If you’re like us, you probably go to the gym, and you might take spin classes. Maybe you’re devoted to this workout and enjoy it so much that you’ve even thought about how to become a spin instructor. It looks simple enough, right? In this article, we’ll dive into what a spin instructor does, the things you must know (and maybe even didn’t think to ask) and how to get certified and find a job doing what you love. Ready? Let’s get going!
What Is a Spin Instructor?
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A spin instructor is someone trained and certified to lead a spin class at a gym or at a dedicated spin club like SoulCycle. Along with learning how to become a spin instructor, you also must combine your training style with a motivational and encouraging approach. At the end of a session, spin instructors should always leave everyone in their classes feeling empowered and confident, totally spent physically, yet craving the next time on the bike.
It can be a delicate balance, so you need to have the right personality to go along with being in top physical condition. How to become a spin instructor? Along with answering that question, we have to tell you some things you must know before you get on that bike.
Important Things You Should Know: How to Become a Spin Instructor
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Okay, so you’re in top shape and you have an outgoing, motivational personality. You love spinning and enjoy helping people. These are the essentials that anyone considering how to become a spin instructor needs to have. Here is where we tell you the things you should know before you consider training to become certified.
What Kind of Instructor Do You Want to Be?
In the world of spinning, there are traditional and non-traditional instructors. You should figure out what kind of instructor you want to be before you start your journey. Basically, the spinning community is divided between these two groups and there is an open debate about what is considered dangerous while on the spin bike.
Old school instructors teach and advocate only a few positions on the bike. In this class, you’ll either be seated or standing up to sprint. A traditional instructor will never have students attempt to lean, try body rolls or push-ups while spinning. They also don’t teach students choreographed spinning. Spinning can be dangerous.
The weighted flywheel, when spinning at high revolutions, can easily cause beginners to injure a knee or ankle or even throw them off the bike if they stop suddenly. All instructors keep this in mind, but traditional instructors want to keep spinning more in line with what you would experience on a road bike.
This is probably the safest method of instructing a class because people are less likely to get injured if you limit their movements on the bike. You don’t see Tour de France riders doing body rolls and push-ups while attacking a sprint, right?
Switching gears, we now have the non-traditional instructors. This group will do pretty much anything and everything on the bike. You’ll see people using weights, doing bar push-ups, leaning, rolling, and jumping: all while spinning. It is up to you to decide which kind of instructor you want to be based on what you’re comfortable with and what your experience has been as a spin class participant.
If you’ve “grown up” in this spin environment then this is second nature to you and that will probably influence your teaching style as an instructor. Yet keep in mind the controversies (and potential liabilities) that surround non-traditional spinning instruction. You are still a fitness instructor and not an entertainer, so keep this in mind when deciding which style you want to teach. One of the first steps in learning how to become a spinning instructor is first to decide which style you want to teach.
Know Your Audience
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Whatever style you decide you want to teach it’s important to know your audience. Many instructors, when first starting out, will work as “subs”, filling in for the regular instructor at a gym or club. If you start to do push-ups or body rolls, a class might think you’ve lost your mind. If you teach a traditional program, the gym might get complaints that your style is boring if they are used to doing gymnastics while spinning.
Take a class before you apply for an instructor role or ask the regular instructor what style they teach. Most gyms today will have a clear policy about what they want their instructors to do, or not do, on the bike.
If you are auditioning to teach a spin class at a gym or spinning club, just show them a traditional program. It’s better to play it safe. On the flip side, some spinning clubs, like SoulCycle, promote non-traditional moves on the bike. Do your research.
Become Really Good at Being a DJ
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The pulsing and pounding music that keeps cyclists spinning are key to a successful workout. Yet, it is something many would be instructors give little thought to when they decide they want to get certified and teach. Next to the quality of the instructor, the music makes the class. Even an average instructor might get by on the power of their playlist alone. The music is that important. So listen up!
Your music and your playlist are the most important part of your class because will build the instructional part of your class around the songs you chose to play. So what are the best songs? Think about what kind of music motivates you to work out or what you listen to in your spin classes. Mostly you’ll want to pick electronic music with powerful, uptempo beats that motivate your students to keep pushing themselves.
For hill climbs, you’ll want to slow the music down, but not so slow that people’s attention drifts. Chances are, if you’re into fitness you’ll probably already have a good playlist of songs you can use for your spin class.
Change It Up
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While you might some great playlists you must change it up and keep adding new material or your classes will become boring and predictable. Keep favorites but constantly be on the lookout for new songs. Spotify is a great resource for discovering new music and they have some awesome artists and playlists perfect for spinning classes.
Always make sure your songs are PG-13 rated. There are exceptions if your group is comprised of like-minded regulars, but avoid songs laced with profanity. Rap and hip-hop often have great energy, but some people can find them offensive. Use common sense.
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Now we’ve answered basic questions about how to become a spin instructor it’s time to talk about getting certified. The leader in spin certification is a company named, wait for it, Spinning®. They’ve graduated over 250,000 instructors and they offer a range of training options. You can enroll in live courses that last from 1 to 2 days.
There are also online certification programs offered through CyclingFusion or American Fitness Professionals & Associates. And dedicated spin clubs like SoulCycle offer their own certification programs to groom instructors to teach their unique style of spinning. Both types of programs will get you the needed certification but many agree that they get more out of a live training as opposed to remote instruction.
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There are no hard and fast rules to consider when asking how to become a spin instructor. Mostly it takes a good level of fitness and determination. Lots of spin instructors have come from other fitness disciplines like aerobics, running or TRX. Others are former spin students who fell in love with the exercise and how it made them feel and want to learn to teach, either full time or just to make extra money on the side.
If you’re interested in how to become a spin instructor just keep fit, get some decent spin shoes, a large gym bag and plenty of workout gear, like tights, shorts, t-shirts and shorts.
Spend a little extra and buy quality clothing that breathes and wicks away moisture. You’ll be glad you did. Also, when you teach multiple classes, prepare to change your clothes 3 or 4 times a day.
There are several paths you can take when asking how to become a spin instructor. For those of you already enrolled in spin classes, you have a good idea of the basics. You know from following your instructor that there is no resting just because you’re leading a class, you need to bring your best to every class you teach.
What you may not have known are the different styles of spin instruction, how important music is to a successful class and how you go about becoming certified. We hope we shed some light on these topics and answered how to become a spin instructor. For those of you who have never tried spinning, what are you waiting for?