Erika Johnson, Spin Queen on Land by Regina Jeter
Q. When did you start spinning and why?
I took my first spinning class about 12 years ago at a government facility in downtown DC. I worked out all the time, was very fit, and never had a weight issue. You know the story – time passed, I stopped working out and gained 50 pounds. Physically, I was a wreck and knew I had to take control of my life. I joined a spin class close to my home, and I tell you what….that instructor worked me to exhaustion over and over again. I can laugh about it now, but it sure wasn’t funny then.
Q. What changed your status from a student to Certified Spinning Instructor?
Because of spin, my whole life changed and I was really feeling like my old self. After losing 2 dress sizes and shedding about 25 pounds, I had so much more energy. My confidence level had been restored. I simply felt great and became a true die hard spin fanatic. Then, the unimaginable happened—the instructor took a leave of absence. I know now, what seemed to have been the worst thing that could ever happen was actually a blessing in disguise – it was the first of many doors that opened up for me. I asked the director of the facility if I could volunteer to teach the class. I just wanted my classmates and I to be able to continue doing what we loved ….spinning.
As days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, I knew that I had found my true calling….my destiny. I was already in love with spinning, but I fell head over heels in love with being an instructor! It took me back to my eight years as a cheerleader. I loved being in front of the crowds of people, motivating them and cheering for them to keep going and do their best! I knew there was nothing else that I wanted more than to continue as an instructor. Shortly after, I received my certification as a Group Exercise Instructor, Spinning Instructor, Aqua Spin Instructor, as well as became CPR/AED certified.
Q. How do you encourage people to get or stay fit?
I always tell people that nutrition along with exercise are essential to any weight loss journey. Whether it’s spinning or some other form of exercise, find one you like. The chances of success are far greater with an exercise program that you enjoy, as opposed to one you don’t. Once you get into it and stay dedicated to that work out, the interest for other types of exercises won’t look so daunting, but more as a challenge. If you like to dance, take dance lessons. If you like water, find the nearest aquatic center and take classes. Whatever it is, enjoy it and have some fun; this is so important.
Q. Please give us some tips on spinning?
Do not be so hard on yourself! I always tell my new students, “you have to get through your first day, first month, first year.” Spinning is always going to be a challenging workout. It’s important to focus on what you can do right now, and that is to ride at your own pace and enjoy the music. Don’t focus on what you can’t do. With time, you’ll be able to do m ore and more. Believe me!
Q. What keeps you going? Have you ever thought about giving up?
It’s simple—the love for instructing keeps me going. I am passionate about spinning and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Sure, there are days that present some interesting challenges. As with all challenges, you just have to overcome them and keep going. Which leads me to your second question—in this profession, I have become a very important part of many people’s lives. They’ve chosen to include me as part of their workout program, and that’s a privilege and a blessing. If I give up, then I give up on so many people who depend on me.
Q. Do you like the business perspective of fitness better than actually doing fitness classes?
I enjoy both sides. Being an instructor allows me to see what improvements need to be made. The business side allows me to implement those improvements.
Q. So what’s in Erika’s future?
Currently, I’m putting together a business plan—revolving around spinning, of course. I intend on having my business up and running in the very near future, so look out for me. I have to keep it under wraps for now, but believe me when the time is right; everyone is going to know about it. I love what I’m doing and can’t think of anything else I would rather do with my life.
Q. Where can our readers find you?
Being a part of my community is very important to me. After teaching in many facilities throughout the Washington metropolitan area over the past few years, I decided to come back to Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission in September 2013, teaching land and aqua spin, and also deep water aerobics at Allentown Splash, Tennis and Fitness Park.
Thanks for sharing your experience on spinning!
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