Nike Fitness Athlete and 1990 U.S. National Aerobic Champion Patrick Goudeau has movement in his blood. This king of kinesthetic creation loves passing on his passion for fitness to others. It’s impossible to visit one of his classes and not want to boogie, hoot and holler. Seeing someone leave in a bad mood is extremely rare.
Patrick Goudeau is also a frequent contributor to national health and fitness magazines and consults on several television shows. He has hosted many fitness talent events and taps into his engaging sense of humor to entertain crowds. Patrick Goudeu’s natural charm, poise and talent combine to make him a great role model.
What have been the biggest changes you have seen in the fitness industry since you started as a professional?
Wow, there have been so many changes—where do I begin? When I started teaching 17 years ago, the fitness industry was pretty much just aerobics, Jane Fonda, and the Voight Fitness and Dance Center in Los Angeles. It was definitely not the multibillion-dollar industry it is today, with everything from infomercials to weight-loss television programs. When I began teaching, there was a personal touch, and you had more private studios and really great classes! Now, with the business growing at such a rapid rate, the smaller studios are not as popular as they once were, and the level of classes has dropped as clubs continue to expand at an overwhelming rate. The demand has exceeded the talent.
What sources do you tap for new ideas?
I am constantly searching for new ways to make working out fun and effective. I take classes and spend as much time as possible talking to my students before and after class. I’m also a believer in doing things the old-fashioned way—through hard work and sweat! There are so many gadgets and quick fixes in our business today. Everyone wants the easy way out, and it just doesn’t work that way. We’ve gotten away from using our bodies to get results. Think about it. The only pieces of equipment we used to have in the studios were hand-held weights!
Can you relate the story of a student who particularly exemplifies the Inspire the World to Fitness® call to action?
I recently got a letter from a lady who has multiple sclerosis. She wrote to tell me how much she enjoys my cardio ball workouts. She can’t do much in the way of impact exercises and finds my workout a “breath of fresh air.” This is inspiring because we often come up with excuses not to exercise—and here is someone who really wants to work out but is limited in what she can do. She said that it was one of the best workouts she’s had in a long time and she felt great afterward. How could that not be inspiring?
What was the smartest thing you did to grow your career?
I surrounded myself with other talented people. When I moved to Los Angeles to teach at the Voight Fitness and Dance Center, the instructors there were amazing and definitely at the top of their game. Was it competitive? Yes, but in a good way. When you surround yourself with the best, you work hard to stay in the game.
How do you avoid injuries?
I do my best to learn and understand how the body works. Therefore, I try not to do anything unless I know the meaning or purpose behind it. I never take [one way] as the only way. I also train outside of classes. When I am in class, I focus on teaching and truly give my students instruction and motivation.
What advice do you have for new instructors?
Embrace everything there is to know about fitness and group instruction. Become a multifaceted professional and learn more than one or two formats. You’re much more marketable if you can teach a variety of programs. Keep learning, and try not to become complacent—there is always room to learn more! Never think that because your classes are packed, you are the best. As for the next generation, we need to reach out to high schools and universities. I took my very first aerobics class when I was in college! I’m not sure the next generation truly understands they can have a career in fitness. There are so many avenues. We need to get the message out and do some major recruiting.
What can group fitness instructors do on a daily basis to further the positive growth of the industry?
Take your role as a fitness professional seriously. Really understand the impact you have on people’s lives and their safety. If you teach just to get a workout or to have a free gym membership, you’re doing it for the wrong reason. Be early to your classes, get to know your students, attend conventions and seminars, and keep learning!
Don’t miss Patrick Goudeau’s sessions at the 2006 IDEA World Fitness Convention® in Las Vegas, July 25–29.