Group fitness arouses nostalgia and feels like “home” for many exercisers, both avid and novice. As the backbone of the fitness industry, it has ebbed and flowed over the past three decades (and counting). People love exercising to music and sharing endorphins. In fact, fitness facility members are thriving on creative class options, demanding more varied opportunities and driving the industry forward. What can you, as a group fitness professional, do to meet the needs of a growing market?
“Linda,” a longtime member at your fitness facility, is a group exercise fanatic and has become a regular in your classes. Your friendship starts with a little chitchat. She loves your teaching style and engages you in small talk after class. As time goes on, your relationship grows. She shares stories about her family, brings in baked goods and is always nice enough to give you a small holiday gift.
Suspension exercise combines body weight and anchored, seatbelt-like straps to provide an alternative to free weights and machines. The question on a lot of trainers's minds is whether these strap-based training systems work as well as more traditional resistance training tools. Though research into this question has been somewhat sparse, studies are starting to paint a picture of effective ways to integrate suspension exercise into a workout program.
In today’s complicated world, just listening to the evening news on television or radio can raise cortisol rates in the body. High stress levels, combined with current technological advancements, almost unending sensorial bombardment, and the ever-changing dietary habits of many developed countries, can deny the body time for repose and resynthesis.
High-intensity interval training has been riding a wave of popularity, and it seems everyone wants to give it a try. However, intense interval training is nothing new. Group fitness instructors have been teaching HIIT for a long time. Fartlek training, for example, was big in the 1970s. The 1980s brought us high-impact classes, and the 1990s introduced indoor cycling (think repeat hill training). HIIT is a fantastic workout and an effective way to train energy systems; build muscle; lose weight; enhance strength, power and agility; and prevent adaptation.
Joseph Pilates often spoke of “principles of movement.” Over the years, Pilates enthusiasts and students have cited many principles. Six have remained consistent through the years, acting as pillars of practice. They are concentration, control, centering, precision, flow and breathing. These powerful precepts are relevant not solely to Pilates moves, however. They can be valuable tools for ensuring a safe, efficient, results-oriented workout in any type of exercise or group fitness class.
Do you fondly recall when hand wraps, focus mitts and challenging combinations ruled the fitness scene? Boxing and kickboxing classes never really went away, and they are still popular in many fitness facilities across the country. Whether you’re already teaching this style of class or hope to in the near future, you’ll want to have a solid warm-up planned for students.
The new year usually brings with it people eager—yet again—to start their yearly quest for health and fitness, after waistlines have expanded and fitness levels have dropped between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Whether these participants are coming back from weeks (or, in some cases, months or even years) of inactivity, have a tremendous amount of weight to lose or are true beginners, many of them go to the gym to seek the advice of qualified fitness professionals.