Group X Instructors’ Credo: Make it Work! (aka The Disaster That Almost Was … But Wasn’t)

Sometimes, you just have to make it work. Ask anyone who has taught group fitness for any length of time, and you’re sure to get at least one or two good stories of how they came up with an unconventional solution to ensure their class could still get the class they deserved.

I bring this up because I faced one of these situations last night – one of those times you find yourself thinking, “um, this is definitely not going to work … but we’ll figure it out.” Here’s the thing you have to understand: something is always – ALWAYS – wrong with one of the stereos in my gym. Granted, there are three studios, and something is bound to go down once in a while, but those of us who have been around for a while have joked that the gym is actually cursed.

So while I did panic a little bit when I discovered my stereo was silent last night about 10 minutes before my cycling class, I went into action as best I could. I’d loaded the week’s playlist onto my phone rather than my mp3 player (long story – technology has not been kind to me this week), plugged it in, turned it up … and … nothing. Great. At least my mp3 player was in the car. So I ran to the garage, pulled it out of my other bag in the trunk, came back downstairs, plugged it in, turned it on … and … nothing. Ran upstairs to the front desk, asked if anyone had mentioned having any problems with it (no), and they said they’d come down and take a look at it (they never did).

By this point, I’m fiddling with whatever I can to try to figure it out – at one point Rebecca tries to help me, but neither of us can figure out what’s going on with it. Until I test the microphone. It’s working just fine. Meaning? (Surprise, surprise…) It’s the iPod cord. It has to be detached somewhere inside the stereo case, which, for the life of me, I cannot even begin to figure out how to get into (there are an awful lot of bolts on that thing…)

It’s okay. We’ll make it work. Somehow. But I need music.

I tell them to go ahead set their bikes at a light resistance, get started, form cues, breathing, etc … I think I remembered to introduce myself (although at least half the class joins me every single week – we’ve had completely full classes since October!) I’m still wondering what on earth I’m going to do … and then it hits me.

I have a working microphone. I have a working iPhone. So what do I do? Put the microphone right up against the speaker on the phone. Was it the best situation? Absolutely not – I had to scream through class, and adjust that phone constantly so it wouldn’t fall off the bike (and those of you who were in class, you may notice that last night’s playlist doesn’t exactly line up with what I posted last night … but it’s pretty close). Did it work? Surprisingly, better than I anticipated. Perhaps not the best way to teach my final class before I head home for Christmas, but, in true veteran group fitness instructor fashion, I made it work.