“On Thursday mornings, I have spin class,” I mention casually to various acquaintances. And then I delight in their reactions: “Wow, I’ve heard that’s really intense!” “I tried that once and hated it!” “I don’t think I could do that … can you really keep up?”
Of course those who actually know me know there is nothing “casual” about my decision to take a spin class. In fact, when I first joined the gym and was shown the Spin Studio, I slyly remarked, “you definitely will not see me in there,” and backed away from the blasting music and smell of sweat. In truth, however, I was quite curious about the energized and loud woman with a commanding presence at the front of the room shouting out instructions to a group of sweaty cyclists who seemed to be loving it.
As a life coach, I try to understand what motivates people, what keeps them in resonance, and how to keep them engaged in the face of challenge so that growth can occur. This particular spin instructor - we’ll call her “Delilah” - seemed to have the answers, and so after a month of gym membership, I took the plunge and joined the class.
Below are some coaching lessons I have learned from Delilah in the Spin Studio:
1. Love what you do.
You cannot fake this. Delilah’s passion for an intense aerobic workout is evident in everything she does. It feeds her energy (which appears to be boundless!) and is infectious among those in her charge.
2. Be present with those you coach.
Delilah does not sit on the sidelines, yelling out instructions for others to follow. No. She is in front of the class, on her bike, demonstrating every movement and instruction that is given. As a member of the class, you know that she is sharing the experience with you and is physically and mentally tuned into the energy of the room.
3. Have fun and be funny.
When things feel tough, it is easy to get serious. But when I get too serious about a task at hand, I tend to lose momentum. I admit there are moments when my quads are aching, my butt hurts from the bike seat, and my gaze falls to the ground. This is too hard. I can’t do this. But then Delilah starts singing to the music, or cracks a funny joke, and I feel my energy rise as a smile spreads across my red and sweaty face.
4. Know when to challenge and when to let recover.
Delilah knows that in order for us to take on a challenge (e.g. pick up the speed, increase the resistance), we need space to recover. Although I consistently workout much harder than I would if I were going at my own pace, I never feel as though a challenge is insurmountable if Delilah encourages us to slow down, take some deep breaths and rehydrate. It’s amazing what can then be accomplished!
5. Captain of the team.
Having never played team sports as a child, I feel giddy when Delilah refers to the class as her team. “Come on team,” she shouts, “you can do this!” I look over my shoulder and see my classmates spinning along and all of the sudden I feel part of something bigger. The group’s energy rises as we propel ourselves forward. We believe in our Captain and she believes in us.