By Ralph Mlady | Spinning® Master Instructor
Life is full of choices. We are forced to make decisions every day. Sometimes these choices are easy; and other times they are hard. One of the easiest choices I’ve ever made was becoming a certified Spinning® instructor.
Why? Because I knew that I wanted to give back to the program that gave me so much. But even knowing that wouldn’t have prepared me for the incredible journey I embarked on since I made that decision. Since then, I’ve learned so much about myself and also how to manage my time effectively.
My first experience with instructing can attributed to serendipitous consequences of bad weather. Living in Northeast Ohio, we are often confronted with lake effect snow storms.
Basically, it’s sunny one moment and before you have a chance to put on your sunglasses, you’re in the middle of a snow storm.
Well, I was in the middle of said snow storm, and that provided my indoctrination into the world of fitness instruction. Our regular instructor was stranded and couldn’t get to the gym to conduct the class so, naturally, I volunteered.
Needless, to say, I was addicted. The fear of moving from student to instructor was in the back of my mind as I took the instructor bike and conducted my first class. Little did I know, I was on a track that would take me to the ranks of Master Instructor.
Working full-time, attending school to earn my Master’s in Education, teaching several classes a week, my own personal training for ultra endurance cycling events, coaching youth hockey and spending quality time with my children and wife, Beth, required me to become adept at a balancing act I’m still working to perfect. I learned that when you set priorities in your life, anything is possible. I still found time to manage my responsibilities and enjoy life.
Being a Master Instructor for the Spinning® program is incredibly rewarding. I have had the opportunity to present at several WSSC conferences and an international fitness conference. I have met people from every continent on the planet and have learned so much about myself and others. I look forward to conducting instructor trainings and continuing education workshops. Again, I have decisions to make every time I get a note to ask me to travel to a studio to conduct a workshop.
“What is on my schedule?” “Will I miss anything important?” “How will I get my training in during the weekend?” All of these questions help me plan my schedule and make my life easier.
I am often asked to pick up other classes at various studios throughout the area. I would love to pick up more classes. This is where the balancing act comes into play. Balancing work, family, my role as a Spinning® Master Instructor, teaching classes, keeping up my education and other life events keeps me going. I make sure family comes first and then worry about scheduling the rest of my life.
How do I manage to balance everything? Sometimes I’m not sure myself. My schedule is full but that is what drives me. I first schedule family events, vacations and my own training schedule, which has been a priority for me. Once those events are written on the calendar, I have a much easier task of finding the time to teach additional Spinning® classes, go to the movies, attend a sporting event or perform my duties as a Master Instructor. I have turned down many offers to teach a weekend Spinning® class because of my role as a Master Instructor and I have never regretted those decisions.
How could I possibly give my students the attention they need if I’m not there two to three weekends a month because I’m working? That isn’t fair to my students or the facility that is always trying to find a sub to cover.
Taking on more Spinning® classes is always in the back of my mind and I would love to teach several more. I have, however, made the decision to limit myself to teaching early morning classes or right after work. The early morning classes are better for my schedule as they do not interfere with my work schedule and I get to spend the evenings with my family. When teaching a morning class, I get my rest and turn in early the night before. Otherwise, I’m paying for it all day. My weekends are for my own training program, family activities and gatherings and of course my work as a Master Instructor, so I avoid subbing on weekends as well.
Planning classes takes time, so I found it easy to design a profile. First, I identify the population and I know many of the students. The profile I build allows my students to achieve their fitness goals. I can finish a profile in 10 minutes. Next I build the playlist. Finding the music to make the perfect soundtrack that compliments the road can take me several hours to build. When I’m done, I feel a sense of relief and can’t wait to ride to the profile with the music that brings the ride to life. I start planning for my classes several days in advance so the perfect blend of movement and music compliment each other and in turn motivates my students to achieve greatness. Developing profiles requires the decision to commit time that could be spent on other family or personal tasks. Knowing the time commitment helps me plan my schedule and I ensure I have enough time for those events.
Being a Master Instructor, full-time employee, father and husband keeps me busy. However, without the Spinning® program, I would be lost. It keeps me grounded and fulfills my need give back to a program that has given me so much. With proper planning and time management, you can be successful in all of your endeavors.