In his own words, Peter Pastjin of THE ROOM Abu Dhabi explains his relationship with Spinning®.
Part 1: Spinning® Grows on You
I still remember the first day I rode a Spinning® bike. It was both one of the most intriguing and one of the most uncomfortable experiences I’ve ever had. I was looking around to see if I was the only person feeling the pain of sitting on a saddle, but the other students seemed fine. So, I tried to focus. I was grateful that the instructor played motivating music and the class was dynamic.
I came back after the first class because of the great energy and music, the nice instructor and the feeling that I could do much better than I did the first time. The second time I came prepared with padded shorts and when I returned to the saddle, it felt a lot better. Although there was a bit of discomfort, after about 30 minutes it went away. I did not hear or listen to much of the coaching when I first started, but I soon got into the techniques, the lovely music and the sweat. I loved the workout and the energy.
Spinning became part of my weekly routine and I took a class three times each week because it was so much fun. At the time, I only participated in the Interval Energy Zone™ classes because I was a professional athlete and thought that Endurance Energy Zone rides were not for me. They seemed like beginner classes and I already did all my endurance training outside while running. Little did I know that I was very wrong.
Spinning grew on me. It seems now that this was only the beginning of what was to come.
Part 2: Spinning® Grows You
After about six months I spoke with one of the instructors after a class. He asked me why I only went to interval classes. My response was that I loved running outside and I played squash for a living, so I did not think Endurance Energy Zone rides were for me. To summarise a very interesting discussion, he told me that, on the contrary, there was so much focus and visualisation to learn during these rides. So, I went to the next Endurance Energy Zone ride he taught and I was amazed with the road this ride took. Before joining this class, all I saw from the outside of the room was riders peacefully pedalling away, but at that moment I was in the middle of it. I noticed how my focus was sharpened and how this type of training translated into my sports career and in my daily life.
During the ride one line stayed with me: “Mind changes body, and body changes mind.” From that day, I became very interested in the body/mind connection, which is one of the cornerstones of the Spinning® programme. It was after this very class that I decided to learn more about it. I wanted to know how I could use my mind to better shape my future, both physically and mentally.
One day I was browsing the Internet and happened upon a Spinning® Instructor training course nearby. I decided to enrol, even though I was not thinking about becoming an instructor. I was simply interested in learning about the programme and all it had to offer. The educational weekend really opened my eyes to how I could use Spinning® not only for fitness, but also for the mind and soul. It was truly a life-enhancing experience and I would recommend that any fan of Spinning® take the course, whether they would like to teach or not. It made me aware of the team of Master Instructors that were doing such a great job at guiding the new instructors to become great. Again, one line stayed with me in particular during the Spinning® Instructor training: “Be a constant and never-ending learner, as this education is only a little teaser into what lies ahead for you if you wish to know more.”
Something special happened that weekend and I could not really grasp what exactly created all these emotions in me. I had now become a true fan of Endurance Energy Zone rides. More and more I began to like introspective coaching and music. During the next three years, I attended just about every educational course I could, from Spinning® continuing education workshops and personal training seminars to conflict management courses. I also started teaching Spinning® classes. Like many people, I started subbing last-minute before becoming a regular instructor.
Part 3: You Grow Spinning
You, your neighbour, your instructor, your new class member – everyone in the room contributes to the constant and never-ending growth of the Spinning® programme. We all contribute to its growth in the fitness studio, gym and wider community.
On a personal note, I have decided to dedicate most of my study time to the “inner communication” side of the programme. How do we speak to ourselves? How do we set goals and work toward achieving them? How can we find inner peace in order to share positive energy with others?
After about 15 years, I was invited to become a Master Instructor for the Spinning® programme. It is my honour, privilege and pleasure to share my experiences with so many motivated instructors from all over the world, and it brings me great pleasure to teach the Instructor Training courses, as well as the continuing education workshops. In the years to come, I look forward to meeting many people at these events and sharing some thoughts on how Spinning® enhances our life roads, as well as discussing our goals.
As a final note, please take the time to close your eyes for a while on that Spinning® bike to see, feel and hear the answers to the following questions and many more: Who am I? What do I stand for? Where am I going? What do I truly jump out of bed for because I love it so much?
Surprisingly enough, the peace I find from the simplicity of the pedal stroke has never let me down. With pure meditation on the bike, answers are always so clear when we listen. I wish you a good road!