Put Your Mind To It, Go For It

Spinning: Not as Scary as it Seems

Posted on: May 11, 2010

A few years ago I belonged to a small, no-frills, private gym near my office. That’s when I started taking group fitness classes and experimenting with different activities to find out what worked for me. As I got more comfortable as a gym-goer, I got more adventurous with the classes I’d try. And eventually I braved the spinning class.

There is a stigma associated with spinning that makes it a daunting class to try. Spinning instructors are known for being drill sergeants. The workout is known for being a killer. And the attendance of spandex-donning gym bunnies kept me and my baggy t-shirts away from those bikes for many months.

Finally, with the support of another t-shirt wearing friend, I braved the bike. As it turns out, the class isn’t nearly as daunting as I’d envisioned. Each participant is able to choose their resistance and intensity. It is a completely personal work-out that is simply coached by an instructor. The harder I want to work, the more I can allow the instructor to push me. But I never have to do anything that I am incapable of doing.

The worst part about starting off as an indoor cyclist is the pain I developed my tuckus! Boy-oh-boy did my heiney burn after the first class. Itty-bitty seats are not meant for my tush. I was grateful when the instructor had us do any out-of-seat activity so I could minimize the chafing.

But the feeling of accomplishment that came with completeing a 45-minute or hour long ride trumped any rump pain. I was hooked. After a few classes my butt got used to the seat. I don’t even notice it anymore.

One day, as I was wiping down my bike at the end of a class, the instructor approached me. She told me I was a “great spinner” and had I ever considered teaching? My immediate reaction was “no!” But she told me to think about it. Over the course of the week I started to wonder why my first inclination was to doubt that I could be an instructor. As someone who’d always considered herself to be “fat” I couldn’t possibly change my fat girl identity into a fitness instructor identity. But why not?

After some consideration, I decided to give instructing a try. The head of group fitness at that gym took me under her wing and trained me to be an instructor. After about two months of training I started taking over my own class. It turned out that I loved it. And the attendees loved me. After a few months, when I’d walk into the class the spandex-clad gym bunnies would say “oh good, Karen is teaching today.” You can’t beat that feeling.

Now, years later, I am officially certified as a Schwinn Spinning Instructor. I just got hired by a fancy, hard-core gym conglomerate (no more no-frills private gym). I just taught my first class at this big-time gym and got great feedback.

Who knew that stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying something new would lead to a new passion and a nice bit of pocket cash as well!


3 Responses to "Spinning: Not as Scary as it Seems"

Congrats on the great feedback you got from your class! I bet you’re a great instructor!

Amazing. I love this story. I love that you show that we have the power to change our perception of ourselves.

Thanks, Ru. I think I might add your quote to my “motivating mantras” post.

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Hot Sundae

Fictional girl singing group, Hot Sundae, sang "Put your mind to it, go for it, get down and break a sweat!"


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