The idea to become a spin instructor was first put in my head over a year ago when I was routinely taking spin classes at my work gym and the instructor suggested to me that I should get certified through Mad Dogg Athletics. Which people need to realize that comments like this resonate with me. So be careful when you put ideas in my head, I have this tendency to follow through with them over time. Regardless, I got injured not long after this was suggested to me so the idea went straight to the back burner. Fast forward to October 2013 when this really awesome thing called a Government shutdown happened. At this time I was at about 80% of recovery. I could cycle and swim to my hearts desire, but was not fully back into running. So, during this 3-week “vacation” I literally just watched Sons of Anarchy and worked out.
I can certainly thank Congress for helping me drop about 3 pounds, but the stress of not knowing whether or not I will be paid or go to work again was certainly not appreciated. Anyway, during this work hiatus I realized that I should get back on board with this whole spin instructor business. I needed a side hustle. I now understand why a lot of the people I work with do this. I was also becoming too complacent at work. Don’t get me wrong I love my engineering job but I need an outlet, another purpose, otherwise I would go insane. Why not get paid to do one of my favorite things?
In order to be a certified instructor I needed to complete three things: 1) Spin Instructor Training Course 2) first aid/CPR/AED Certification 3) Instructor Certification from an accredited fitness association ( NASM, ACSM, NCSA, AFAA , ACE, etc.)
Spin Instructor Training Course: Through Mad Dogg Athletics I attended a Spinning Instructor Workshop in December 2013. It cost me $325 and is valid for 2 years. This was an 8-hour “course” which included 2 rides and some classroom style sessions to go over heart rate monitoring, bike safety, ride profiles, etc. You also need to take an exam online within 6 months of attending the workshop. Well worth the cost to get certified in my opinion. It was a great experience overall.
First Aid/CPR/AED Certification: I did this in November 2013 through American Red Cross, it cost about $70 and is valid for 2 years. I honestly recommend that everyone take a course at least once in their life.
Fitness Association Certification: Ok, so this was probably the most difficult part. First of all, deciding which institution was a feat in itself. These certifications can get pretty pricey, and I was also looking for the most convenient. It ultimately came down to ACE or AFAA since they both offered online options, which was what I wanted at the time. ACE seemed to be most well-known but it was also the more expensive option so I ultimately chose AFAA. The unique thing about their group fitness certification is on top of a written test they also require you to complete a practical exam where you physically demonstrate a warm-up, cool-down and exercise of your choice with 3 different modifications. Not gonna lie, I took my time with this. Potentially too much time but life got busy and finding time to study was difficult. I buckled down in May and passed the written and practical exams with flying colors. I will say for future certification I will definitely opt for the one day workshop.
Now it was time for things to get real and start job searching. I asked one of my fellow instructors for some tips and she mentioned that acting as a sub at the gym may help me get in somewhere. After a few days of Craigslist searching I found an opening at a studio called Stroga. They asked me to come in and teach a class (my first one, mind you) to get a feel for the studio and also see if I was a good fit. I was nervous at first but within 5-10 minutes of class I fell into my groove, and it was just like taking a normal class, except with me in charge. Now I am picking up classes whenever I am able with hopes of getting a permanent time/position. It is hard to describe how much joy I get from making new playlists and routines, so just take my word for it. I am excited for this new journey and hope to share more as I grow as an instructor.