I began my career as a certified Group Fitness Professional in 1999 with the BCRPA and have been teaching group fitness and Indoor Cycling ever since. My passion for fitness and people led me to build my own fitness studio and create resources for fitness professionals to help make teaching easy!
What is the Teaching Tool Box?
The teaching toolbox is where I place all my expensive pieces of paper that say I can do what I do.
In the fitness industry, some people lead with their certifications, but for me, they are tools I use in my day to day profession. My certifications include my education from Langara College and the University of British Columbia in the field of Exercise Science (Kinesiology).
My time at college and university helped me understand the human body in motion and how to train clients and participants efficiently and safely.
In my tool box you will also find a bunch of really cool programs I have taken over the years including Spinning Workshops, Keiser, Power Pacing, and other cycling association certifications. I love to travel for conferences and workshops and learn from fitness professionals who are as passionate as I am about helping people. I am also proud to be associated with the NSCA & IDEA as I find their content educational and beneficial as a professional.
Over the past 18 years, I have also added 35,000 + hours of teaching experience and a lot of hours researching all the subjects that help me grow as a fitness professional. I believe education is important but so is practical experience. Just because you study cycling, doesn't make you a good rider. You have to get out there on the bike and ride your butt off. Same goes for riding, just because someone rides a lot, does not give them the qualifications to teach.
Since 2004, I have been an educator in BC and I have certified over 1000 fitness professionals in Indoor Cycling in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
I personally keep my tool box open so that I can keep an open mind in the fitness industry so I can continue to learn and grow.
Is One Cycling Program Better than Another?
I feel every program out there has something to offer the cycling industry. Is there one that is better than the other, that is tough to say. I feel the Spinning program has done some incredible work bringing road riding skills to the indoor world, but there is a lot to be said for some of the other programs like Keiser and Les Mills.
I prefer to take the good content from each program and create a dynamic ride instead of being pigeon holed into one teaching one program, but that's just me. There is a lot to be said for those who have mastered a program too.
What is My Favourite Spin Bike to Ride?
I love the Johnny G Spinner Pro's by Star Trac. I have tried many bikes over the years and I always go back to my favourite. In my own studio it's bike #17. Yes, that's right, I totally save my bike.
What is the Best Part of Teaching Fitness & Cycling
I love the energy the people bring to class and the friendships that grow out of fitness. It is also the most rewarding career because you are given the gift to help people feel good about themselves and conquer fears they once had.
What is My Hope for the Fitness Industry?
I hope the battle between the avid road cyclist and the group fitness leaders comes to an end. The bashing of each other as professionals really needs to stop. I think both bring important dynamics to an indoor cycling class.
Avid cyclist bring their technique, form, and biomechanics of cycling to a class; and group fitness leaders bring fun, energy, kick butt music, and the art cueing to a class. You need both in a class to keep people coming back. We can learn a lot from each other.
If we want to get the population more active, cycling also needs to be safe, fun, welcoming, and rewarding. When trying something new, I listen to my peer's opinions, research (practical and scholarly), and I give it a try. If we don't stay open, our industry will never be innovative because the bashing puts people off trying new approaches. If I don't agree with something, I simply don't do it. There is no need to be vocal because usually it falls on deaf ears. If you want the industry to improve, show people and invite them to learn.
Together, we make this industry incredible.
My Top 3 Spin Songs?
There are so many to choose from but this week I am going to have to say, "Fuel" by Metallica, "Summer Time Sadness" by Lana Del Ray (Remix), and "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark. Each month I swear I have three more favourites!
My Favourite Cycling Position?
Hands down a big gear sprint for 20-30 seconds. Nothing gets me sweating in a spinning class like a power sprint.
Cycling Bike Set Up, It's More Important than You Think ...
I only teach a class with the bikes in a circle. The circle creates an energy dynamic unlike any other, and cannot be denied. Most people do not want to be in a class with people's butts in each other's faces. They want to look at each other and use that energy. I also prefer a soft lit of cosmic environment because so many people have self image issues, and if we can take away that feeling for 60 minutes, why not? I know personally, in a cosmic environment, I am more focused on the ride and working harder than in a bright cycling environment.
Why Did I Create Cycling Downloads?
I like to share and help people. For years, I shared a lot of my work for free on a Facebook Platform "Indoor Cycling Teaching Ideas" which has more than 15,100 members (as of April 2017) and growing from all over the world. I share drills, teaching ideas, funny photos, and ask questions so we can all interact with each other.
When I first started teaching there was not much out there asides from conferences. The internet isn't as powerful as it was back in those days, heck, I don't even think I had an email in 1999. Today, there is so much great content, but the problem is, it is hard to sift through all the information and everyone wants everything for free, but I believe, people deserve to be paid for their time, so if you find something that is helpful, paying for it is a good thing because that creator can continue to create more resources.
For years I have been asked to create downloads so instructors have it readily available at their fingertips and to be honest, I kept putting it off. I spent so much time worrying about the critics, that I was forgetting about what mattered most - all the amazing cycling instructors that have been part of my community for so many years.
In 2016, I decided it was time and wrote my first ebook and published it online at www.pumpupyourride.com and you get 26 pre-choreographed drills to your finger tips! I wish that was around when I started teaching!
My Favourite Cycling Cue
RIDE IT LIKE YOU STOLE IT!
My Advice for New Cycling Instructors
- Always come to class prepared
- Never compete with your participants
- Have fun teaching!
- Know your drills inside and out before you teach them
- Know your music right down to the beat before you teach a choreographed drill
- Stay open to learning new styles
- Keep the benefit of the drill high and the risk low
- Hover like you are climbing a big hill, not like you are downhill mountain biking
- Create a community within your class!
- Always know your participants by name!
Happy Teaching Everyone! We all have something unique to bring to our classes! No one is better than you, they may have more experience but you can gain experience through education and practical training.
Rachel Seay :)