Inner Monologue of a Spinning Instructor

By: Kishan Shah, Duke ’14

Over the summer, I encountered on Thought Catalog, a hysterically accurate account of the struggles and triumphs of indoor cyclists. From Soul Cycle Junkies to Fly Wheel Fanatics, this little piece is amazing, and I would read it basically every day this summer before I headed off to spin just for a little pre-workout laugh.

And then, after months of climbs, sprints out of the saddle, and push-ups on the bike, I decided I wanted to teach spinning. Fast-forward to today, where I teach two spin classes a week here at Wilson Gym. After being on both sides of the bike, I thought it would be fun to give you the reverse: The Inner Monologue of a Spin Instructor, starting from where I usually begin my gearing up process for teaching: making a playlist.

Ugh there’s like NO good music out there anymore. Like the iTunes top 100 has been the same for the past 200 years. Should I just use an old playlist? NO! That’s so boring. People won’t come for repetitive playlists, and I want classes filled. Start picking songs and choreographing. Okay jump to this, sprints out of the saddle to that, maybe a little active recovery song (God knows I’ll need it as much as everyone else). Shit, 30 minutes ‘til class. Okay playlist finalized. Wait I barely know these songs I have to write down the EXACT second when we start and stop sprinting so I look super coordinated to the music. *Scribble scribble scribble all over cue sheet barely legible numbers* All right, ready to roll.

Get to the gym with 15 minutes ‘til we start and there’s literally TEN PEOPLE SITTING OUTSIDE THE ROOM. Jesus people, I understand you want to spin but really is this necessary? Oh god, that REALLY fit girl is in the class. All I wanted to do was pretend like I was fast, now I ACTUALLY have to work out too. This sucks. Stop, this will be fun, you get to listen to music YOU like and YOU picked AND you get to yell at people. Nothing better than that combo.  Okay get your bike set up, grab water, get your shoes on, adjust the bike. Grab the mic. Oh my God there must be INFINITE germs crawling on this thing from all the sweaty instructors that scream into it (I’m the number one culprit).

Sweet warm up music is pumping and people are setting up bikes, gonna be full today probably. 3 minutes till class starts: 5 bikes left. Aaaaaand of course a group of 10 girls roll in. “Well she’s saving bike 10 for me and I’m saving bike 4 for her so like sorry there’s only three available.” I am not equipped to deal with this. Like go have a catfight about it and leave me out of it. Seriously. I don’t care. I’m just trying to teach. One bike left, literally thirty seconds from start time…. “Hey I’ve never spun before and like I was wondering if you could help me set my bike up.” Oh OF COURSE, let me just delay the ENTIRE class for you princess. Okay are you good now? Let’s get this going.

Warm up starts and I’m giving the “relax, have fun, work hard” spiel when all I want to do is blast the music and yell in people’s faces making them go faster. Warm up lasts a LIFETIME. I have to talk so much while simultaneously making sure I’m nice and loose and surveying the class to see if anyone is going to kick my ass on the bike. Fit girl, I’m in no mood to compete with you today, but I look like a shitty teacher if I don’t. So bring it on. First set of sprints? Let’s go baby. Legs are flying and I’m crushing it. Wait I should be watching everyone else. Dang these people are actually fast. Wait, WHAT is that girl doing. I said put 3 turns on….there’s no way she even has half a gear. Whatever, don’t blame me when you feel like you “didn’t get a workout today.” Okay sprints out of the saddle. Time to get serious. Two turns up and my legs are super heavy.

Wait WHY is this song on the playlist. I HATE this song. This is potentially the worst song I’ve ever played in spin. Shameful. No one will ever come again. Okay phew, it’s over, crisis averted. Oh God, here comes the hill. All right, everyone’s gonna hate me when I tell them to turn it way up and climb, and I secretly feed off the hatred. I’m pumping everyone up, telling them to battle up the hill while my legs are getting heavier. TURN IT UP ANOTHER GEAR. I reach down and mimic the motion. I’m sorry but screaming into the mic, coordinating, and watching everyone else requires a lot of work so that extra turn just isn’t going to work for me, but YOU need it. All right here come tap backs. Okay just tap your tail bone to the back of the saddle people it isn’t THAT hard. Jesus, what are these people doing. They are flailing. We gotta reel it back in. Just turn up the music and tell people to keep sweating and pumping their legs.

Okay how many more songs till we recover. I’m dying here and I’m huffing and puffing in the mic for EVERYONE to hear. Phew three more. Wait. Oh my God. TIMBER. TIMBER IS ON. I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS. PEOPLE ARE SINGING. I AM THE GOD OF MUSIC. HALLELUJAH. LOOK HOW FAST THEY’RE GOING. I’M INVINCIBLE. SIX PACKS. ENDORPHINS. ALL GOOD THINGS.

Spinning is the greatest activity known to man. I should make this my career. Open up spin studios everywhere and bring the magic to other people. Am I drunk off exercise? Wait, but that was the best song…now I have two more songs and nothing to look forward to. All down hill from here. Okay last song is here, better make my legs go as fast as they can to make sure people know I’m not tired even though I’m basically dead. Last sprint, holy shit, okay GOOOOOOOOOOO. Are my legs even still attached to my body? Who am I? I’M FLYING.

I’m cooling down, the music is quiet. Whoa. That was totally out of body. I love spinning. My following is smiling. So satisfying. “Great class.” Duh, did you hear that music? Did you HEAR my motivational phrases!? Okay I feel like I just got out of the shower. Drenched. Gotta get out of here. Back to Perkins. Back to reality.

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