9/19 update – listen to my interview with Dr Wendy Suzuki about Creativity Indoor Cycling here.
I know that whenever I'm feeling the need to get more creative, I'll attend someone else's cycling class. Typically Amy's Saturday morning Evolution class at Fife Time. Not having to focus on delivering the class myself, after about 15 minutes I tend to zone-out and new ideas just start coming to me. I know I'm not the only person who experiences this – actually I feel it's pretty common amongst endurance athletes.
I describe pedaling along, blissfully oblivious to what's happening around you (inside or outdoors) as JRA – Just Riding Along. You might call it being in a state of Zen, or in-the-zone or your “happy place”. If you've ever felt you were in a place where time seems to both stand still and fly by, you know what I'm talking about.
Last year I talked about how you, as the Instructor, can distract your participants who are enjoying their time JRA by calling out the equivalent of SQUIRREL.
It turns out that there's a bunch of neuroscience that goes on while we are aerobic. You'll learn a lot about the science of what's happening to your brain during exercise from this video that feature neuroscientist/group fitness instructor Dr. Wendy Suzuki.
Creativity Indoor Cycling?
So if our riders are already benefiting from the mental/creative stimulation that comes from participating our our classes, why not promote this benefit? Better yet, why not structure classes to actually enhance the experience?
So how would you do this?
Not sure exactly… I know I would lead with a playlist of long, hypnotic songs. I remember that using this profile from Jim Karanas had the desired effect ICI/PRO Podcast #193 – ZENDURANCE (20 min verison) Audio PROfile.
The long, steady efforts are magical in their ability to bring on JRA 🙂 If you really want people to zone out and get into their own heads, this 15 minute track from the ZENDURANCE profile is nearly guaranteed to do the trick.
Next I'm thinking I would create a slideshow of random images of interesting geometric shapes and colors. Maybe cool architecture, bridges & buildings, flowers & plants, etc… I don't think I'd include pictures of people or animals that could trigger emotional responses – that's at least my initial idea.
The important part would be that riders wouldn't need to maintain their attention, like you do when you're watching a video. Maybe instead of class > Keeping it Fun, you offer > Keeping it Interesting?
Cuing would be the real challenge. Maybe you don't cue anything beyond the introduction. Or, you might offer a word problem or show a series of brain exercises from Lumosity.com or other online resourse with each song changes.
What ever you come up with, it will be important to properly identify the class format and include its description on your class schedule.
Your Creativity Indoor Classes could potentially have value to a local company looking to solve a problem or develop a new product. Bring in a big white board and then team up with a moderator who writes down all the new ideas, while you guide the class. The possibilities are endless and structured properly, could be a very profitable class you could offer.
Even now you're thinking, “what if we were to…”
Share your ideas below.
John is a member on the AFS (Association of Fitness Studios) Advisory Council.
Holding certifications from; Schwinn, Heart Zones, Team ICG and Life Time Fitness, John's held regularly scheduled cycling classes between 1998 and 2015 when he moved to Florida.
When the weather permits, you'll find him riding and leading outdoor groups by himself or with his Tandem partner (wife) Amy.