I just may re-tell this story every year, so be warned.
It’s my spinning anniversary! Well, not exactly. I took my spinning certification class on August 1, 2009. However I did not get my first class until September or October (I can’t remember).
I love to re-tell the story of my first class.
I had been hired by my gym as a sub, meaning that I was able to sub any open classes but didn’t have a class of my own. Not a bad gig but of course most instructors strive to have their own class.
I had gotten word from a fellow instructor of a class opening; Saturdays at 10am. I reached out to the group exercise coordinator at the time and expressed interest. She (somewhat) nicely said something along the lines of “thank you, but we’d prefer to give it to someone with experience”. That comment pissed me off, but really, what else could I do? I restated my interest and went on my way.
Sometime later I received a call telling me that the class was mine. Apparently none of the tenured instructors had any interest. I was also given some background on the class:
While the schedule showed a 9a and a 10a, the same instructor taught both and he taught them as one, going straight from 9a-10:45a. Management didn’t like this because it deterred people from coming at 10a. Who wants to walk in to a class that is clearly already mid-class? They felt that by having a different instructor teaching the 10a, the members would have more of a choice.
I was pretty excited. I had my own class. I could already visualize the full class, the sweating, the yelling, the excitement.
Too bad my visualization was nothing like the reality.
On the first day, I walked in after the 9a had ended to a room full of sweaty people wrapping up. The 9a instructor gave me some dirty looks and was a bit rude to me. Didn’t deter me though, I was still amped up. The 9a folks left and I waited for the 10a crew. Too bad there wasn’t a 10a crew. I might have had 5 people, a few of whom were friends of mine.
I taught very small classes for a few weeks (maybe months) and then the marketing side of my brain started thinking. No one knew who I was and I had to fix that. I had to market myself. I started looking for sub opportunities in that gym during other weekend time slots. I’d teach a class and then promote my class. While it was slow, that method worked.
I kept subbing and teaching and slowly but surely the class started to grow. I believe one of the best things I did was sub the 9a class. By doing that I was able to introduce myself to the regulars and encourage them to get some extra sleep and come in at 10. 🙂
Fast forward two years. My class is rocking and the 9a is a bit desolate. Quite a few of his regulars moved over to me. This past May they actually got rid of the 9a class due to poor attendance. Oh how the times have changed.
My class is now one of maybe 3 that requires a sign-up sheet. I LOVE it!
It’s great to have members that come back each week, but it’s not something I take for granted. I know that to keep it that way I have to change things up and keep them interested. I work hard on my music and love to throw in theme rides when I can. I also bring my A Game to every class and expect them to do the same.
In the past three years I’ve taught many classes (at one point teaching 5/week) but the Saturday 10a class is my favorite. It’s the class I took from nothing to something and for that reason it will always hold a special place in my heart.
Moral of the story: persevere!