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Beyond improved fitness, your cycling participants want motivation. Julz Arney shares some tips that will get your classes working harder, riding longer, and returning more often.

As an industry, we are in a new era of indoor cycling. In addition to being knowledgeable fitness professionals and solid instructors with good music playlists, today’s most talked about instructors know how to amplify the energy of the room and deliver an electric and inspiring experience on the bike.

Group fitness workouts continue to evolve based on consumer demand and, without a doubt, consumers want results. The foundation of any class is a well-planned workout that is inclusive, makes sense physiologically and provides training variety. But beyond improved fitness, your participants want motivation. They are looking to you, their fitness leader, for the motivation to work harder, ride longer, and return more often. Savvy instructors have heard this message loud and clear and sharpened their skills in the areas of communication, connection and all around entertainment to become the most popular personalities in the fitness facilities where they instruct.

Here are a few tips you can start using right away to go beyond the basics and take your teaching over the top!

1. Take me on a ride.

At the end of the day, your participants might not remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel. As an instructor, it is up to you to create an experience for your riders beyond the workout. This means going the extra mile to create an environment that is memorable and inspiring.

Try this: Set yourself apart as an instructor by adding intentional and unique elements to your class. For example, get to class early and see if there is a way to adjust the lighting. If you can’t adjust the lights, bring a lamp or flameless candles to control the ambiance of the room.

Teamwork is another great element to add to your ride that creates an interactive, social experience. Before the ride starts, assign teams. Divide the class into small-groups, guys versus gals, the right side of the room versus the left side, or partners. Encourage and prompt the teams to interact with each other by saying things like, ‘Look across the room at the other team and say ‘It’s ON!’’, ‘Secretly choose one of your teammates who looks like they are working hard right now. Match their intensity!’ or ‘Turn to the person next to you and give them a sincere compliment.’ When riders make a connection, they are more likely to return to your class for the experience.

2. Talk to me, baby.

A great communicator knows how to use their voice to inspire and motivate a room. It is an indoor cycling instructor’s job to clearly communicate the objectives of the workout and coach the riders through the work.

Try this: Encourage your participants to work harder by having them concentrate on something other than the exercise they are doing. Visualisation and imagery are great ways to guide and motivate your participants. For example, tell your class that they are in a race and to visualise the riders ahead of them that they have to pass. Or describe in great detail the hill they are climbing and how this stage of work should feel.

Communication is more than what you say. Use your voice and body language to connect with your class and create a more powerful presence. Vary the tone, volume, and speed of your words to engage your riders. Use hand gestures such as holding up the number of seconds left on your fingers, pointing to individual riders while you give them words of praise or encouragement, and reaching your arms wide to fill and energise the room.

3. Pump me up!

No matter what you play or say in your class, your participants just want to have fun! Have you ever been to a party at which you’ve enjoyed the company so much, you lost track of the time? Make the time in your class fly by with a ride that feels like an all-nighter! Your students will return week after week just for the entertainment.

Try this: Spread your energy around the room and connect with participants by getting off of the bike and walking or running up and down the rows. While you are on the floor, make eye contact with the riders, ask individual riders a question, or give out high-fives and fist bumps as you move through the crowd.

Another way to liven up your classes is with pre-answered questions. Set your riders up by saying, ‘There is only one answer to this question and that answer is, yes! Now, are you ready to climb this hill with me?’ Try inserting a well-known song into your next playlist and conduct a ‘sing off’ between teams each time the chorus comes around. The ride time will fly by and the fun quotient of your class will rise exponentially.

Overall, teaching an inspiring class is more than the music or the exercises you choose, it is how you make the members feel that determines your success as an instructor.

Julz Arney
A group fitness instructor with 23 years’ industry experience, Julz has been honoured as Instructor of the Year by CanFitPro and recognised as one of the world’s top three instructors by IDEA. She is the education programs director and lead Master Trainer for Schwinn® Cycling in North America, a master trainer for Indo-Row™, SHOCKWAVE, BOSU®, and Gatorade. A yoga devotee and running addict, she is also a social media and marketing consultant to fitness brands and an author for industry publications.


Julz will be sharing her joyful passion for fitness – and life! – at FILEX 2014. Join her to gain some amazing instructor tips and reinvigorate your teaching:

  • Schwinn Cycling®: It’s all in your head • A1R
  • The EX games (with Amy Dixon) • A2L
  • Schwinn Cycling®: Music to the max • A4Q
  • BOSU® Strong + Stretched (with Amy Dixon) • B1W
  • ShockWave – the most efficient total body workout in the world (team teach) • B2M
  • BOSU® double up, double down (with Greg Sellar) • B3N
  • Schwinn Cycling®: rock stars, preachers and party people (with Amy Dixon) • B5I
  • BOSU® 3D XTREME (with Greg Sellar & Amy Dixon) • C2N
  • PLUS 1-day Pre-Convention workshop: Schwinn Cycling® Instructor Certification

For more information on Julz’ sessions check out where you can also register for the convention or the all-inclusive Gold Pass packages that include access to the essential Business or PT Business summits and breakfast events.

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