I have been alluding to some changes as of late, and one of them happens today.

This evening I will be teaching my last spin class, ever.

I have been thinking about retiring for months now (after teaching for more than nine years!) for many reasons. Just a few of them are:

1. The reason I started teaching in the first place was because I loved taking group fitness classes and thought A) I’d be good at teaching and B) Why not get paid to do something I really enjoy, but once I started teaching I mostly stopped TAKING classes and as I got further from that part of it, I missed it, just going to the gym for me.

2. My commute to the health club where I’ve been teaching for six years is 30 minutes long, and both traffic and winter weather make it much worse. It’s a three-hour commitment to teach one class, when you include getting there early enough to set up and staying afterward for a few minutes to clean up and, when needed, talk to people who have questions.

3. I didn’t want to start teaching anywhere else because developing a following as an instructor is much like how it goes for a hair stylist: it can take a long time. I knew I didn’t want to teach for as long as it would take.

4. Teaching in the evening is mentally difficult. Dropping whatever I’m doing to head out for class is tough every single week, and even though I’m always fine once I get there, that initial push never gets easier.

5. Now that I have made the time in my schedule to take classes again (six days per week!), the negatives on teaching my spin class in the evening right in the middle of the week have intensified.

6. Believe it or not, in my 43 years of life I have never quit a job for reasons other than moving out of the area or being let go, as in the case of my last health club when they cut my classes.

I finally realized this summer that I needed to just do it and get it over with rather than agonize any longer. Even with all of those valid reasons, I feel sad about letting this part of my life go. Earning my ACE certification was a huge accomplishment, and I love being a group fitness instructor in her 40s (it’s not like this is rare: there are so many of us in that age range nowadays, but it’s still a pride point!). I love the connections I’ve made with people in my classes over the years, and I love being connected to the fitness industry from the inside.

See? Tough decision. At any rate, I know this is the right thing for me and that’s what counts. I prepared a special playlist for my last class ever and included some of my all-time favorites along with some newer “classics” that my class adores. Want to “listen along”? Here it is:

Time to Start (Blue Man Group)
Big Ditch (DJ Icey)
Spente le Stelle (Emma Shaplin, Yomanda Remix)
Shut Up and Let Me Go (The Ting Tings)
Chelsea Dagger (The Fratellis)
Hiphip Chinchin (Club Des Belugas)
Too Funky (George Michael)
Everybody in the Place (155 and Rising) (The Prodigy)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones)
Wipe Out (The Surfaris)
Proud Mary (Ike and Tina Turner)
Ritmo De Locos (Drumm Boys)
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (Vampire Weekend)
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) (Green Day)

As far as I know, only one of the people who takes my class reads Suburban Scrawl (waving to Linda), but I just want to put it out there in the universe that I really, really appreciate the loyalty of my Wednesday night crew. I wouldn’t have held on this long if it weren’t for them, and I will be forever grateful for the enthusiasm they brought to class every week. It was a pleasure sharing the studio with them.

And now…off to class!


  • Katy Jacob

    Sounds like a good decision to me, and nine years is a crazy long time! I spin so much that I’ve contemplated becoming an instructor, but I know that I would miss just zoning out in the class. Best way to start a day at 5:30 in the morning!

  • Alison Ray (@SassyMomChicago)

    Congrats on taking care of you first! I taught fitness classes (everything but spin and yoga) for 11 years. After double knee surgery I decided to hang up my aerobic shoes. It does take a drain on you after awhile and makes it really difficult to workout for yourself.

    I just started back taking group classes this month after being on hiatus for 3 years. Sometimes I look at how fit the instructors are and I start to miss teaching. Then I remember (and read) all your points above and the urge quickly goes away.

    Your class will definitely miss you but now you are working out for you!

  • Shannon

    I’m just happy that, even at the very end, you prepared a playlist. I recently had to start going to a new instructor, and the woman spends the whole class flipping through the songs. Like, “No, that isn’t gonna work … no, that’s not the one I want.” It’s frustrating.

  • Linda

    Wavin’ right back at ya, sistah! Last night’s class rocked. Which of the listed songs is “mine”? (you know…the one that took us six years to figure out when that dang whistle was going to blow 🙂

    p.s. I am STILL looking for Wednesday (“Go Wednesday”!). Where does she usually sit again??