By Barbara Hoots, Star 3 Instructor and Spinning® Studio Designer

Have you ever met someone and liked them instantly? You can’t explain why, but you immediately felt an emotional bond, a genuine and wholesome feeling of fondness and respect towards this person. In a job interview, you are more likely to be hired if the interviewer connects with you as a person. In a business situation, you are more likely to get your foot in the door and seal the deal if the client connects with you as a person. As a Spinning® instructor, you are more likely to have riders follow you and never dream of skipping a class if they connect with you on a personal level.

Even though your technical skills may be outstanding, it may be time to develop some love-ability skills! The qualities of a lovable instructor can actually be cultivated with these five simple tips:


Awareness is the most important skill a Spinning instructor can master. When surveyed, most riders who quit any exercise class quit for reasons that have nothing do to with their physical limitations or the instructor’s competence. Riders leave over the little stuff, like the room is too hot or too cold, the music is too loud or not loud enough, the music is offensive, the instructor has an ego, etc. Awareness will teach you how to anticipate stumbling blocks and make your class an experience all riders will enjoy.

Personal awareness and insight comes by first getting to know the little quirks of your studio, as well as the quirks of your riders. Match the two whenever possible. Also every facility has “hot” spots where air flow is minimal, “loud” spots near the speakers and “dark spots” where a new rider may feel more secure. When riders arrive, make quick mental notes and follow through with sincere, genuine suggestions to make their ride exceptional. For example: If you notice an older woman has selected a bike in an area of the room where air gets stale, kindly suggest a bike near the fan.  If you know there is a rider in your class going through a tough emotional period, don’t play songs that bring up painful memories. Increasing your awareness skills can decrease the reasons riders disappear. A happy rider is a returning rider.

Keep it clean and keep it working

Are you guilty of leaving the empty water bottles, paper, gum wrappers, and broken pedal straps for someone else to throw away? Nothing says you don’t care like a cluttered studio. Your cycling room should be a special place to disappear from the world and not a place for storing used gym equipment or empty coffee cups. What about those nagging repairs that never seem to get fixed, like a mic that continues to short out or a speaker that rattles? Gym owners are notorious about putting off repairs, so offer to lend a hand and you’ll gain the reputation as the instructor who “gets things done.” Your class will notice the difference and love you for it!

Remembering names

Personally, I’m always impressed when someone I’ve just met remembers my name and uses it in a sentence. It certainly gets your attention and makes you feel respected, filling a natural desire for attention and love. If remembering names is not your strength, try my nifty little trick that really works!  Make a ‘seating chart’ and jot down the name of each rider along with a brief physical description in the area where they usually ride. Review the list before each class and greet riders using their first name as often as possible.


Make gratitude your business. It’s a winning way to let riders know how much you appreciate them. In the words of Rousseau, “What wisdom can you give that is greater than being kind or thankful?” Often we’re forgetful, self-consumed, or just too busy to put thank you into words or actions. Don’t miss the chance to express gratitude to your riders; it will lead you to a deeper sense of happiness and yes, riders will adore you.

Spice it up

Face it, even the most loyal riders occasionally get bored with your class. Create a monthly “surprise ride,” which can be anything from a Prince vs. Michael Jackson duel, to a journey back to Woodstock.   Build anticipation and hype up the rides with snazzy posters. Distribute free guest passes and encourage riders to bring their friends.

Positive thoughts and actions create positive energy. When you think higher thoughts such as kindness, generosity and compassion, your energy is stronger and riders will flock to your classes. Alternatively, negative thoughts weaken energy and class attendance drops. The Law of Attraction states, “Like attracts like.”

Who are you attracting? Reignite your passion with positive energy and your riders will fall in love with you…again…..and again…and again!


  • Marie

    Good article! I took over a class from a popular instructor. At my second class I had a problem with a cracked iPod cable on the studios sound system. No music. Everyone hung in there as I coached the class without music. However only 2 folks came back after that ridiculous incident. What did this teach me? Be prepared. I now carry a iPod cable, a great playlist on CD and a portable Bluetooth speaker. You never know. Now I have to convince those folks to come back.

