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?
Have you noticed an increase in postural deviations among your students? In today’s society, “tech neck” is becoming more common—we all spend too much time looking down at our devices. This requires rounding the shoulders (rather than keeping them back and down, with chest open) and jutting the head forward. The position is becoming so habitual for a lot of people that it feels fixed and “natural” to them. Help participants become more aware of this uncomfortable trend and empower them to make better choices.
“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.
September marks my 23rd year leading group fitness. A lot has changed since I started teaching. Women are no longer afraid to pick up a pair of dumbbells heavier than 3 pounds, and high impact has given way to high-intensity interval training. What
changed is what it takes to be a strong group fitness instructor. It’s normal to make mistakes, and over the years I’ve made them all. Read on to learn from my rookie flubs and how to avoid making them yourself.
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 school may have felt like the toughest time in your life. Navigating the social cliques was mentally draining and often confusing. After graduation, you hoped all that was behind you; however, fast-forward to modern-day group fitness studios and you may find yourself reliving some of your worst nightmares. While the drama may not be as intense, there are still situations that require delicate handling.
Health and fitness professionals often focus on how many kids are
overweight. However, a study in the American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition has found that not exercising is a higher risk factor for
all-cause mortality than being overweight or obese (Ekelund et al.
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.