Spin® Life Blog

Now What? Making the Transition from Student to Instructor

Now What? Making the Transition from Student to Instructor

Posted by Spinning® on Apr 15th 2021

Many of you were busy during the pandemic! In fact, even while most classes were paused due to gym closures, thousands of you received a Spinning® certification! To honor your well-earned creds, we want to provide you with some next steps...In this blog, Spinning® Instructor Rachel Healy shares tips that will take you from newly certified to ultra-confident in less time than you think.

Rachel Healy: After completing my Spinning® Instructor Certification, I was faced with one question – “Now what?” The following are key takeaways I’ve learned as I made the transition from Spinning® student to instructor.

Become a substitute instructor

The first thought that entered my mind after I became certified was, “This is a great first step, but who is going to hire me without experience?” I decided to go to a local university and ask if they could use any substitute instructors during their slower, summer season. Luckily, there was a need and after interviewing with the Fitness Director and performing a Spinning® demo, I was hired.

Be the apprentice

Other new instructors get their foot in the door by interning with an experienced instructor. They start by observing and begin teaching a few songs once they grow more comfortable. As time goes on, they are reach to teach a complete class by themselves.

Find a mentor

Experienced instructors are a valuable resource for those who are just starting out. I became acquainted with a Spinning® instructor who has been teaching for over 10 years, and she answered many of my questions and addressed the concerns I had about teaching my own class. She was able to recount her own experiences as a new instructor, including the obstacles she faced and what she learned along the way. Most importantly, she sat in on my first class and gave me useful feedback about my presentation. An experienced instructor will notice the things you’re too preoccupied to think about.

Be prepared

When creating your profile, know your songs and get comfortable with them. Listen to them and imagine yourself conducting the class. If possible, familiarize yourself with the Spinning® studio before your class. Get acquainted with the layout and the bikes, and make sure you can work the sound system. On the day of your class, arrive 15 minutes early. Greet each student, introduce yourself and assess the students’ fitness levels. As we learned in the Spinning® Instructor Certification, this will help ensure a safe and effective class. I also noticed that making conversation with the students helped to diffuse some of my “new instructor jitters.”

Use a cheat sheet

Another great way to be prepared for class is to use Spinning® Profiles! They offer you the perfect solution for ready-made classes that will energize and amp-up your riders. Profiles include links to Spotify playlists and are created, tested and perfected by Spinning® Master Instructors. You can either purchase profiles directly from Spinning.com or sign up for a SPIN® membership to get them for free!

Don’t be afraid to jot down your Spinning® profile on an index card, and keep it near you when you teach a class. In fact, I’ve noticed that many instructors do this, especially if they are using new music or trying out a new profile. My cheat sheet outlines each song in my selection (including the song duration), the cadence, exercise intensity and a corresponding Spinning® symbol. I also write down notes about proper form, breathing and visualization—words that will motivate and encourage students during the class.

Lead by example

In the beginning of a recent class, everyone seemed energized and excited to be there. But in the last 15 minutes, I noticed that a lot of students had started to lag. Their shoulders had slumped and their cadence had slowed.

“What am I doing wrong?” I wondered. “They seemed motivated just a few minutes ago.” Suddenly I realized that my shoulders were slumping and my cadence decreasing—I was tired. The moment I became aware of this, I snapped to attention, gave my form a quick overhaul and charged into my second wind. Amazingly, the students followed suit. In the course, I remember learning that the students will mimic the instructor, but I never fully understood to what extent until that moment.

Remember that you’re still learning

Now more than ever, I participate in Spinning® classes and pay attention to the instructor’s technique. I take a mental note of the elements I like and want to use—and those I want to try to avoid. Sometimes, when I’m being led by a particularly dynamic instructor, I think, “I’ll never be this good!” But then I think about something that Vince Lombardi said: “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

As a result, I make a commitment to continuously improve as an instructor. I do this by reading the Spinning® Instructor Manual and using the instructor resources on spinning.com, such as this article. I am constantly refreshing my Spinning® knowledge and looking for information to make my classes better. I am not the best I can be right now, but I am on my way. 

If you haven’t made the leap to get certified yet, or are interested in getting your Rockstar Spinning® Instructor Certification or SPINPower® Certification, SPIN® Members get 20% OFF live and online certifications through May 13th, 2021 with code SPRINGCERT20. If you’re not a SPIN® Member, now is the perfect time to sign up!