Instructing with No Voice

Not until recently have I instructed while off the bike.  This was not out of desire, but necessity. I personally enjoy instructors who cycle with the class. I  personally do not require one on one attention, but others may like a personal touch in their class.

For an entire week I taught all classes on the studio floor due to a lingering cold and sore throat. I could not ride and speak, so I felt the verbal cues would be the best bet at a successful class. Heavily medicated I relied on lower music volume, tea with honey and a copious amount of lozenges to get me through tougher days. Fortunately – or unfortunately – a snow storm caused my gym to cancel classes early one morning where I had two classes scheduled. Good for my vocal cords, not ideal for the paycheck.

Since I create new playlists weekly, I do not stray too far from my iPad where I reference song length to ensure I am cuing at the correct times. While I may recycle a few songs in class, I am not Rainman and cannot commit 35-40 mins of new music to memory each week.  My “students” have complimented the music selection and variations, keeping each experience feeling new and challenging.

Hoffman and Cruise at their finest.

After a few days off the bike I noticed a few things. First, it felt amazing to allow my legs extra time to rest. I haven’t had two consecutive days off the bike since early January. Second, I missed riding with the class. I felt like I was cheating. If I’m asking a room full of people to push to their limits, I feel like I should partake in some of the suffering. Riding also allows me to tweak class structure, mainly if it is too easy. After just six classes in four days, I became comfortable with the more leisurely teaching style rather quickly. I did notice however that my legs were itching to get back on the bike and train.

With nine permanent classes each week and always on the lookout for more teaching from the floor is a necessary skill to allow myself to save my legs. Plus I want to have some lengthy, challenging outdoor rides this year. The ability to mix time on the floor and on the bike I hope will provide a more rounded experience for my riders.

With 95 classes under my belt – as of this morning – over the past three months I feel like I have expedited my abilities finding my style and ‘voice’, but  realize I still have a ton to learn in regards to class creation and motivation. I am certainly looking forward to my progression and see my students reach their goals!

Oh! One last thing that I learned. I need a mic. That would help save my voice.

Definitely need a mic. No matter what state the vocal cords are in…

Any tips, comments, suggestions or words of encouragement?! Please share! Would love to hear from you all!

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