Why I Incorporate Mental Health Minutes Into My Spin Classes...

When you think of spin classes (or cycle classes) you think of a killer cardio workout. You think of hills and flat road sprints and push-ups and leaving class feeling like jelly.

But, I have incorporated mental health "minutes" since I started teaching spin for one important reason. No one else really does. I have attended countless other spin classes, trying to learn new techniques, trying to learn new music, new choreography, see what it's like to be a student in a class. However, I had not seen an instructor incorporate mental health minutes into their class until one class about two year ago.

It should be disclaimed that I had had a horrendous day when I walked into that class. Nay, a horrendous week. I felt like I was being hit from all sides of my life, everyone was needing something, and I just wasn't taking care of myself the way I needed to. But, this instructor who I have not seen since incorporated something into her spin class that day that changed my mentality towards spin classes as a whole. We all have met spin instructors who spout off inspirational quotes like "45 seconds is nothing in comparison to the rest of your life, you've got this!!!" That's me, I'm spin instructors. But, that day she took one song out of her class that was specifically for "cycling it out", and it is something that I have taken into practice with all my classes since.

One song, three to four minutes of focusing on what is stressing you out, on what is making you sad, on what is making you angry, helps you to identify your emotions, channel them into something healthy, and leave my cycle room feeling lighter. I have watched a lot of my students walk into my class looking exhausted, worn thin, stressed, and during that one song I see that weight start to lift a bit.

As a teacher, nothing fills my heart more than knowing I gave them a good workout and helped them remember that they are in control of their life and stronger than they think they are.

So, next time you are running or cycling or working out in general, pick a song and dedicate it to taking care of yourself mentally and reminding yourself that you are strong and you are capable of handling what life is currently throwing at you. Because I promise that you are.