I thought I was going to update you on the story that I have described here and the dilemma I faced as an instructor. It’s about that gentleman that insists on riding every single class out of the saddle. Full 45min. Only gets off maybe once to refill his bottle.
I would only see him once every few weeks as I was sharing this class with another instructor so it really almost felt like a cover class. Which links well with yesterday’s post which you can read here.
Long story short: the guy is over 50, has had blood pressure and weight problems. The only class he likes is spin but he doesn’t want to sit even for a second as it hurts his bottom hence from warm up to cool down he would be standing. I could accept it if his technique was good but it was really bad: straight elbows, straight knees, not much resistance. As a result he was not achieving his goal which was cardiovascular workout as he wasn’t even getting breathless.
He wouldn’t accept my advice so against all my professional instincts I simply ignored him. I stopped correcting him. I focused on the rest of the group.
Then today was my last class at that place. The gym was empty – only two people on the floor. 5 people taking Bodypump class. Then when I got into the studio to set up, it tuned out it was only me and the aforementioned gentleman.
I had to revert to plan B: there was no point trying to do any speed work or intervals so the only choice was hills. I also moved my bike next to him so he had a mirror on the left and me on the right. I didn’t bother with the mike and turned the music a bit down too.
Now 1:1 class has happened to me before and it’s a great chance to put that person through their paces but it wouldn’t work here so I suggested something else: “How would you feel if we did 2 songs on the bike and then to give your legs a break we would do some core work on the floor?” He agreed. Yes!
I won’t walk you through the class step by step but I hope it was an eye opener for him. I was on the bike next to him doing what I was asking him to do and huffing and puffing with my legs getting heavy but his breathing was stable. I was gently trying to coach him and motivate him to add resistance but after years of “switching off” in classes and just doing between 55-60RPM on little resistance regardless of the music, it wasn’t going to change.
But! When I got him to do some planks, Russian twists, screen wipers etc on the floor, boy did that HR change! It looked like getting on the bike was to get some rest…
The 45min flew by and he enjoyed it. He worked up some serious sweat and his breathing finally was challenged. It’s a shame there isn’t a mixed class like that on a timetable.
It also proves that people sometimes think: cycling is a cardiovascular exercise so if I get on that bike REGARDLESS of what I do and how fast I pedal and where my resistance is, it’s a CV workout. If only they listened, switched on for once and tried something different to get that penny dropping moment.
The message will not get across when you talk to them though, they have to be willing to do the work your way to FEEL and EXPERIENCE the difference.