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My favorite moments are the ones when I’m driving with the windows down, my music blaring way too loud, and I’m belting out every word to whatever song is moving my soul at that moment. I’m exaggerating each syllable so much that the guy in the car next to me could guess what tune I’m jamming to without even hearing a note. Can you relate? If so, what’s your jam? Everyone has one… or 10! Take yourself back to the last time you started shaking your tush involuntarily or mouthing the words without even realizing you were doing it. Think of that euphoria. Now wouldn’t it be awesome to share that feeling with others?


I get the same high every time I can produce one of those moments in a spin class. If I can provide that carefree let-loose feeling for each and every cyclist in that room, then I feel like I have done my job. The calorie burn is just a bonus. When the music is well thought out and fit specifically for your class members, they will forget that they are in agony sprinting at 90%. What they will remember is being lost in the moment, and hearing a song that took them back to their freshman year homecoming dance — neon bow tie and permed hair included.


Indoor cycling traditionalists know the basics: resistance, sprint, climb, sprint, repeat. We incorporate positions one, two, and three into each song to keep our riders engaged. We plan our playlists thinking about which song has the right rhythm for grinding out on our bikes. But do you vary your music? Do you plan your playlists to match the demographics of who is going to show up on a Wednesday night? Have you been playing the same tunes for two years? Do you ask for song requests each week?


I never want my spinners to know what music it is that I might play during any given class. I don’t want to be known as the instructor that “plays techno,” or “only plays top 40 hits.” I want to be the instructor that plays it all. If I play a little rock n’ roll and a little hip-hop, while sprinkling in some 80s, I can be assured that each participant will have at least one of those carefree, let-loose moments. I don’t want my music to be predictable. I want it to be awesome.


I’m assuming that we all want the same thing. We want our riders to get the most out of their hour with us. We want them to get a great workout and ride safely while having as much dang fun as they can considering they’re mounted on a small metal seat in a dark and sweaty room. The right music can provide a workout that doesn’t feel like work. It can engage your participants and make them feel like you have created an experience just for them. A diverse and intentional playlist will have your class members experiencing that high that they want more of. The right playlist will have them coming back for more. That’s why I feel music is my secret weapon — and it can be yours, too.

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