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Fred Hoffman

Fred Hoffman, MEd, is the owner of Fitness Resources consulting services and the author of Going Global: An Expert's Guide to Working Abroad in the International Fitness Industry. The recipient of the 2019 IDEA China Fitness Inspiration Award and the 2007 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year Award, he holds a master's degree in health education from Boston University and has over 35 years of experience in the fitness and health industry. A member of the ACE board of directors, Fred's expertise has taken him to nearly 50 countries on six continents to speak at more than 200 conferences and conventions. In 2001, he was elected to the International Who's Who of Professionals. Certifications: ACE, ACSM

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Article Archive

How to Become a Group Exercise Instructor

January 19, 2018

When I began my career as a group exercise instructor 30 years ago, I couldn’t have imagined the industry would be where it is today—an evolving, dynamic profession with boundless potential. Group exercise is diverse and offers unlimited options. However, finding the right job or deciding which direction to take can be overwhelming. This article takes you step by step through how to navigate a career in group exercise.
Passion Leads to Education

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Sample Class: Cardio-Strength Circuit

September 18, 2017

Circuit training remains a popular activity, which is not surprising since it provides an integrated and accessible full-body workout. Not only can you combine cardio and strength moves in one class, but you can offer a wide variety of easily modifiable moves, accommodating participants of all abilities.

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A Yoga-Based Finish

April 17, 2017

Sun salutations integrate strength, endurance, flexibility, controlled breathing and mindfulness. This cycle of postures is traditionally used in many yoga classes to warm up the body, as the sequence addresses all major joints and muscle groups while increasing blood flow and circulation. However, it also helps to release stress on the spine and promote relaxation, a perfect combination for a cool–down!

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Mobile Apps for Your Clients

September 24, 2014

Mobile apps for nutrition, weight loss and fitness put health management into the palms of your clients’ hands, so clients will probably ask you to help them pick the best apps for enabling results. If you plan to recommend good fitness apps to your clients or class participants—or if you already do—you’ll want to consider user-friendliness and whether certain clients will actually use the apps you suggest (see the sidebar).

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Fitness at Your Fingertips (or Thumbs)

August 20, 2014

Measuring your heart rate? Or need a reminder to stay hydrated? There’s a smartphone app for that. Track your run, find healthy recipes or analyze your client’s walking gait? There are apps for that, too!

With innovation and technology in the fitness and wellness industries growing extremely fast, there seems to be a mobile app for everything these days. A recent report found that nearly one-third of U.S. smartphone owners—about 46 million unique users—accessed apps in the fitness and health category in January 2014 (Nielsen 2014).

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Step Up to Warm Up

August 19, 2014

Step training has been a staple in the fitness industry for a quarter of a century. Although participation started to wane a few years ago, it has resurged thanks in part to the fusion of traditional and newer classes. Whether choreographed, stylized or athletic in nature, step training remains a great form of exercise.

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Sample Class: Push, Pull, Bend, Twist, Squat and Lunge (BTSL)

March 1, 2013

During the past decade, the term functional training has been used to describe programs that mirror everyday activities. Functional exercises are sometimes referred to as multiplanar movements that require coordination of two or more limbs, muscle groups, joints or areas of the body. There is another simpler way to define functional movement: pushing, pulling, bending, twisting, squatting and lunging! Look closely at these gross motor patterns that humans perform daily and you see an easy formula and library of movement patterns for a strength training class.

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30 Step Skills Every Fitness Instructor Should Have

February 1, 2012

As IDEA Health & Fitness Association celebrates its 30th anniversary, what better moment could there be to look at step, an activity that revitalized the fitness industry? Launched in 1989 by Reebok, with creator Gin Miller at the helm, step continues to be a popular group exercise activity. The step platform is also a widely used piece of studio equipment.

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Sample Class: Heart-Core Circuit

May 1, 2011

Circuit training is one of the group offerings that has shown the most growth in recent years, with 77% of fitness facilities offering it in 2010, compared with 69% in 2002 (Schroeder & Dolan 201). Today, this popular activity is positioned for continued growth. Circuit training’s success can most likely be attributed to its structure and dynamics. The format allows participants to experience a large variety of exercises and equipment at whatever intensity the students choose. They compete only with themselves, and they don’t have to be in sync with others.

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Functional Fitness Facilities: A Refresher

September 9, 2010

The past few years have been challenging for the fitness industry. With the economic downturn and the emergence of low-cost fitness centers, members are increasingly sensitive to costs and aware of services, programs and quality. Retention has become more and more challenging. Even previously loyal customers are likely to leave if another facility better meets…

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Preparing for Instability

August 16, 2010

In recent years the popularity of functional exercise and core training has grown dramatically. The belief that you’ll engage your core when standing, running, balancing and/or exercising on an unstable surface—and that this is more functional than working on a stable surface—has encouraged the use of equipment that challenges stability, particularly in the standing position. Even though it is possible to stabilize without properly engaging the core, a growing number of people are now training on unstable surfaces.

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Sample Class: Fat-Free Step

March 4, 2009

Two decades after its introduction, step training remains a viable cardiovascular activity. Fitness centers worldwide continue to offer step on their schedules, it’s still a big draw at industry conventions, and thousands of videos posted on YouTube testify that it is thriving.

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How to Be a Great Instructor

March 31, 2008

Most people have been lucky enough to
have teachers who left a lasting impression on their lives. Think about one of your favorite mentors or
instructors. What made him or her so special? And what can you do to create the
same experience in your own classes? You may presume …

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Sample Class: Core Circuit Training

February 28, 2006

According to the 2005 IDEA Fitness Programs & Equipment Survey, 56% of respondents offer circuit classes, while 63% offer core conditioning. “Core Circuit” provides a great way to reap the benefits of both activities in a single session. This class uses closed-chained…

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Strength Training Class Warm-Ups

March 31, 2002

Once upon a time, group fitness instructors started their strength training classes with a relatively static warm-up that consisted of single-joint movements, such as head circles, shoulder rolls backwards and forwards, and hip swings side to side. As the industry progressed, warm-ups became more varied and we branched out—maybe too far out! Today’s warm-up options range from no warm-up at all to 10-minute, low-impact cardio warm-ups, with many variations in between.

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