I'm not sure what changed this year or what I'm doing different, but since January my Monday night Spin class has been packed. I teach at a very small club that hosts about 14 total bikes. In the past, I'd usually have a group of about 8 followers that would show up consistently every Monday night.
Now, a sign up sheet is required and I'm actually forced to turn people away because bikes are taken. A patron got angry with me last night when I told her, "sorry, full."
"What do you mean it's full? It's early! It's quarter of! How early do you expect me to be here?"
If I could waive my magic wand and magically produce a new bike, I would. But I can't. The bikes we do have are spoken for. All I could do was shrug my shoulders and say, "Sorry. Try again next week." I saw her speaking with the gym manager shortly after I turned her away. Maybe she thought he could magically produce another bike.
One of my new loyal followers is a woman that started back in January. She had never taken a Spin class before, and she was just beginning her "healthy lifestyle" journey. I warned her, like I warn all of my newbies, that the class is challenging. It's loud, and intense, and I work you hard for the entire hour. I told her not to get discouraged, that if she couldn't keep up to just sit in the seat and continue to pedal. The most important thing is to maintain proper form so that she doesn't injure herself, and to just keep moving. Keep moving.
As I expected, she couldn't keep up, and remained in the seat for 80% of the class. 7 out of 10 newbies don't return. I think they allow the mindset of "I can't do this" get the best of them, instead of thinking, "I will work my way to completing this entire class." I always congratulate my newbies at the end of class, and let them know the fact that they completed the class is an accomplishment. I recommend to attend other classes - that way they find an instructor and a class that best suites their needs and personalities. My way of teaching isn't for everyone and I understand that. Sometimes they come back, ready for the challenge. Most I never see again.
I honestly didn't think this newbie would be back.
I was wrong.
This newbie has been in class every Monday since she joined in January. Each week she got stronger and went from participating in about 20% of the class to completing every task I ask of her. Each week she hops off her bike and says, "Great class! Thank you!"
Last night she approached me and exclaimed, "What a great class! Great music!" I thanked her for the compliment, and one again encouraged her. I told her how strong she has become in the last few months and that she should be proud of all of her hard work.
That's when I received the best compliment ever:
"I couldn't have done this if it wasn't for your class. You make the class. You are such an inspiration to me. Thank you."
Wow. I've been called lots of things in my life, but I can't recall anyone telling me that I inspire them.
Despite all this rain today, I'm feeling warm and gushy on the inside.