Creative Visualization and Imagery, Part 3: Metaphors and Similes

As we described in the last chapter, expanding and varying your language will help your coaching to be more lively and persuasive. Part 2 discussed descriptive word selection and vivid imagery. In this chapter, I will discuss the use of metaphors and similes to add color and personality to your coaching.

Judicious use of vivid metaphors sparks your riders to be more creative and to use their imagination. You grab their attention by inspiring them to tap into their own senses and apply what you are asking them to do in your class. They are an incredibly powerful coaching method and will set you apart from the typical bootcamp-style instructor who only shouts out commands, telling people specifically what to do.  

Imagery – the core of metaphoric language – will surprise, grab, inform, and persuade [your readers] as mere explanation will not. Vivid language will distinguish you from the swarm, will make you heard above the drone, will make you that rare person today: a communicator who gets results. ~ Anne Miller

Even Aristotle says that using metaphors is a sign of genius.

The greatest thing by far is to be the master of metaphor. ~ Aristotle

While we often use outdoor cycling examples in indoor cycling classes, one way to make your usage of metaphors more personal is to relate with another passion in your life. For example, if you love football, hiking, or surfing, or you are passionate about movies or books, use metaphors from these activities to connect with your riders. Maybe you are a parent of young children; this gives you plenty of metaphors for overcoming challenges! All these personal experiences give your riders a glimpse of your life and allows you to be more persuasive.

Below are 52 metaphors and similes to spice up your cueing.



  1. I like using one that I’m pretty sure I got on ICA: if you were saving something for a rainy day, we’re now in the eye of the storm! To be used during a final big push-and I only use it at the very end of class.

  2. Great cues thank yoou.

  3. Great stuff. I use the following one quite a bit especially with tough climbs and intervals:

    “If you say you can’t, You won’t”
    “If you say you can, You Will”

  4. Excellent article. I like the idea of using metaphors of other personal passions as well as the ones relating outdoor cycling.

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