Skip to content

Visit the all-new COVID-19 Support Center for expert business support, tools and products, and the latest in fitness-related pandemic information.

Shannon Fable

Shannon Fable, 2013 IDEA and 2006 ACE Instructor of the Year, is a sought after speaker, author, and thought leader in business development and strategic innovation. She has spent more than two decades helping impressive brands such as Anytime Fitness, Schwinn®, Power Systems, ACE, Silver Sneakers, FIT4MOM and BOSU®. Fable served as Chair of the ACE Board of Directors, co-founded GroupEx PRO®, and is the Director of Content & Production Strategy for Intelivideo. As a certified Book Yourself Solid® Business Coach, she helps fit pros navigate the industry to build scalable and sustainable businesses.

View FitConnect Profile

Article Archive

GROOMing Habits, Part Two

May 15, 2015

If you’ve ever struggled to fill open classes or you’ve ever wanted more qualified fitness pros on your staff, it’s time to get proactive and ensure that you have the team of your dreams. GROOMing Habits is designed to arm you with the tools to make it happen. In the first installment, we covered Groundwork and Recruitment. Now let’s explore the final components: Options, Opportunity, and Manage & Meet Expectations.

Read More

How to Deal With Class Cliques

April 19, 2015

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.

Read More

GROOMing Habits, Part One

February 23, 2015

Unless you’re extremely fortunate, quality instructors are not knocking down your door begging for work. Instead, you likely find yourself cycling through recently certified fitness pros who have little or no experience. They come, they go and you start over. The amount of time and attention you invest in staffing can take your eyes off the bigger picture, which is to help people get fit and healthy.

Read More

LEAD or Get Out of the Way

March 20, 2014

When someone asks you what you do for a living, how do you respond? Perhaps you say you’re “a group fitness instructor,” “a yoga instructor” or “a Zumba® instructor.” The correct response is, “I’m a leader.” You do more than simply host amazing classes that help people get fit. It’s time to think bigger about who you are and what you do, if you truly want to Inspire the World to Fitness®.

Read More

Core Off the Floor

May 23, 2013

?Instructors, it’s time to take your core work off the floor. There are many fantastic ground-bound exercises that target the core—and you should definitely keep them! However, if you learn how to “sneak” in core work while standing, every workout has the potential to enhance participants’ strength, power and functionality.

Read More

A Better Way to Determine Class Value

March 21, 2013

Class value is in the eye of the beholder. Depending on where you’ve worked and what you’ve learned over the years, the metrics you use to review, modify or cancel a class can vary significantly.

Read More

Top Fitness Instructors: What’s Their Secret?

December 13, 2012

In many sports the Most Valuable Player, or MVP, award is one of the most coveted. MVPs create big plays or big numbers—so picking candidates for the award isn’t too difficult. It may not be as simple to choose the MVPs among your group exercise instructors. First, there are no winners or losers in group exercise; ideally, we’re all trying to do the same thing. So figuring out who’s contributing the most is tough.

Read More

Top 10 Traits of Group Exercise MVPs

September 7, 2012

In many sports the Most Valuable Player, or MVP, award is one of the most coveted. MVPs are chosen for creating big plays or big numbers. It may not be as easy to choose the MVPs among your group exercise instructors. First, there are no winners or losers in group exercise; ideally, we’re all trying to do the same thing.

Read More

The Pros and Cons of Being a Hobby Instructor

February 16, 2012

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.

Read More

The Centralized Portal

September 2, 2011

Whether you’ve been forced to overhaul your current communication strategy or you’re just making minor tweaks, it’s time to bring this column to a close. Here’s the new reality: If you expect to stay relevant as a manager, you need to think of staff as your “main audience.” Employees will react to your “performance” as any audience would. The challenge, however, is that your audience isn’t captive! You have to be crafty in your delivery and diligent in meeting each person where communication culture exists today. Otherwise, your messages may fall short.

