Toby has been a Spin instructor since 2001, he teaches 9 classes a week and you can find him at both Totton Health and Leisure and Applemore Health and Leisure. He also combines this with his full time job here in the offices at Appletree Court. Here he shares some insights in to the life of a group fitness instructor.
Toby at the New Forest Show 2017
Why we love our jobs so much
- It feels great that you can have a really positive effect of someone’s day
- It’s a great feeling when you see or hear that participants have achieved great things in your classes and in some cases they have totally transformed their lives and become happier and healthier as a result
- When we receive great feedback it encourages us to give more back and to keep pushing the boundaries a little bit further.
- It’s great to share a class/ride that I’m passionate about with others. Hopefully that comes through within the classes.
- I get to listen and play music that inspires me, an inspired instructor will inspire their participants. I feel like a DJ.
- Teaching is a hobby that I’m fortunate enough to get paid for. But in all honesty instructors should love to teach and inspire. For me it’s not about the payslip.
- I try and take people to places that they were not expecting or didn’t expect to go within a class. When participants go to that deep and dark place and they are really working hard and you can see it you’ve totally got my respect. But I’m aware that for many it’s not about that and I’m totally cool with that.
Toby at the Stages indoor cycling award ceremony
What you may not know
Many people may just think that the instructor rocks up, pops in CD or set the iPod on shuffle and off we go, but it’s not that simple.
Each class has its very own playlist that has been painstakingly put together to fit the theme that is being delivered. Music is sourced and downloaded and then put together to create the class profile. This process is fairly involved; I’d say a new class from scratch could take up to 2 hours to create.
Those instructors who teach Les Mills spend an awful lot of time preparing for the new release. It takes hours and hours of revising and practicing the new choreography ready for the launch and they are doing this in their own time. It’s the passion and dedication of our Les Mills instructors that drive them to make sure your new releases are perfect come launch date. It’s hard enough remembering 1 release but many of our team have to learn 2 or 3 and that adds up to days of preparation. Teaching in spin in comparison is much easier.
Feedback is appreciated after a class whether it’s good or bad. The best feedback I ever received was pretty hard to take but it was the defining moment that I look back on that I believe made me a better instructor. If you come to a class and enjoyed it then just let the instructor know that. Without feedback we can’t improve. Even I quick thumbs up at the end of the session is enough.
I’ll try and be the first person to arrive in the studio and the last person to leave to ensure that new users can be set up correctly prior to the session commencing and I’ll always be on hand to answer questions after the session. Instructors only get paid for the 45 mins or the 55 mins that they are actually teaching.
At his limit directly after an functional threshold power test on a spin bike
When the instructor commences the class please don’t carry on the conversation with the person next to you. It’s not the instructor who’ll be most annoyed but most likely the person next to you who’s trying to get into the zone. You wouldn’t go to the cinema or theatre and talk through the first act or scene.
As an instructor, when you’ve spent hours creating a new profile for then to see 40% of the class cancel a few hours before is quite frustrating. There is nothing better than teaching a full class that is packed with energy.
We may have had a bad day at work, we may not be feeling 100% within ourselves when we turn up to teach but very rarely do instructors bail out. We will push on through as instructors have that inner belief that they don’t want to let people down.
We all know you have your favourite instructors but sometimes things happen and they can’t be there every week; of course we do also allow them the occasional holiday. If the cover instructor isn’t your favourite please don’t make it obvious. Don’t forget that they’ve probably given up an evening with the family to ensure that you still get a class.
Best moment in teaching
Staring in our Big Spin Facebook campaign 2016
My ultimate teaching highlight has to be the Big Spin 2016. It was simply awesome to see close to 250 people all spinning at the same time and knowing we were raising money that would make a huge difference to so many people was incredible. I am looking forward to the next one. It’s also those little moments when someone comes up to you at the end of the class and simply says thank you. That’s enough to keep me going till the next week.