Focus on Your Craft

IDEA presenter and industry veteran Rob Glick talks about flourishing in an active environment.

If you ever get the opportunity to speak with Rob Glick, you’ll discover he has a way of making you feel as though you were the only other person in the room—even if there are 200 others. It’s this down-to-earth, focused way of connecting that makes Rob Glick, who is national program developer for Crunch Fitness and lives in Aliso Viejo, California, a successful and popular industry icon. Rob Glick has presented in more than 35 countries and at innumerable fitness conferences and conventions. He is also a continuing education provider and a master trainer for several innovative companies. Beneath Rob Glick's professional drive is a stream of passion and sincere concern for people who haven’t yet discovered the joy of movement.

Have you noticed any new trends in music?

The majority of instructors who teach step, high-low and conditioning classes still use Top 40. This choice is usually the most participant-friendly. In Europe I’m seeing remixed club, Café del Mar (ambient), Reggae Jam and house music. Cycling classes still offer the most eclectic mixes, allowing for diverse possibilities.

What sources do you tap for new ideas?

I like to watch and take other people’s classes, read, and check out videos. One move can inspire a whole new combination! I also enjoy watching other instructors’ methods; for example, how they choose to break down moves. Many times a new method can offer tons of choreography options. I am always looking for better ways to continue pushing the choreography envelope while keeping the process simple.

Can you relate the story of a student who particularly exemplifies the Inspire the World to Fitness call to action?

Jeanie McCoy is 81 years young and has been taking my Tuesday morning “Cardio Dance and Gravity” class for the past 4 years. She is fantastic! Jeanie began an active and athletic lifestyle when she was young (and it was unpopular for women to do so). She’s been maintaining her fitness and inspiring others to do so most of her life! She got her degree in physical education and then ran a community program that got children and adults to exercise. Jeanie took classes at Jane Fonda’s studio in the 1980s and continues her love for fitness by being in the front row of my class. She does the advanced choreography with a smile on her face.

What is your favorite warm-up/cool-down/abs section?

During warm-ups I have started changing the way I verbally set things up. I got the idea from late-night talk show hosts. I noticed that before every program, no matter who the guests were, the host would say, “We have a great show for you tonight.” It didn’t matter if the guests were A-list celebrities or total unknowns—the setup was always there. So now I let my participants know (in a variety of ways) that I have a great workout planned for them that day. I have noticed that just setting the tone for a great class really helps.

As far as the abs section goes, integration has become king. For example, I combine trunk flexion and extension exercises with isometric moves. Lately in my conditioning classes we’ve started doing more large standing movements. We extend and flex the spine with awareness through the core and bring everything together and back into movement.

At the end of classes I like to fuse yoga and traditional stretching. This is definitely my favorite way to cool down.

What was the smartest thing you did to grow your career?

I stuck to what I am passionate about: fitness, education and creation. Working hard and being professional and easy to work with have helped, too. The rest just fell into place. I am very analytical—probably to a fault—but this helps me when it comes to developing programs and creating new workshops.

How do you teach a multilevel class?

Layering is the only way to go. Start with a very simple move and slowly introduce complexity. Always make it clear where the move came from! It is important to offer (emphasize) the option of sticking with the simpler version. I like to compliment and give attention to students who do this. It shows them that making a smart choice is the right choice. I will also comment that the complexity probably doesn’t increase caloric expenditure, so students should not feel any pressure to add complexity to their fitness goals.

What advice do you have for new instructors?

Focus on your craft, and take pleasure in knowing that sharing fitness is a real blessing. Never let anyone belittle the importance of what you have chosen to do—we need more great instructors! I also feel that it is important to find a mentor, and to remember what I call the three Cs: connection, communication and choreography. First, connect with your members. Know them, and let them know you are glad they are there. Communicate to class through inspiration, education and perspiration. Finally, “not preparing is preparing to fail,” so walk into the room with a game plan (choreography).

How do you avoid injuries?

I teach a variety of formats. This helps create a work-based, cross-training environment and reduces the risk of overuse injuries. I take a yoga class whenever I can, too.

What can group fitness instructors do on a daily basis to further the positive growth of the industry?

Spread the word that we were designed to be active and we flourish in an active environment. Outreach is also a good plan of action. I recommend that clubs create special invitations that group fitness instructors can give out to people. This way, wherever they are they have a handy tool to get more people involved in a healthy lifestyle.

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March 2006

© 2006 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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