Read More

Creating an Online Community

August 30, 2011

Group fitness is the heartbeat of the facility, but not because of the blaring music or sweaty bodies. People exercise in groups for the motivation, accountability and energy it brings them. Wouldn’t it be great to capture this energy outside the studio? As instructors, we’ve tried almost every trick in the book to influence more end users, get more bodies in classes and help educate members. Despite this, we’re still reaching only a handful of people.

Read More

The Benefits of Streamlined Communication

May 30, 2011

The previous three installments of this column have given you a bit to think about regarding your current communication situation. As the group fitness manager (GFM), you must balance multiple streams of input and output. You face daily communication challenges with instructors, club members and upper management. There’s no doubt you could be more productive if you spent time revamping protocols. However, it’s hard to find the time to set up those spiffy protocols when you have the weighty administrative tasks associated with being a manager.

Read More

How to Become a Fitness Manager

March 31, 2011

The pathway beyond group exercise instruction and personal training is not exactly clear cut. Fitness professionals realize early on that adding classes and clients to their already jam-packed, hectic schedules may not be the best use of their time. However, figuring out a way to increase stability and cash flow is challenging. Since most fitness professionals end up working for several facilities simultaneously and/or fend for themselves as independent entrepreneurs, finding a mentor can be tough.

Read More

Manager Meltdowns

March 28, 2011

Regardless of how big or small your role is as group fitness manager (GFM), your success depends primarily on how effectively you communicate with a diverse audience. Each employee has a need to hear you, understand your message, store the information and act on it. Keeping employees informed can eat up a lot of time and may prevent you from getting to initiatives that could grow the business.

Read More

Communication Conundrums: Instructor Issues

January 30, 2011

As we discovered in the previous installment of this column, group fitness managers (GFMs) are the communication hub connecting instructors, upper management, owners, members and others. This can leave you, as a GFM, overworked and misunderstood. It can also lead to major issues with instructors—issues that, if not addressed, can have a significant, negative effect on your program.

Read More

The Leadership Labyrinth

November 22, 2010

Finding the key to effective communication within a fitness facility is a conundrum. With so many employees to manage, so many customers and potential customers to serve, and so many events to organize, group fitness managers may feel concerned that some information gets lost in translation.

Read More

Kettlebells: 5 Full-Body Exercises

February 18, 2010

Kettlebells, while not new, are quickly becoming the go-to training method for elevating functional workouts for a wide variety of clients. As long as both trainer and participant receive proper instruction, kettlebells can provide a safe, effective, time-efficient workout that engages multiple muscle groups, including the core. No muscle can escape a “swing” workout, so pick up a kettlebell when you have a chance!

Kettlebell Safety

Read More

Kettlebell Comeback

January 26, 2010

Despite the kettlebell’s rich history, dating back at least to the 1700s, there are many people who have not yet heard of this tool. Only recently has the product caught the attention of mainstream fitness folks. Fitness pros and enthusiasts, both men and women, ranging from young to not so young, nonathletes to superstars, are starting to find use for the cast-iron tool that has its roots in Russia. The kettlebell may not be a new product, but creative programming using the age-old device is certainly “swinging” into action.

Read More

Success Tips for Teaching Beginners

January 21, 2010

Group fitness has an amazing capacity to provide enthusiasm, instruction, camaraderie and fun all in one place. But if our mission is to Inspire the World to Fitness®, our teaching must reach beyond the front row and speak to the impressionable newbies in the back corner. With a few subtle adjustments, a group exercise class can become a safe haven for even the most novice participant.

Let’s break down the BEGIN Strategy, consisting of five simple ways to prepare for any participants, whatever their level.

B: Beginner’s Frame of Mind

Read More

How to Really Teach to Beginners

January 1, 2010

The new year usually brings with it people eager—yet again—to start their yearly quest for health and fitness, after waistlines have expanded and fitness levels have dropped between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Whether these participants are coming back from weeks (or, in some cases, months or even years) of inactivity, have a tremendous amount of weight to lose or are true beginners, many of them go to the gym to seek the advice of qualified fitness professionals.

Read More