Instructor Burn Out - How to Manage Your Energy As An Indoor Cycling Instructor
With peak fitness season underway, classes are full and you’re riding the adrenaline high! Perhaps you’re also subbing some extra cycling classes in an effort to support your fellow instructors, while keeping the “Resolutioners” on track. Well, stop spinning your (fly)wheels and listen up! If you’re not careful, teaching high-intensity, physically-demanding indoor cycling classes repeatedly could zap your physical and emotional energy. If you’ve ever felt drained, moody and/or constantly on the verge of getting sick, yet you can’t quite stop the vicious cycle because of your love for teaching, it may be time to consider some energy-management strategies.
Here are 5 helpful ways to prevent over-stress and over-training as an Indoor Cycling Instructor:
1. The Magic of Ebb and Flow – The holidays are special because they only come once a year. If holidays happened everyday, there would be far less impact. If every song on your playlist is an intense, power-driven song with high-energy intervals, the class just lumps together, leaving nothing to stand out in the mind of the participant. By choosing 1-3 points along your class to "peak" highlighted with incredible music and excitement, you leave more of a memorable and lasting impression on your participants. As an added bonus, you, the instructor, are not having to push and maintain your energy and voice at a level 10 for the entire class.
2. Coach Off The Bike – If you’ve ever felt bad, guilty, wrong or simply unsure when it comes to teaching off the bike, it’s time to clear up this common misconception. Coaching from the floor several times throughout class provides an effective opportunity to make personal connections with each person in your class. Give them a moment of your full attention as you walk around the room. Make each person feel like they are the only person there, and let them know they are special and appreciated. The best indoor cycling instructors understand that their role is to connect and motivate while leading participants on their ride, not using class as a time to get their personal workout in.
3. The Quiet Cool - Remember Brad Pitt in Ocean's Eleven? He never yelled, shouted or even raised his voice. Yet, he was captivating to watch. That quiet confidence and ability to command attention is what separates the good instructors from the great ones. As a short cut, most of us just yell. This not only forces participants to tune out, but also leaves an instructor with a raspy voice and feeling totally depleted.
4. Good For The Gander and The Goose! – We all tell our class participants to stretch knowing full well they probably won't when they leave the indoor cycling room. If it's important enough to mention, it's important enough to be part of class. You can be most effective by incorporating breathing exercises, stretching and recovery techniques (such as self-massage with foam rollers and tennis balls) into your class. Not only are you doing a great service to your participants, you’re also giving yourself an opportunity to recover, refresh and avoid injury in between teaching your classes.
5. Learn to Say No - After a while, we can't keep saying “yes” to every class offered to us. Once you feel confident about who you are best at teaching to, the time of day, and the types of formats that highlight your skills as an instructor, focus on those opportunities and politely take a pass on the others.
By Jackie Mendes, Director, RealRyder® International LLC