I have went back and forth with my love for spinning since 2007. I would spend a year going all of the time and then stop going completely. Over the years, when i was going on frequent dates with the class, I felt like I could potentially one day be an instructor. Then I would stop going (mainly it was during times when I would focus more on running) and the idea and dreams of conducting my own class would disappear.
When I injured my a couple of months ago foot, I was told to bike. I didn’t have a bike yet (however, I just got one this past weekend), so I went to spin class once or twice a week. This consistent attendance reminded me why I loved being there – the energy of the class and connecting tough moves to (sometimes) amazing music. During certain classes – I thought to myself, “I could run a class and i can get people motivated to climb this awful hill and complete a kick-ass workout.” I decided to go for the certification. LUCKILY – my friends Lyndsey and Erin (read an interview with her here) were already planning to get it as well. Initially we were going to sign up for the Spinning program, but after calling around to gyms and studios in NYC about their requirements (and preferences), we decided on Schwinn Fitness. We scheduled September 15 at an Equinox in Woodbury, NY!
Our 8 hour program was completed in the spin room the entire time (we were on and off the bikes a lot – and on the floor)!
Our instructor, Jeffrey Scott, was PHENOMENAL. His energy was contagious and he was freaking hilarious. You can read more about his credentials here, but basically he has been in the biz for 20+ years (and even taught step class, bonus points – I loved step in high school, but sucked at is and tripped a lot).
Some details about the program:
- The Schwinn bikes are awesome. They have an aluminum frame and a steel flywheel. The bikes are very light and easily portable by lifting onto front wheels. The bikes were built to mimic a road bike so the flywheel is connected to the pedals directly by a chain and there are various handle bars.
Photo courtesy of Erin
My favorite part of the bike is the MPower Console.
The console is placed in between the handle bars. Through the ANT+ technology (Garmin users!) you can sync your heart rate monitor to the console which will display calories burned. Huge plus: your RPMs are always on display. I believe this is an amazing way for the student to be aware of their output. If the instructor gives a range – the student will know whether or not they are working hard enough (or even if they need to back off a bit). I hope to be able to incorporate this type of user experience when it comes time to teach a class (Jeffrey let us know that Schwinn is continuously developing this technology).
- I learned A LOT: How to fit a student to a bike; Important stretches necessary to prevent injury and help the body adjust after an intense workout; Instructor communication and cues to get the class motivated; Music selection. We spent a great deal of the lecture on the body’s anatomy and range of motion and how it relates to cycling (Quick fact: a correct setup will mimic a correct lunge – the knee should never be over the ankle)! The most interesting part of the program (in my opinion) was learning about which muscles are recruited during pedaling!
- Schwinn research and training results in a completely different ride than I have been doing for my entire spinning life. Their motto is “If it’s not done on a bike outdoors, we don’t do it indoors.” This eliminates jumping and introduces new body positioning (to name a couple of examples). Instead of instructors directing the class by percent of max heart rate (an unknown calculation and feeling to many students), it is done by zones – easy, moderate, hard and anaerobic. It is a different method of teaching and I really like it and believe it is much more user-friendly than what I have previously experienced.
- The best part of the day: Two 50ish minute, high-intensity spin workouts. I am not going to lie to anyone here – the first one was the hardest spin class I have ever done. I went into the second one absolutely frightened and panicked that my heart was going to stop. It ended up being just as hard – but (here’s the kicker) Jeffrey was an amazing instructor with an overwhelming (and contagious) enthusiasm for fitness – and he pushed each one of us to give the best effort we could for that workout. I ended the day full of endorphins and satisfaction with the certification and my new riding abilities!
My thoughts and feelings:
The program was informative from start to finish (I only listed a few key points from our day)! The elements of the Schwinn program were presented very well: teach authentic cycling principles, create a broad-based appeal and develop an engaging and empowering coaching style!
Jeffrey kept the entire class engaged (it helped that more than half of the class were already seasoned instructors that were completing a new certification)! At the end of the program, he gave us the exact cycling workouts we had completed, broken down by song, intensity and speed. I love that I can go back and review the entire workout and piece by piece put together everything that I learned (and also have a base to start for my own class one day)!
I am extremely happy I now have this certification. Do I believe I am ready to teach a class? Yes and no. Yes I can get up there and put my newly-learned moves to kick-ass music. No I do not feel like I have enough of an understanding of the science just yet. I am going to review the literature and make sure I am able to answer as many questions that a class may have. Was it worth $225? Every penny. I honestly hope to get a job as soon as I am ready (and with that a free gym membership)!
I would love to hear from other certified instructors about their programs vs.. Schwinn as well as their certification and job-search process! Any details will be extremely helpful!!
As a student, what is your favorite/least favorite thing about an instructor?
Who wants to take my class?