Unleashing the Power of “Why” in Indoor Cycling: A Simon Sinek Perspective

If you haven’t seen Simon Sinek’s TED Talk yet, it’s a must-watch – the third most-viewed TED Talk ever with over 60 million views on the TED Talk website and 10 million on YouTube. Despite its focus on businesses and social movements, the insights from the talk are highly relevant to what we do in the indoor cycling studio or as a personal trainer or studio owner.

Sinek’s central message, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it,” holds profound implications for those of us in the fitness industry. This principle encourages us to reflect on our motivations and infuse our teaching with a deeper purpose.

Those who’ve known me for a while may be familiar with my “How Big Is Your Why” ride, a journey aimed at helping riders discover their compelling reasons for wanting to achieve a goal. It is a ride that guides them to peel back the layers of motivation, transitioning from the what to the why underlying their deepest aspiration. The aim is to ignite a heightened sense of commitment to their goals with you as their guide, thereby fostering a more dedicated attendance to your classes.

It’s time for instructors to turn the lens inward and ask these questions of themselves. Why do we spend so much time crafting profiles and playlists, often late into the night, possibly even foregoing time with family? Why the early mornings, late evenings, and extensive travel for classes? Why invest in music, continuous improvement, and ongoing education through conferences and workshops? 

It’s a safe bet that for most instructors, the driving force is not merely financial gain.

Always remember, you’re continually selling not just your class but also yourself. If the goal is to attract more riders and foster a loyal community, effective promotion becomes paramount. Let’s examine how Sinek’s message can revolutionize the way you discuss your cycling classes. How do you describe your passion to your existing class, inspiring them to be loyal and increase their attendance? How do you articulate your “why” to prospective riders, compelling them to choose your classes? 

Consider how you talk about your class. Are you boasting about what you do—being the best DJ, having the toughest class, burning the most calories, showcasing technical prowess, or delivering the most fun?

Now, reimagine these descriptors to incorporate the “why” behind what you do.

Asking these questions is not just a self-evaluation; it’s a pathway to fostering a more meaningful connection with your participants.

In our fitness classes, instructors aligning their purpose with Sinek’s philosophy forge an authentic bond with their riders. Understanding that people seek more than just a workout—they seek a purposeful experience—instructors can elevate their classes beyond mere physical activity to become transformative journeys that resonate on a deeper level. Embracing the “why” not only enriches the instructor’s experience but also cultivates a community of committed riders who share in the same mission-driven journey.

How about me and my Why here at the Indoor Cycling Association? My ultimate goal is to ignite passion within instructors, leading them to uncover their mission and turn around and inspire their riders to greatness. 

Enjoy this TED Talk by Simon Sinek. (Remember, it’s from 2009, so the tech he refers to sounds like it’s from the ice ages! But, his message will always ring true.) Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. Amen! Had not seen this…so true on so many levels, including spin. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Why Spin and why lead others in Spinning? For the freedom and empowerment that being fit gives (not to mention the happy mind & body, too). I want to be fit to participate in any adventure that comes my way and Spinning is the vehicle that gets me there.

  3. My WHY is because I want people to love spinning like I love spinning.

  4. Very powerful. It is the WHY, why we teach. It is the passion you feel helping students reach their goals.

  5. Thanks for posting this. Just loved listening to him talk about something so inspiring to everyone. It definitely related to what we do as instructors. I believe I can inspire my classes to want to come back for themselves because they will know why I do what I do.
    I will be thinking about this as I go in to teach from now on. Kathy

  6. I am so glad you shared this video with us and posed the questions that you did. I do what I do because of the great feeling I get when all the work comes together in a class and the participants do what you ask them to do not because they have to but because they want to. I believe that people’s lives can be changed and improved upon by exercise and our society as a whole can benefit by the improved health and fitness of it’s members. When things get tough and challenging I will remember the “Why”, tell people what I believe and why am I am leading group fitness classes. Thank you

  7. I had watch this before !! yes it i get talk and makes a lot of sense

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