    Posted On 24/01/2015

    • Marilyn

      I don’t think it was your lack of music.

      It always stinks when taking over from a popular instructor. People get attached to instructors and how they teach. Give it time and do a good job. They will come back. I just took over a kickboxing class from a popular instructor. There have been weeks when two people who always are in class are the only people there. I invited my own clients. I invited other gym members. I am positive and enthusiastic with new comers. My numbers, after a few months are beginning to exceed the popular instructor’s.

      Posted On 05/02/2015

      • Marie

        Thanks for the support Marilyn! I’m starting to get them back gradually. I have a personal trainer and his wife who are inviting clients in to class and it’s starting to fill up! 🙂

        Posted On 12/02/2015

  • Fritz

    Hi Barb,
    that is absolutely true what you say.
    Our club is well known in our city, with 8000 members. we have 40 bikes nxt since 5 years in a not to good condition. I started a complete repair ans service program for all bikes in different steps to shape ist up.

    Since some days compliments are coming instead of crtizing eveything. It is wonderful to hear this. I was sucked up to hear always after a super emotional or exhausting ride, that things are since weeks not repaired or saddle is not fixed or broken, etc. Participants come to me and say thanks. It is not my profession to repair but it make fun to see the difference. Thx for your statement, perfectly precise.

    Posted On 26/01/2015

  • Dario Endozo

    I had experience when the sound system just shut down and I couldn’t make it work. We were already into the 3 rd song and just starting an interval when it shut down. I asked if it’s ok if I continue the class without music and only 2 people walked out. So what I did is I explained to them that we are going to do a virtual ride. I am a triathlete so I’m familiar with the roads in our town. I asked them to close their eyes and just follow my lead. I took them to all familiar places and landmarks and once in a while I tell them to watch out for the bus coming from behind or let’s pass a group of cyclists ahead. They thanked me after the class and got a lot of positive feedback from the experience.

    Posted On 09/02/2015

  • Kirstie Price

    also knowing who in your class are: road cyclists (outside), mountain bikers and exercise/spinning enthusiasts, then explaining how a drill is effective and why for each type. Oh yeah — and AWESOME music. All genres. make them sing and have fun.

    Posted On 10/02/2015

  • George Tragiou

    My clients like to be pushed and pushed hard. Newbies appreciate me giving them modified rides on-the-fly. I also change up the music with a little bit of everything. (OK, minimal country and no rap) that’s just me. Also, a little levity goes a long way. Keep’em focused, smiling, and SWEATY !

    Posted On 01/04/2015

  • Janel rose

    This is great I just am looking through these articles and love this community! I am new to teaching and find it hard for me to find playlists that are timed at an hour including a cool down… I tend to have an older demographic I’m reaching to so hip hop or pop or dub step lol won’t cut it
    I’m on spotty and have made a few lists but,, I’m wondering if anyone can suggest or share playlists that are ready to go .. 45- 60 minute rides warm up track and cool down included .. So I can just play…
    But really try to take my riders on a journey .. Not play what is popular in the radio ect
    As you know making playlist is time consuming and right now with school and kids n work im overwhelmed! Just got another job starting and I really need help with music .. I appreciate any suggestions and can’t wait to hit up Miami next conference! Wow that looks so amazing! Who’s all going?? 😉

    Posted On 25/07/2015

    • Kelly Hardin

      Hi Janel:

      I download my tracks from PowerMusic. They offer a feature called “Clickmix”, which gives you the opportunity to select a single song, select BPM (to set your RPMs is needed and helpful if you don’t have a computer on the bikes) and once you create your playlist, the songs are fused together and you download them into iTunes. 🙂 They also offer a large genre music.

      Hope that helps 🙂

      Posted On 27/08/2015

  • Robin

    Great article! I am having an all AC/DC ride tomorrow! I have been promoting it as the “Highway to Hell Ride”, lol. My regulars can’t wait!

    Posted On 28/08/2015

    • David Shelmerdine

      hard rock is the best for spinning.gets your blood going and makes you want to fly.

      Posted On 23/10/2015

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