Saturday, December 5, 2009

Finding My Mojo One Class At A Time

It's been awhile since I've written anything. There really hasn't been many epic biking events to write about...until this week.

I was let go from my job in September, 2009. The first thing I did was dropped my gym membership. It was a luxury that had to go. Unfortunately dropping my gym membership also meant the end of my Spinning student career. Spinning has changed my life, I was not ready to give it up, so the decision to utilize the Spinning Instructor Certification I had obtained a full year ago was a fairly easy decision to make. It was now time to teach.

Fast forward 8 weeks to the week before Thanksgiving, 2009. After several rejections (including one from the gym I call home) Maggie, one of my first instructors, has agreed to let me give it a go. I cleared my background check on Wednesday, so Thursday morning I was going to drive in after I drop Erica off at school to finish the paperwork. That week I went to a class on Tuesday morning at the new employer, and I had a hard workout + two Spinning classes on Wednesday night at my old gym. I have been given a few guest passes, I wanted to get the most out of the few visits I have left.

Thursday morning 7:30am, Maggie calls. The 9:30 am instructor is sick, could I teach? There was no way I could decline. So there it is, two hours notice until the first class of my career. Breath in, breath out. So I get to the gym, meet the director, sign my paperwork, then head up to the Spinning room to set up.

9:30 am, one student, and she knows I'm new. She lets me know immediately that she would be fine with an elliptical that morning if I didn't want to teach. I reach for what little Mojo I can muster up and let her know under no uncertain terms that I want to teach, and I want her to stay there with me. First hurdle cleared...barely.

Then she asks me where else have I taught before. Not wanting to lose my one and only student - I lie. I am a very bad liar, but she seems to buy it. I start the class, two more people show up five minutes late. Not so empty any more. So I teach the demo profile that I was using for my interviews/auditions and muddle my way through my first class. My Mojo was non-existent, but no one walked out early, and when I asked the student how she liked the class, she told me she sure did sweat a lot. I'm not sure if that was good or bad, so I'm going to hope for good.

I get home later that morning and I was drained. I couldn't concentrate, I couldn't sleep, and I felt like crap. I am taking some online courses at home these days, there is no way I am going to be able to teach if this is going to be the result. Getting my MCSA certification is a priority right now, I can't afford to let a part time job mess me up this badly.

So once I got over the initial "I'll never be able to pull this off" feeling, I decided that if I was going to make this work I was going to have to slow it down. Way down. I went on to make a playlist and a profile, and then I went looking for words. I had read a blog post earlier in the year by Melissa Marotta about creating endurance buy in. This is exactly what I needed to do.

Then I got a call on Wednesday night asking to teach on Thursday night. I would be subbing for Maggie, the very person who hired me, and by far the most experienced instructor in the building. I had big shoes to fill. I needed to be sure to bring my Mojo. The first thing I did was to immediately scrap my original playlist and I replaced it with another one that was a collection of my songs I really enjoy. I listened to it before I went to bed. Then I listened to it over and over again in my head as I lay awake until 2:00 am. No sleep. Very bad. I rearrange the playlist in my head.

The next morning as I was re-arranging my playlist I get an e-mail from Bill Germanakos, the winner of Season 4 biggest loser. I had seen him on the Today show a week earlier and he had some kind words about some other people that were being "chastised" on the commercials, so I sent him a letter letting him know how much I had appreciated his words that day. This e-mail was a very inspiring and personal reply. How cool is that. Here I am, a big loser, getting ready to help others become big losers, and I get this incredible e-mail from one of the top losers in the country. I copied his quote to my pocket PC. The I added Billy Ray Cyrus to my playlist. I was going for broke.

Six students show up to class. This is a good number. A girl in her 20's brought her boy friend for his first class, there was an older (60's?) couple, and two other ladies. I set the new guy up, let him know that everyone in the room had a first day once, and I let him know exactly how I felt after my first ride. He was a skater and was not concerned, but he was appreciative of my advice.

Warm up starts. I start the music and the walk to the middle of the room, off the bike. The first thing I talk about is control, and how I would not be in control of their resistance. It was up to them to control their ride as they see fit. Then I talked about intensity. I talked about all five of the Spinning intensity zones, and how all five have their own distinct benefits, and then I explained that the best way to control intensity is with a heart rate monitor. Then I put it all together, let them know that I would be teaching in the Endurance Energy Zone, but if they needed or wanted more intensity then they were in control. Feel free to crank it up a notch. My Mojo has arrived, just in time.

So we do some flat road speed drills, then we quitly climb to Billy Ray Cyrus - Some Gave All in remembrance of Pearl Harbor, more flat roads and seated climbs. Then I threw in some quick sprints. New guy is done after the sprints. He isn't superman anymore. Older couple is incredible.

Then I explain the rest of the class (10 minutes) will be one long climb. Older lady in front freaks out. I explain again "You are in control. Set your resistance to a level you can sustain." She agrees. I just got my first endurance buy in and she is obviously empowered and in control. Score. We finish the ride with "Careless Whisper" by Seether. Excellent cover tune.

Cool down. I read the quote from Bill Germanokos to the class: "The power to change yourself is the power to also change the world. So, go change it, even if it's one person at a time." Then I let them know I am a big loser. Anyone who was not with me before is with me now.

End of class. New guy says "Dude that was awesome, I'll be back." Girlfriend is smiling from ear to ear. Older couple lets me know they are training for a five day ride next summer. The control/intensity talk made a lot of sense to them. Hopefully they'll be getting heart rate monitors for Christmas.

Then the lady in back tells me she has a heart rate monitor, but never used it. She didn't know what to do with it. We have a long talk about using the monitor to learn about your body, then once you know how your body works you will be in full control.

First class - not so great. Second class - incredible. Two nights later I still can't sleep from all this Mojo.

1 comment:

Melissa Marotta said...

I am so proud of you, Lane...