Walking Out–and Riding Back.

The only group exercise class I ever walked out of was an indoor cycling class.

That’s what I tell people when I am asked about my passion for indoor cycling classes, both as a student, and as an instructor.

Teaching the type of class I walked out of? How did that happen? 

First, necessity played a role.

Years ago, exercise became an iron-clad commitment. I worked out at home, and of course, in the gym. Group exercise classes were among my favorite activities. I enjoyed this format (and still do!) for many reasons: the fun, the camaraderie and the achievement of individual fitness goals attained, in part, by a group effort. And I gave each class my all.

But I avoided the cycle classes. I let one bad experience scare me away.

So why did I walk out of that cycle class? I was frustrated. I could not get comfortable on the bike, nor could I seem to match the rhythm of the class. So I walked out.

Honestly? I didn’t just walk out of that class–I slinked away, feeling embarrassed, and hoping no one noticed me. It was an alien experience at the gym, a place that had become my sanctuary. It was a feeling I never wanted to repeat.

So when working out at my gym, I built my schedule around a series of non-cycle group exercise classes.

When my schedule changed, however, my favorite classes were no longer available to me. What was available to me were cycling classes.

I had to make a decision: Would I keep my commitment to exercise, or not?

Cycle it is, I said. I decided then and there that I would make the best of it.

The intention and willingness to learn served as my guide as I discovered and developed my cycle skills. So did relying on a friendly and knowledgeable instructor who “showed me the ropes,” by demonstrating proper bike set up, and sharing tips on proper form.

Most of all, I became passionate about attending the classes. I refused to let a flywheel intimidate me. I wanted to test my limits: Could I still keep going faster? Pushing harder? Yes!

That passion kept me coming for more. One class a week would not do.

The cycle class wasn’t just an exercise class, but rather a challenge I was compelled to master.

Each limit I bested built my confidence. Exhilarated me. Every class was a chance to perfect my ride. Most days, I was better. Some days, I was not–which only served to inspire me to get it right on the next try.

The passion I found fueled my move from the back of the cycle room to the center of it; from the center of the room to the front row; and from the front row to the instructor’s podium.

I realized over time that the passion I found for cycling plays a similar role in giving a speech or a presentation. The skills needed to do it effectively can be learned, but it’s best to do so on a foundation of passion.

Necessity often forces us to act. What are the ways that you can find passion when it’s time to speak or present, even if you feel like you would rather not do so? It’s worth the effort.

Your enthusiasm will shine through, making you more credible with, and deepening your connection to your audience and clients. You may even find that you discover new insights, strengths and talents you didn’t realize you had.

Who knows? You may even become a cycle instructor one day.


  1. Pingback: Passion in Action | Speeches & Sprints
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