You know I like to experiment. With music, class format, type of workouts etc. I spend hours scouring YouTube and Googling stuff that would shake things up in my indoor cycling class a bit. I have talked about music in one of my previous posts. Today I would like to talk about class format and workout types.
I read this article today and I couldn’t agree more: http://greatist.com/connect/militarization-fitness.
People feel that if they don’t get a whole body workout or all-out-gonna-puke indoor cycling session, they wasted 45 minutes. In indoor cycling it basically translates into HIIT interval session. What’s my take on it?
Personally I am not the biggest fan of HIIT as an instructor. I mean don’t get me wrong: this type of session has its place. It’s a great workout. From the instructor’s point of view though, taking into consideration my passion for teaching and helping people to gain new skills I find them somewhat tedious to teach. Oh my, I hope I won’t face a backlash here from both fellow instructors and participants 🙂
What I mean exactly is I would prepare the playlist and tell the riders: up, down, fast, recover, slow, run up this hill, recover etc. But my view is that for a really good and powerful interval session you need to be conditioned. Going all gung-ho with poor form and technique will just tire you out but you won’t gain half as much as from a more “boring” endurance session which will allow you to practice riding efficiently. Or a proper sprint training session. Or long hills.
If you take 3 or more classes a week and try to make them all HIIT sessions you face fatigue and possibly an injury.
A friend who teaches Pilates told me once she could never teach indoor cycling as there was nothing to teach. She couldn’t be more wrong, believe me.
I remember creating my first DIFFERENT session: warm-up, then 3 fast pace 80-90RPM songs followed by 15min hill climb. I was worried people will be bored with the first 20 minutes in the saddle but I was so wrong. The feedback was so positive. Or after the first class with a 30 min climb.
Which brings me to the main point. The feedback. You have no idea how important it is for an instructor. Now sometimes the energy is so high in the studio you don’t need any words. At other times you think throughout the class: “This is not working, they are looking bored. Why? It worked in the other group…” And one of the two things follow: despite your reservations people come to you after the class saying they thoroughly enjoyed it DESPITE looking like zombies 🙂 or this class just wasn’t right for this group. It may be the music, their fitness level, whether they are used to using their intrinsic motivation or maybe your own energy wasn’t there?
I always ask people for feedback. I say: “I am here for YOU not the other way round so if this is not what you want to do, please let me know”. Now mostly people who loved the class will come and speak to you. The ones who didn’t enjoy it just leave quickly. I make a point of trying to talk to these guys after the class, even in the changing rooms. I also give out my cards so they can FB me or e-mail me and I do give out questionnaires once or twice a year. These are anonymous and very helpful.
We as instructors need particularly the constructive criticism. We know we won’t be able to please everyone. I always make it clear at the start of the class what we will be doing and why. If this is not your favourite type of training just remember that by doing the things we don’t like doing we get better at them.
But if you didn’t enjoy the class because you found it boring as we did the same thing for 30min and I didn’t motivate you enough to keep focus, I talk too much, my instructions were not clear, you find using a video distracting etc I need to know so I can improve your experience and improve as an instructor. Maybe get some extra training.
I love positive feedback – let’s be honest, we all do! It’s great to hear my classes are different and that you love coming to them. This definitely tickles my ego and puts a smug smile on my face. But I know how to blow my own trumpet – I know I am fabulous. Runs in the family. What I need is for people to tell me the bad and the ugly. So please don’t be afraid to speak up. Bother me anytime.