I own Pilates Body by Valentin, a studio that has a higher-than-average population of males—enough so that I can [offer] a men-only class. I have retained their membership for 6 years because they see results. The men are on time, in uniform—with shirts tucked in (yep! see photo!). My teaching method is far from flowery choreography, and cuing is in terms to which they can relate. In fact, as an experiment, I taught the same class format three times on a single day (7:00am, noon and 5:00 pm), with the same verbal cues. The men’s class was at 5:00. For the men, I gave the cues just once, using a three-part command (e.g., “Eight jumps in second, eight parallel, and head and arms in hundreds for your last set of eight”). The men completed the exercises without any repetition needed. I have repeated this experiment several times, and that was a consistent observation. Using direct and succinct verbal cues is important when teaching males. Expectation is set, and they complete it—it’s great!
As in any class situation, the catalyst to successfully teaching men is the instructor. Whether in the gym, studio or class, if men have a strong instructor who has a personality type they can relate to, then it is a go. If the male is truly there for the workout, and he receives it, then it makes sense to him, and he will want to repeat the experience. Also, there is camaraderie between men and their workout “partners.” If [men] are going to be late or can’t be there, they [take] the responsibility to call. This all contributes to regular attendance.
I am a new IDEA member and relatively new to the industry. I started off in the public schools, working in the inner city in Los Angeles and New York City as a physical education teacher and athletic director. I have been fortunate to be an athletic coach for youth and professionals, which developed my interest in sport- specific training. I quickly acquired a personal training certification through the Scirion Institute of Exercise Physiology and an NASM performance enhancement specialist [credential]. For the past year, I have become fully self-employed as a private trainer, a strength and conditioning coach and an athletic coach in New York. It is something that has chosen me, and I am extremely happy “playing” for a living.
I wanted to thank IDEA for its approach to the fitness industry. The information you provide and the manner in which you provide it make you the best resource in the industry. Keep up the amazing work.
New York City
As a group fitness instructor of yoga as well as a variety of cardio, strength and balance classes, I have always asked my students to apply the mind-body connection to their classes. I don’t believe they can achieve the focus, control and benefits of the class unless they think about all the elements that are incorporated into any movement.
Though the mind-body phrase is more often used within yoga and Pilates classes, it is critical in a strength class, for example, to envision the specific muscle(s) contracting around the bone(s). Studies show that through mental focus a muscle can contract without movement. Then in executing even a simple biceps curl, the intensity of the curl will increase when the actual flexion is applied, thereby improving the quality of the movement.
Even in a movement class, it is essential that students make the mind-body connection to ensure they are working to a level of intensity that will supply optimum benefit and safety. My favorite phrase for all of my classes when I want [participants] to make that connection is, “Maximize movement, minimize momentum.” When movement occurs in relation to music, key elements like coordination, alignment and spacial awareness demand even more mental stimulation and connection to the body.
Lead Instructor, Providence/
Mercantile Fitness Center
Lake Oswego, Oregon
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