I want to give a shout-out to Peloton instructor Hannah Corbin. If you are a Peloton rider, you know it’s the instructors who give the shout outs, but everyone need encouragement, right?
In case you don’t know, “shout-outs” are when an instructor, during a live class, actually calls out your name. Most of them seem to go to seasoned riders who are on their 5,000th ride and that you will never get to that point, or at least that’s how it feels when you’re starting out. The idea that you will ever achieve your 1000th ride seems unreachable. At first. And the people who do it seem superhuman. At first.
If you want to see how important encouragement, head over to the Peloton Facebook Page where members and nonmembers alike gather to discuss all things Peloton and many things not related at all from what I can tell. There, you will see giddy posts from people who got recognition in a live class: “Just completed my 500th ride with the one and only Cody…. and I finally got a shout out!!!! Not sure if I’m happier to have 500 rides or a shout out from Boo!!!!”
And, you will also see posts from disappointed mile-stoners who attended a class hoping to hear their names: “I took Robin’s 6pm ride tonight hoping my Century combined with my birthday might earn me a shout-out…”
Since new members are joining all the time, a frequent question on the Facebook page is “any advice on how to get a shout-out?” The community is happy to oblige with tips like “arrive early” and “have an interesting leaderboard name.” But not too interesting – the instructor has to be able to see it and say it easily. Some have even suggested contacting the instructor prior to the class to request a shout-out.
I’m a stranger in the world of shout-outs because I rarely take live classes and, even if I did, upwards of 20,000 people ride live and there’s nothing about me that would stand out for a shout-out. I don’t have a funny or provocative leaderboard name, my performance is middling and I’m below 500 rides. Still, if I did take one, it would be fun to hear my name. I like recognition. A lot.
Not everyone is looking for a shout-out, of course. A steady counterpoint to the shout-out seekers are those who don’t understand it at all and weigh in consistently on the page, expressing their consternation, not always in the most understanding of ways: “If you’re riding for shout-outs you’re doing it wrong.”
As a professional coach, I see three primary reasons people want shout-outs from instructors.
First, some personalities crave recognition, needing to have contributions and accomplishments acknowledged. It’s neither good nor bad, it’s simply a personality trait and some have it and others don’t. Those who don’t crave recognition wonder why others do and vice versa.
The second reason is habit change. It’s hard. Especially habits like exercise that are uncomfortable and have a learning curve. In the early days of a rider’s experience, you will see frustrated posts about the experience of learning the equipment: “Did my first ride today. Took forever to get my shoes clipped in…hope that gets easier.” There are also many posts about the difficulty of getting started: “…I know I need to ride, but it was so painful, the seat kills my butt!”
The third reason is that we want to please our teachers. It starts in grade school with earning stickers and stars and goes right through adulthood with badges, personal records and shout-outs.
That’s why I was excited, in a recent Peloton cycling class, to hear Hannah Corbin give a shout-out to someone on their very first ride. Ride # 1!!
Counterintuitively, ride #1 was not the hardest one for me because the excitement and novelty buoyed me and I couldn’t wait to get on. It got more difficult as I was challenged to make this a regular part of my routine, day in and out. I’ve seen this reflected on the FB page many times: “Third ride and I feel like I’m going to puke every time, just to stay somewhere in the middle of the board.”
I often find myself thinking that instructors might show some love to someone who is on, say, ride #3 or 6 or 14. The early rides are the hardest because the habit is new, the work is hard, and everything is unfamiliar. But, I also recognize that shout-outs are a challenge for the instructors who are focused on teaching and not scrolling down the leaderboard looking for someone like me.
So, way to go Hannah Corbin! That rider will probably take that class over and over again, and become one of your regulars. Because that’s how appreciation works. It appreciates.