What Spinning Has Taught Me About Building Better Communities

09/05/2016 12:33 | Updated 09 May 2016

If you haven't heard of it, listen up. Psycle London is creating a fitness movement that you need to be a part of. They offer a high intensity, low impact, head-to-toe workout on a bike, but it is so much more than that.

This is not just an exercise class. This is a movement.

The fitness industry or fitness in general is synonymous with quick-fixes and achieving that coveted and somewhat misconstrued image of a beach-body. There's that peculiar thirst for being perfect that is perpetually portrayed in the media, for not having cheat days and trying to emulate the red carpet looks that have teams of people behind the scenes. But we don't have teams of people constructing our bodies but what we can aspire to is working as a team, as a community to help achieve each other's goals.

Rhian Stephenson, the CEO of Psycle, who is a former Canadian national athlete has created a culture at Psycle that is about communities achieving their goals together. There's no faux-cheerleading but a belief that, in her words, "everyone can be the best version of themselves" through the support that her group of rock-star instructors provide. Her belief is that in order for the culture to be pervasive, it has to be enacted every day and be believed strongly by everyone in the organisation.

What Psycle is teaching us is how authentic communities build better societies. Here's what I've learned:

Leaders that are part of the team

There's often an invisible yet divisive line between those who are equipped and skilled and those that are trying to learn. That line is stunting progress across organisations around the world. People tend to want to cling on to the added value they perceive that they have; though this should be shared. When I'm spinning, the transparency about what I need to do to be wildly successful is a key driver in repeat visits. The instructors may be on a podium, but there is no hierarchy in the class. The progression of all organisations depends on the sharing of knowledge and expertise. Share your knowledge with everyone. Do it for you and do it for them.

Passion is transparent

It's easy to spot the fakery. And it's incredibly difficult to act the way you'd like to. So be yourself. The culture that exists at Psycle is real - the instructors are genuinely elated to be there and some of them have full-time jobs but train on the side. You could be led by a doctor, an engineer, a banking lawyer or the CEO. The reality of their dedication to the fitness movement is what drives the 5,300 riders into studios around London each week. Be passionate. Be real.

Know your stuff

Do you know what's exciting? Being unabashedly in love with what you're doing. If you're a musician you're writing songs on the Tube or a poet composing Haikus in the bathroom in the middle of a date. Showing people you are so into what you're doing drives them to you, creates shared interest and makes you stand out. Psycle has an INSPIRE blog that exists as a tool for riders (and non-riders) to access advice on nutrition, wellness, fitness advice and fashion. Knowing your stuff builds confidence in your audience. Do be excited about being the nerd.

"Being the best people that we can be can't be reactive. It has to be a practice," says Rhian. We have to be engaged in the practice of being good to ourselves, by learning from each other and accepting imperfection as a reality. The exercise movement is gaining some traction but what we need to learn is that for communities to grow, they must do so together, with rigour and with purpose.