Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Share Your Expertise: #elf4health Guest Blogger

This is my second year to be part of a community of holiday health-seekers known as #elf4health! Today, I've invited one of my fellow elves --GILLIAN CLOW-- to share her expertise on how she became a SPIN INSTRUCTOR. Oh, and by the way...Gillian is a law student, too! Yep, she's smart, athletic and beautiful! And, you can try to keep up to pace with Gillian on her blog at thatsg.com.



As some of you may know, I recently started teaching spin classes! I thought I’d share how I did it.

I got into spin my sophomore year of college.  In an ill-fated attempt to join Cal’s triathlon team, I took a few classes.  I quickly learned that my swimming and biking wasn’t at a level I’d be comfortable competing at, so I dropped the team.  But I did stick with spinning!  I took classes at Cal’s RSF (with the AMAZING Anja Garcia) and my hometown’s 24 Hour Fitness when I returned for semester and summer breaks.

I even joined gyms and took spin classes when I studied abroad in Barcelona and again when I lived in Madrid.  I take my obsessions SERIOUSLY.

Since being back in LA for the last few years for law school, I have enjoyed spinning at Gold’s Gym downtown, as well as YAS Fitness, Flywheel, and of course, Soul Cycle. So after years of spinning (roughly 6 years), I decided to accomplish the goal of becoming a spin instructor.

In my mind, there is NOTHING worse than taking a bad spin class, mostly defined by a low energy instructor with bad music.

How to Get Certified

In order to become a legitimate spin instructor, you need to get certified.  I chose to go through Spinning ® .  It was a one-day class, from 10 am to about 6 pm.  We had about 25 people take the certification course, led by a master trainer from Mad Dogg Athletics.  We learned pretty basic things like how to assemble a class (meaning the combination of sprint, hills, and jumps that fill up the hour), the different hand positions, and how to set up a bike. We also took a couple of rides.  It was really a fun day — I joked that I felt like I was at spinning camp.  Although the certification is about $300, it is really efficient.  Spinning.com requires that you essentially get re-certified every 2 years, but I know this requirement is not enforced by many different facilities.  The week after the class, you have to take a 50 question multiple-choice exam.  It is not difficult. (I took it literally while I was blow drying my hair).

How to Get Hired
Getting certified is only the first step – you need someone to actually want you to work at their gym!  Many spinning specialty facilities (Soul Cycle, for example) require that you go through their own teacher training.  I decided to wait to reach out to potential gyms until after I got certified.  That week, I reached out to my gym, Gold’s Gym in Downtown Los Angeles.  The group exercise manager responded and suggested I meet him for a brief interview.  I lucked out in that my gym was looking to add a new spin instructor to the team, so I was matched up with Marcus, a long-time spin instructor at my gym to co-teach a class or two.  I taught the first three songs of a couple classes.  This really got my confidence up and also introduced me to a lot of the regulars.  I would really recommend suggesting this to the gyms you consider reaching out to.

Since then, I now teach two classes a week (Saturday mornings and Wednesday nights) at my gym.  I’m also subbing occasionally.  It’s awesome to be a part of a fitness community and to be around people who share a similar interest.  I love my “regulars” and am so thankful to have this opportunity to pursue my “side hustle” in the world of
fitness!

I’ve also enjoyed assembling playlists and figuring out what I’m going to say to the class. The hardest part is definitely getting comfortable with the mic and not sounding like a total dork when I’m coaching.

Have you tried taking a spin class? 

What is your favorite work out song right this very minute? 


You can find out more about #elf4health which is the creation of Lindsay Livingston & Elle Penner.

16 comments:

  1. Love! I've taken a few spinning classes and always am floored by the instructors. It's definitely one of the most challenging workouts (besides pilates) for me!

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    1. I'll be sure to pass along your comment to Gillian! Thanks for commenting!

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    2. Thanks for letting me pop over onto your blog, Sam!

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  2. Very cool!! I have taken spin classes -- they're not something I am doing regularly right now, just because my coach has me doing other things, but they are a blast! Fave song? Still kinda in love with "Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore & Lewis!

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    1. After Gillian's guest spot, I will be looking into a local class! Merry Christmas!

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    2. I love Can't Hold Us! I've played that in class.

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  3. Great post! Thanks for sharing ladies. Sometimes I think about becoming a fitness instructor and this is good motivation!

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    1. Thank you! You can totally do it Katy.

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  4. Great post! I've always wondered how someone goes about being an instructor.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your expertise, Gillian (and for hosting, Sam)! As a personal trainer, I can't imagine how much harder it must be to teach to a group rather than one on one! I would be just like you initially felt - terrified I'd sound like a dork! ;)

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    1. Thanks Carly! And I AM a total dork.

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    2. Thanks, Carly! I can't imagine either of y'all as dorks!

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  6. Thanks for sharing!! I took spin once and loved it! Since then, I've been looking for a gym that provides it. Love how serious you are about your obsession!

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  7. Thank you so much, Anel! Spin is definitely addicting.

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  8. Thanks for sharing! It is so interesting g to find out how people become instructors. I took an early morning spin class back in grad school and I loved it (after the first week - ouch!).

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