URGH. Last night, I realized that the Spinning studio I used to really dig is on my shit list. Once my August monthly expires, I don't think I will renew.
Remember, how stoked I was about the Spinning studio here in Charleston before I moved? And for good reason. By chance I dropped in on a few of the best classes they offer and those three hours on the bike motivated me, grounded me and inspired me. Exactly what every great Spinning class should.
When I actually started to attend classes often, I tried not to see the flaws. Yes, some classes are FAR better than others. One of the owners is a Master Instructor (which is a HUGE deal in the Spinning community) and her rides are beyond comparison. Her classes are the ones I first tried. She is an incredible leader and her profiles do something for my soul that even therapy can't always achieve. They help me reflect and look inside myself. I drip sweat whenever I attend.
The other instructors are okay. A few are above average, but most are dreadful. And I like some of them a lot off the bike and I know that changes how I view them in class. I let shit slide. I try to support them and give them encouragement, but the truth is that other than Miss Master, the rest of the classes are sub par to classes I have taken elsewhere. I have been spinning for six years on a regular basis and have experienced far more than 1,000 classes. There were some years that I went to class everyday and I sometimes even took two classes back to back. When you have spun as much as I have, you can see the level of preparation from the minute you step into the studio. It is so much more than a banging playlist.
Before I started working, I made my workout schedule around Miss Master. She travels ALL of the time (teaching and speaking about the Spinning brand, she is international monthly), so she isn't even there all that much. I would be at her classes whenever I had the chance. And she teaches mid-morning on weekdays (because she is a mom and owns the studio and clearly she doesn't want to do early morning or evening classes). It really wasn't until after I started my jobs that I realized how lacking the other classes are.
I have asked if I could teach as I am certified and an "enthusiast." I love and respect the program and when you get into a class that has been thoughtfully outlined, I think that Spinning offers a mind-body connection that few other exercise classes can. I KNOW I will be an incredible instructor because when I am passionate about something, I give it my ALL. The answer I received was that I could begin working towards this goal, but in order to be an instructor you have to have achieved many HUGE teaching and bike related accomplishments including teaching Spinning for over two years at a certified studio, riding outdoors, attending the World Spinning Conference, being a certain level certified instructor (which requires a lot of time and money to attend all of the courses necessary) and undergoing metabolic testing. I kinda gave this the side eye, but brushed it off because it is clear to me that some of the instructors do not have this level of training and education. Because if they did, they would simply be better instructors and "get" how to ride a bike. But, who am I to point fingers? And I didn't have the solid proof necessary to prove that some instructors weren't really trained. And I have better things to do than be a Spinning detective.
Well, last night after work, I ran over to the studio without checking the schedule. The typical Monday and Wednesday evening instructor is the second best instructor and she just happens to be the other owner. Go figure! Don't even ask me why the two best instructors teach the same day……On Monday, her class was AWESOME and I sweat like it was going out of style. I went back looking for more. And more was NOT what I got.
What I got was a BRAND new instructor. A gal about my age who had NO CLUE what she was doing. Her play list was off, her form was dangerous. She was on stage leading a class, but had no technique. She wasn't using proper cues, she seemed lost and nervous. She had no energy. It was the least inspiring 50 minutes of my life…..but, but, why did she look familiar?? As I half ass petaled and did my own workout (what she was trying to have the class do was incorrect in terms of speed and heart rate), I kept staring at her. I knew I knew her and the intrigue of trying to place her kept my buns on the bike. With minutes to go, I figured it out.
This new instructor is the former manager of Lululemon. Miss Master Instructor is a brand ambassador for them and they are good friends. FUCK. IT IS ALL WHO YOU KNOW.
I recall only a few months ago sitting in class when the now instructor was being celebrated for attending. This was in April. She sat next to me and didn't know what she was doing. She was new to the program, Miss Master made this clear. We were there applauding her for it. 3-4 months riding is NOT 2 years TEACHING. My mind started to race and my blood boiled.
I did something I am not proud of. I hopped off my bike at the beginning of the cool down and I stomped up to the desk and I asked how long Lulu had been teaching. It was her fourth class. I asked how with all of the "rules" how did she get to teach? She is not just new to teaching, she is new to riding, how does ANY of this make sense I demanded. The answer I was given was exactly what I knew. There is a "special" mentor program for certain people who show great potential. You have to be selected by Miss Master. Lulu and Miss Master have a relationship and had one prior to her teaching. I stood there fuming. I really wanted to knock the towels off the shelves. The girl at the front desk then told me all I needed to know, "Well, you know, Lulu and Miss Master are really good friends. They have known each other for a long time." I grabbed my bag and stomped out of the door.
Favoritism at it's finest.
I get that life isn't fair. I understand that I am not what they are looking for. But, what I want to tell Miss Master is that when you so clearly break the rules for friendship, you compromise your business.
I made the same mistakes in business and I failed. I gave friends deals and passes and I never should have. People do not treat you professionally when you do. I lost some of my vision and integrity. I discounted my gifts and purpose and started doing things on other peoples' terms. I broke the rules with my own brand and I suffered the integrity of my product. Miss Master is now doing this. I see it and I feel it and it was probably there all along. And what kills me the most is that I know that in the long run, she won't succeed and I do want her to succeed. Even though I lost respect for her as a person and business owner, I will always consider her an incredible instructor. The BEST instructor I know.
I will not be supporting this studio any longer when my next month expires. I know it may seem drastic, but working out shouldn't feel like high school. Last night, in a moment of anger, I studied all of the instructors on their website and I realized that it was indeed just the owners classes that I really enjoyed. Everyone else didn't really do a good job, I was just looking for something that wasn't there. I needed to love it, to get back in shape. I will never recreate my favorite Spinning studio in Chicago and that's okay. My Chicago gym was a special place where I first discovered my love of the program. It is something to remember, but not try to imitate. That year was a good year in general. It was the time in my life when I was finally getting things together. It was before I met Awful and forgot all of the lessons I had just learned.
The one thing I will be doing? Training seriously to become an instructor at another gym! Sometimes rejection is the best motivation.