Do you remember Lenny & Squggy's reactopm as a pretty women walked by?Short of provoking a sexual harassment suit, this maybe the best way to get your class excited about what you have in store for them.

I”™m grateful because my riders often take the time to leave comment cards at the club”™s front desk after class and my group fitness directors continually share the feedback with me. One “positive” comment that has been consistent is that members feels that I “set them up for success” from the start. When pushed further, they said, “Tom always tells us what his goal for us is and then how we are going to accomplish it”.


As an indoor cycling instructor, I”™m a slave to my coaching tendencies. Simply put, I can”™t design a ride unless I have a clear objective. Because of my cyclist tunnel vision, I consider indoor classes either a training session or event (something we have trained for). So before I start selecting drills or music, I first determine my overall goal for the ride. Am I trying to help them develop some aspect of their fitness (if so, what is it)? Is the goal to climb to the top of a feared moutain? Are we racing in a stage of the Tour de France or a local criterium? I can”™t help myself — I MUST HAVE A PURPOSE! Fortunately, this seems to be viewed as a positive.

Do You Have An Objective For Your Class?

Instructors often mistake all of the tedious work that goes into a profile as the objective. I do not doubt that a tremendous amount of time was invested in creating our ride profile, but more specifically, was the class designed around an objective. To find out, ask yourself, “What is the purpose of this ride? What does it produce or help my riders achieve?” Unfortunately, an answer of “to develop general fitness” usually doesn”™t cut it.

Do You Explain the Objective To Your Class?

I proctor numerous auditions for instructors and sometimes sit in on classes (usually spying). In most cases, I”™ll take a moment to talk with the instructor afterwards to introduce myself and ask a few questions about the ride. I”™ve been pleasantly surprised to discover that many instructors have some cool objectives for their ride, but never told the class. They were equally surprised that riders would be interested in that level of detail. “Absolutely, it demonstrates not only a purpose for the ride, but the amount of thought and planning that went into designing it. Your class wants to know what to expect (physical demands), as well as, what (long-term) value it will provide.”

A Sample From This Week”™s Ride

Here is the objective I communicated to my class for this weeks leg speed development ride:

“One key element of cycling fitness is steady, fast and powerful leg speed. Since we are in our base training mode, this is a perfect time to focus on it. We are going to approach this by first performing a drill that helps engage more muscle followed by a series of drills that trains the brain to send the signal to the muscle quicker so we can pedal faster and stronger.

Keep in mind, as you look at today”™s profile (I hang an 11”x17” color laminated chart for each class) you will see a number of consecutive drills before we receive more substantial recovery. So pace yourself. Finally, remember that leg speed is a skill that must be trained. Be patient as you develop your own leg speed. It takes time.”


If you are in the habit of creating classes with a specific focus or training objective, make it known to your riders AND reiterate after class the value they received. If you have not been approaching your rides with a specific purpose, I want to encourage you to start. You don”™t have to be “Joe Coach”, but it should be something that can be explained to your riders. Practice saying your objective out-loud and to yourself. If you are finding it difficult to come up with an objective for an existing class, well…. you may want to revisit the profile and tweak it until you can explain its purpose.

Just to clarify, “fun” is not a purpose, but rather how you deliver it. So Have fun! Really!

Originally posted 2012-01-19 14:19:42.

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