Have you forgotten your roots? Did you become a group fitness instructor because you loved taking classes? Once you become a teacher, you sometimes lose touch with that spark of joy you felt in the beginning. Sure, you may attend continuing education workshops, but you don’t even think about attending classes in your own facility. Maybe it’s time to rethink that. Attending someone else’s class may be just what you need to supplement your education and growth.
For years, group exercise instructors have been debating the topic of creativity. The controversy usually arises when facilities license preprogrammed classes. Some instructors argue that preprogramming limits creativity. They feel that “free-style” classes are more creative and are better suited for advanced participants, who “crave complex movements.”
The fitness industry’s reach extends far and wide. In venues ranging from small fitness studios in large cities to huge recreational health and fitness centers in small towns, scores of people rely on fitness professionals for guidance. While personal trainers bring in considerable revenue, group exercise (GX) instructors, on average, might actually “touch” more people. With this in mind, why aren’t there more opportunities for group fitness instructors to teach full-time? The answer is not that simple.
Bands, Body Bars®, dumbbells, balls (of all shapes and sizes), discs and rollers—our equipment lists have grown considerably longer over the past few years. If you think it’s overwhelming for you as the instructor, imagine how students must feel! Have you fallen into the trap of always making class “different and interesting”? If so, is this for your students or for you? The desire to offer variety is one thing, but participants can still be challenged and motivated with only one or two pieces of equipment—or maybe with none at all!
If you’re an introvert who never dreamed you could be an effective instructor, you are not alone. Luckily, there’s a place for everyone at the front of the room. Even if you have made it over the initial obstacle of facing a crowd looking at you for direction, you may still encounter challenges. Here are some tips from successful introverted instructors on how to excel.
“Tell yourself that you only need to bring it to one person, and your mission is accomplished. As corny as it sounds, find a catch phrase that works for you and use it during your class.”
When people think of a group fitness instructor, they likely picture a “cheerleader” type. An outgoing, enthusiastic performer. In other words, an extrovert. However, the reason that so-called extroverted qualities are typically associated with an instructor is because many people hold a misconception about what being an introvert really means. Being introverted is not necessarily the same thing as being shy or quiet, although some introverts are.
Students come to a restorative class to let go of the stresses of everyday life—including the need to do things right and the constant pressure to improve or to achieve. The teacher who understands that motivation can provide a yoga practice that goes well beyond a few relaxing stretches and gives students permission to truly let go.
By Leigh Crews
Group Resistance Training:
Guidelines and Safety Suggestions
Editor's note: This article is the fifth of a five-part series on guidelines and safety suggestions for various group fitness modalities. The genesis for these articles is you, the IDEA member. In our most recent readership survey, 100 percent of respondents said they wanted to see more space in IDEA publications devoted ...