Wednesday, May 23, 2012

To Lead or Be Lead, That is the Question.

Last night's spin class was killer. Great turn out, good energy, and lots of sweat. I took my own advice and and cranked it up a notch for a few of the drills, adding two gears at times when telling the class to add one. Effectively, I want to train my legs to push harder and faster in a higher gear, which I certainly can't do if I'm tentative with the resistance on an indoor bike.

The tricky thing about teaching class, though, is that I not only need to shout out instructions and physical cues, but I need to gauge how hard the class is working and use that to determine if I stick to a drill as I originally planned or make modifications. In doing so, I sometimes might back off my own intensity. But since my class is also my workout, I need to find that balance between guiding my class and pushing myself. Of course, I can only work hard to a certain extent: if I'm gasping for air and crimson red in the face, I imagine that wouldn't leave a good impression on my class.
I recently picked up a few Thursday morning classes, which seem to be small and quiet. I realized last week I was going to have to change my style for this small handful of people and perhaps trade the Flo Rida and Foo Fighters for Peter Frampton and Fleetwood Mac. This class would be an example of when I might need to dial back my own intensity to better lead the class, several of whom seem to be new to the class, new to the gym, and generally unsure of what they are doing there. I would not be doing my job if I were to intimidate them out of the room.

Have you ever trained with a group or met up with another runner who you had to adjust your intensity and pace for to better lead them?

It's hard sometimes, to swallow your pride and stuff your ego for someone else's workout, but it's why I am an instructor. And often times, friends rely on each other much in the same way for group rides and runs. You wouldn't want to turn every run into an easy run for the sake of your training partner, but I think it is a good experience to put your goals aside for a moment to help encourage your friend and push them to their own next level.

Because I'm sure we have all been there before: Struggling, gasping, dying to quit. Maybe you were dragging behind on a group run and someone doubled back to keep you company. Maybe you were attempting a first ever group fitness class and considered throwing in the towel because you couldn't keep up, when the instructor made a poignant and inspirational comment to keep you going. Maybe you were about to give up on a workout because the alarm went off too early or you were too tired after work, and your spouse, friend, or parent reminded you of how important you said it was that you exercise that day no matter what.

So take a cue from your instructors and find someone you can lead, even for just one workout, on their fitness journey. You don't need a degree in exercise science or a certification to train to be a motivator and a positive influence. We are ALL teachers, in some way!

Who has been one of your biggest motivators?

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