Have you been teaching awhile? If you have- you know what it's like to get that ‘shot in the arm' that brings back a resurgence of energy and life to our teaching. I've experienced this over the last 23 years from conferences, workshops, inspiring podcasts, and other instructor's classes. In the last few months, I've been completely rejuvenated by bringing the fun back into my classes. I literally feel like I just woke up from a long winter's nap.
I used to be fun…and then I got real and now, I want to be real fun! Let me explain:
-I trained with Johnny G in 1996 (I know!) And back in the day we were taught to map out the ride with flats, climbs, standing flats, standing climbs and jumps. Then we were trained to add music and ‘feel the rhythm' throughout the ride with rhythm presses and tap backs. Nothing was scary, or contraindicated, and I don't remember anyone ever getting hurt.
-Then came Schwinn training in about 2000. I loved it! Bringing heart rate, cadence and load training to the table, Schwinn added a layer to Johnny's training, and gave us some metrics by which to measure exertion in our classes. Still no real mention of contraindicated movement- just more mindfulness towards leg speed, load and heart rate.
-8 years later, the ‘if you don't do it on a bike outside, you shouldn't do it inside' hit the indoor cycling instructor community. Militant in style, very few (if any) allowances were made for anything outside of flat roads and climbs. Even jumps, or lifts, were prohibited as dangerous and contraindicated. As a road rider myself, I bought into this theology and brought it into my classroom. As other instructor's classes packed out, my once full classes dwindled. Not looking back, I continued on this path of dogma for the next 5.5 years…how I wish I could get them back!
I like being a ‘fun' instructor! The people that stayed with me all these years tell me they missed me! Missed my singing, moving and feeling the music as a class. As an interesting side note- my music selection hasn't changed a bit, but I have people ask for my playlists now all the time! It's because we're moving and grooving to the music and having a blast.
Being a ‘fun' instructor is not for the faint of heart:
-Classes were much simpler as a ‘roadie only' instructor: I simply mapped out my road, matched great music to the cadence I wanted everyone to ride, had my class do a PTP about 15:00 minutes into class, added some good cues…and…done! Once I learned the science behind what I did, the hard part was done. I changed up my class profiles and added new music, but class was set.
-Now, I need to know all of the above plus the nuances of my music- every little nook and cranny, as we add fun and feeling to the basic framework of the class I described above.
-When does my music demand standing rhythm presses and, dare I say, tap backs?
-How will I break these movements down and coach them?
-When does the music back off and cry out for us to stay in the saddle and work endurance?
-How about jumps or lifts? Does my music push the beat enough so everyone can feel them and work together ‘tribally?'
-Do I know some words so I can sing or say the encouraging statements to my beautiful peeps?
-When is a great time to get off the bike, work the room, encourage individuals, coach and dance a little?
-How do I keep it all fun and still keep everyone mindful of their watts, rpm, heart rate zone, etc.?
A thankful spirit always promotes fun as well! I try to remind everyone to be grateful for bodies that work and respond appropriately and a great place to workout together.
Thank you for being part of the ICI/PRO instructor community. We appreciate you and wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Originally posted 2014-11-27 05:25:42.