What’s your message?
I am a huge fan of Spinning, and since I began my journey as a Spinning instructor in 2003, I have been unable to explain why the bike has such a strong grip on me. I could never understand why it was so fulfilling even though it could be so grueling. I could explain in “personal trainer’s” terms all of the reasons why I SHOULD be there and what was happening as a result of Spinning. But those reasons are the same reasons I could have chosen running, Step, Tae Bo and often did. While I still run and teach Step and Tae Bo from time to time, I pick the bike whenever the choice exists.
Last night, I was given a marvelous gift. Master Spin Instructor Luciana Marcial-Vincion, who I am priviliged to work with, presented her “Message Ride” from WSSC to our club. She adapted the format and the messages to speak to group of students and members, but still spoke to the instructors in the room. She spoke in a way that truly opened my eyes to what I get from Spinning and more importantly what I give. This 90-minute ride was so refreshing, I walked away feeling as though I had awakened from a perfect sleep ready to greet the day and share the good news with everyone around me. And guess what? I’m starting with you.
No matter what genre of class we teach, we are held to a higher standard. But what makes a Spinning instructor so special is their ability to help their students recognize their own inner strength and make positive changes in their lives. That’s not to say that Step instructors don’t do it in some way too, but let’s consider the dialogue. In a Step class, this is what you’ll here 90% of the time:
“Basic Right. Turn Step. Mambo Cha cha. How’s everybody doing? Don’t forget to breathe! If you get confused, just come back to a basic. Woo! You can do it!”
Lots of directions, few opportunities to truly inspire. That’s not to say you aren’t motivating, but most of the words are about cueing. Same with sculpting classes – mostly form descriptions. And don’t get me started on Tae Bo… (Hush, now. I am a Tae Bo teacher too!)
Here’s what I heard last night:
“Spinning is about what’s in here [pointing to chest] and here [pointing to the head].”
“Allow yourself to feel connected to your breath.”
“Your muscles don’t move on their own; your breath moves them.”
“Don’t ask for an easier hill. Ask to be a better climber.”
Now some of that is paraphrased or my interpreted version of what she said, but the message in Spinning is clear: You have a purpose. You have special gifts. Your body WANTS to be fit and you come to class because you WANT to satisfy that desire. On the bike, you are free to do what needs to be done in your own terms and in your own time.
I have a long soapbox speech for the people who come to any class to be entertained are missing out on something far more profound and beautiful. It’s even longer for the instructors who treat indoor cycling like aerobics on a stationary cycle. I’ll save it for another time. Right now, I just want to share with you the reason why Spinning is so important to me, and why I think it is the most popular form of group fitness out there. As Luciana pointed out to me, Spinning is pure. It breaks us down so that we can be rebuilt into stronger, better versions of ourselves. When we let go of our judgements and fears, the bike can teach us about ourselves in a way no other experience can. It is, as Johnny G says, what it is. And that purity is what keeps me coming back.