By Jennifer Tipton
Your Spinning® classes are thriving. Everyone is getting a great workout, but you begin to feel as if there is a lack of mental connection in the cycling room. You spend time preparing an amazing profile that will keep the participants engaged, but for some reason you notice the students are easily distracted during class. The human mind tends to wander, even during a great Spinning session. So, how can we keep our students mentally connected during class? Here are some simple techniques that will help you keep your students engaged and coming back for more:
Clear Your Head
A great Spinning class starts before the instructor even enters the room. Prepare yourself by clearing your mind before arriving to class. Take some deep breaths and leave whatever happened earlier in the day or in the past few minutes outside the door. Your energy is more powerful than you know. Students can sense when you are unprepared or stressed out. Always be aware that this is their class and respect the students’ time. This includes every second that they are in the room.
Set the Stage
Your students expect to have an incredible experience from the minute they walk through the door. Always arrive early to set up your bike, that way you are able to welcome students as they arrive. Turn on inviting music that sets the theme for the class. For example, use music that is a prelude to the type of ride that they will be experiencing. The music should be intriguing enough to catch their attention, but not overpowering. It’s a good idea to ask the class to put away their mobile phones before class and remind them that this is their time. Also, always start on time.
Keep the Music Flowing
Use a playlist that is conducive to keeping everyone mentally aware of your instruction, their energy level, and the purpose of the ride. Switching the music and creating too many distractions during class leads to unwanted behavior on the bike. For example, your students might check their mobile phones while you are fumbling with the stereo, they might start to notice the clock as their eyes wander, or they may start conversing with one another when there is a pause in instruction. Keep the musical gaps to a minimum unless you are providing them with specific instruction or encouraging words.
Stress the De-stress
The Spinning program is like meditation on a bike. The mind-body connection is part of the appeal of the program. There are numerous distractions in our lives. Our days are incredibly packed with work, family, social events, and other obligations. Spinning allows us some time to shut the mind down and focus on the task at hand. The constant chatter of the day is causing more and more anxiety in our culture. We constantly strive to do too much. We overbook ourselves and continue to increase the expectations of what we can realistically handle. Reminding your students that they are there for the purpose of taking the time for themselves is a very powerful component to your instruction.
Make Eye Contact and Smile
Let your students know that you are there to teach. Turn the music up, walk the room, and ask how everyone feels. They will get the message loud and clear that it is time to focus. Again, remind them that this is their time to connect and get the most out of their ride.
Keep the Connection
Once you have created an environment conducive to a mentally powerful class, how do you keep the students connected the entire time? Incorporate powerful mental training on the bike using key terms and specific centering techniques. Using one word to motivate is very powerful. Speak to your audience. You might use words such as “power,” “focus,” “believe,” “energize,” or “respect” depending on who is in the room. Allow some silence when it is appropriate. Keep a strong presence by using eye contact. Get off your bike and be the teacher. Learn what motivates your students. Not all populations are the same. Keeping everyone engaged will give your class more appeal and also allow the students to get a well-deserved break from their busy lives.
Your authenticity will guide them. Whether your style is more lighthearted or serious, students will know when you are showing your true teaching style. Be proud of your role as a Spinning instructor. Take care of yourself and allow yourself that mind-body connection as well. Walk into class ready to be a motivator. The result is that you will serve your students well and give them the mental connection to exercise that they need.