Head Of The Class

In addition to being the publisher and editor-in-chief of Tonic Magazine, and the event creator and host of the OmT.O. and Fit For Fall events, I am now a professional spin instructor. Over the past year or so I’ve filled in for others. But as of a few weeks ago I have my very own class to lead 7:30 pm Wednesday nights at Harmony Fitness (harmonyfitness.ca). I have to say; I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but it actually makes me happy.


I get to plan out the class, pick out the music and choreograph what work will be done on the bikes. Music is critical to a good spin class. Some instructors opt for the nameless, faceless throbbing music loops that focus on the number of beats per minute. Others stay amazingly current mixing in the newest pop songs. I find myself looking for new music everywhere. Every time I hear new music my first thought is whether I can spin to it. I constantly bug my kids to tell me if they’ve heard anything interesting. I’ve been known to break out my phone in restaurants, stores, in the car,… in mid-conversation to Shazam whatever might be playing in the background.


In class, the instructor acts as a Swiss Army knife. We demonstrate proper form and the positions to be made on the bike. I have really good form, but I have to “stay within myself” when it comes to the timing of the movements. On a dance floor I’m singularly unrhythmic. But, put me on a stationary bike and I can time out the hurdles and hops pretty well.  I’m not shy at all about getting up in front of a group of people, but it’s challenging to maintain a polished suaveness when you’re sweating so much that it’s dripping into your microphone.  As a spin instructor you’re a DJ, personal trainer and motivational coach all rolled up into one. You control all the elements of the class environment. It’s actually the perfect job for a sadist.


So why do I enjoy it so much? I think it’s contextual. We’re all paid to do our jobs. Otherwise, why do them? But there’s a satisfaction in being proficient enough in a pastime, hobby or exercise to earn money at it. Not unlike winning money at the poker table in Las Vegas. Also, at my age (the number that cannot be named) it’s nice to know that I can be taught and, in turn, teach a few new tricks.

Which brings me to Karen Ross’ new column in this month’s edition of Tonic. Karen is our proofreader (She got the gig after emailing me about all the mistakes she caught in the magazine a few years ago). During production we often throw around ideas for stories and columns. She and I discussed the idea of a column that focuses on health and wellness issues for those in the older demographic. Her first article is all about continuing education and her experience with the New Horizons Band (p.25). Also of interest is Joel Thuna and Claude Gallant’s article on mushrooms (p.22), Carlyle Jansen’s piece on asexuality (p. 32) or Jodi Fischtein’s very thoughtful insights on the value of mindfulness meditation (p. 18) As always please feel free to contact me to discuss this note or anything else you’ve read in this issue of Tonic.