're putting this piece in your class for. Too overwhelming? Go instrumental! Sometimes a non-verbal message of the music can be more powerful than verbal.

3. Ride it. There is nothing wrong in practicing your rides before teaching them - especially when you're new to teaching. It is not a sign of weakness and seasoned instructors do it, too. Get in that room, turn up the music and teach yourself that class you created. Make sure the music flows nicely piece to piece, and practice cueing your ride.

4. If you can't ride it, listen to your class playlist with your drawing in front of you and think of or say what you're going to say in class.

I know how daunting it can be to start putting your class profiles together. Some of them will be worse than others. You will fail before you succeed. Just remember that you're the only one who will notice the "failure" as you're the only one who knows what the plan is. If something doesn't go according to your plan in class, just move on. Your class will follow your lead, so smile and believe in yourself and your profile. Your pack will follow you!

Best regards,
Lena Hershey.

Lena and I partnered on the 28 Day Instructor Challenge > what turned out to be a very fun exercise in self development for Instructors, over the course of a month. You can look back the challenge in this series of posts.

The Senior Group Fitness Instructor here Amy, dashed off these thoughts will sitting at the airport.

My quick and dirty response would be:Amy Macgowan Cyclist

Categorize music with a beats per minute app on your computer. Climbs = 60 to 80 bpm, Flats = 80 to 100. This helps you 'hear' the music and what it works best for. Start a playlist called 'Climbs' and 'Flats' and add to that playlist as you listen through music....just collect a bunch in each category. This gives you a couple master lists to work from to create classes.

Download 'Shazam' on your phone. When you're out and about and hear a tune you like, you can 'Shazam' it and determine the bpm later.

I would highly recommend a Spotify Premium account (approx. $10 a month). That way, you're not paying for individual tunes, but have a huge library and can maintain your lists there.

I label my profiles/playlists primarily by date. I have a small spiral notebook where I write (by hand) the playlist title, each tune, the bpm and time length. I keep this notebook in my gym bag and use it for every class. That way, there's no surprises.

I hope this helps!


As a long time ICI/PRO contributor, Amy has shared her 20+ years of fitness experience, knowledge of music and fitness related beauty tips for female Instructors.

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