Instructors: Different Styles But Unified Approach

Today I received an e-mail from Shayne down in Australia who sent me an example of his club’s Group Fitness Class Conduct Guide for Spinning. It gave me an idea to ask you all to submit your facility’s instructor guidelines (if you are authorized to do so) or a sample of what it contains. Or, if you don’t have one, let me know in the comments what you wish your club/studio would do to keep your team teaching similar approaches, while still encouraging different styles. (E-mail your guidelines to

Next week, I’ll post these samples along with Shayne’s, so you can use them as templates to create your own or ask your group fitness director to create one.

Different group fitness directors have different ways of managing their instructors. Sometimes they are passionate about Spinning/indoor cycling, and sometimes it’s obvious they don’t care what goes on in the cycling studio, or occasionally (and unfortunately), he or she advocates techniques that are obviously not safe or effective on a bike—but may possibly fill the saddles (at least in the short term). Sometimes policy is driven from above by a corporate office or manager, sometimes it’s the GXD who takes control and does a wonderful job of staying in touch with and creating a community among the instructors, and sometimes, well, there’s really no management of instructors at all and they are left to their own devices and decisions.

Personally I believe that members benefit when there is synchronicity across all instructors: the same terminology is used, the same HR and RPE charts are used, the same power descriptions are used. Also, the same processes and rules are followed. But that doesn’t mean the same profiles, delivery, or music has to be used—that’s what makes indoor cycling so exciting and appealing to so many people! You can have very different styles of teaching but still have a unified approach and keep it real, keep it fun, and keep it safe.

Ten to fourteen years ago I ran the Spinning® program at the Aria Spa and Club at the Vail Cascade Resort. As a master instructor for Mad Dogg Athletics and Spinning®, and as a licensed Spinning® facility, I made sure we all were teaching from the same playbook. I wrote the post below two years ago here on ICA, but am reposting it now to show you what I required of my instructors when I ran the program. You’ll see that even though we had these rules, I still wanted them to develop their own style.

(Originally posted June 2012)

What Does Being an Instructor at Your Club Require?

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