#deanslife · cycling · fitness

Sam passes the test! Phew!

In October I took a day long course at the University of Guelph as part of the process of becoming an indoor cycling instructor.

“The University of Guelph has developed its own Group Cycle Certification course. The principles of conditioning will be applied by incorporating details around set-up, class format, applied anatomy and kinesiology. Learn the do’s and don’ts, precautions of cycling and the basics to coaching participants through this type of workout. Certification includes a written exam and a practical assessment to be booked for a later date.”

It was a fun day that ended in each of us taking turns leading the class in a workout, a one song drill, that applied one of the techniques we’d been learning about.

What else to tell you about it? It was a mix of small group instruction in a seminar room and practical instruction on the bikes. We learned some stuff and then sat in on an indoor cycling class to see the theory in action and hear the instructor cue the class in the ways we’d just learned about. We also learned some exercise theory, some things specific to indoor cycling, and practical things about the bikes. I wasn’t even the oldest person in the class and the instructor wasn’t a twenty-something either. (Not that age matters but I was feeling a bit sensitive about the whole thing.)

Oh, we also learned that we couldn’t ever call indoor cycling “spinning.” It turns out that Johnny G has that term trade-marked. “Mad Dogg chases down countless companies, demanding they instead replace “spin” with the term “indoor cycling.” Somehow, “spin” does not fall under the same guideline as “Pilates,” “yoga,” and “karate,” which, according to an October 2000 Manhattan federal court decision, are considered exercise methods and cannot be trademarked. “

I did my section to this song, Pink’s Raise Your Glass. My drill included fast, flat road spinning, go fast intervals with time for recovery. It turns out that I was happy at the front of the room. I smiled and called out instructions. I succeeded at the timing. And I was okay talking with a wireless mic while breathless. (I was worried about that.) In many ways none of this should have surprised me. I’ve been taking indoor cycling classes for a very long time. I’ve even had a chance at the front of the room in Coach Chris’s basement when his regular trainer class assistant was away. I’ve also been teaching in a university context for more than 30 years (yikes!) and I’m pretty comfortable in that role.

But for some reason, the written exam–which came later–had me very nervous. First, I couldn’t write with the rest of the class because of my schedule (#deanslife, #senate.) Second, it’s been a long time since I was the person writing, not grading, an exam. I did write an exam, I think, or at least I took a course, when I became a foster parent. But that was many years ago. We had covered a lot of info during the class–so many muscles, so many different exercise theory principles–and I wasn’t sure what would be on it. I ended up writing on my own on a Monday afternoon in an office at the university fitness centre.

It was super hard hand writing an exam. I realized a few minutes in how little I do that these days. My handwriting is not the easiest to read! I wasn’t sure how much information to include. I apologized when I handed it in. The exam covered a lot of material–some muscles, some exercise principles, workout design, and bike set up. I finished early but then weeks passed and I didn’t hear. What if I failed? What if they were too embarrassed to tell a dean she’d failed an exam? Could I take it again? Fretting happened. Finally, recently, I heard, I passed. 88%. Woo hoo!

A woman’s hand writing in a book.
Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

In the new year, I’ll be taking part in their cycling instructor mentorship program. I think I’ll sit in on some of the classes taught by the person who taught the cycling instructor class. She’s pretty terrific. High energy, tons of experience, and seems to really care about the quality of instruction at the university.

“You’ve taken the course but now need to hone your skills through some supervised ‘hands on’ teaching before you attempt your practical? Let us help you. This membership will give you access to all our cycle classes (providing space is available) and an opportunity to apprentice and team-teach with our instructors. Weekly feedback will be provided in order to assist you in preparation for the practical.  “

After that, I teach a full class on my own for the practical exam. I’ll have to find friends to come and take a class from me. Watch out Fit is a Feminist Issue community, I might hit you up!