Skills/Tools for Group Exercise Instructors
You probably know that problems can occur when you combine different drugs or use certain drugs in conjunction with certain foods. Yet are you aware that a wide variety of commonly used drugs—including prescription, over-the-counter and herbal products—can affect your response to exercise, potentially increasing your risk of injury? Discover how to stay safe using these tips from Carol Krucoff, coauthor of Healing Moves: How to Cure, Relieve and Prevent Common Ailments With Exercise (Harmony Books, 2000).
Q:I would love to travel to other countries, teaching fitness classes as I go. I’ve heard of so many instructors who have done this that I know it is possible. But I’m not sure where to begin. What does it entail besides having experience, strong teaching skills and a good fitness knowledge base? I would be grateful for any advice you can offer!
Something is amiss in our industry. Despite constant confirmation that physical activity improves health, our population is getting less and less fit. According to retention and adherence expert Rod Dishman, PhD, head of the exercise psychology lab at the University of Georgia, exercise habits haven’t changed much in the past 15 years. Dishman’s research indicates that 50 percent of new exercisers still drop out within six months of starting
For many women, menopause is uncomfortable. Drops in estrogen levels can trigger mood swings, hot flashes, weight gain, sleep loss or fatigue. Menopause is also associated with an increased risk for osteoporosis and heart disease. The good news? Research shows that exercise can help. Karen Bram, a fitness professional in Gainesville, Florida, lists some good reasons to work out during this life stage and offers tips on how to approach an exercise program.
Strategically developing your fitness business is like planning a garden. A gardener has many elements to consider—location, climate, space—and the elements can go together different ways. There are as many “right” ways to put together fitness programs and equipment as there are garden styles. And like a gardener, you have the opportunity to change things around every year.
Studies have shown that seven out of 10 people who start an exercise program drop out within a few months. One problem is that most people jump into exercise without doing any planning up front. They’re just not prepared for the commitment involved. Are you ready to make exercise part of your lifestyle?
Picture this common scenario. You are just preparing to teach your regular 5:30 pm fitness class when one of your participants asks if you would mind turning down the music a little during the workout….
Everyone wants to know them and to benefit from them. Fitness consumers demand them—except
for those who try to avoid them.
What are the newest fitness trends?, we ask.
A trend, according to Webster, is a “line
of general direction and movement” or a “current style or preference.” Being trendy
is being fashionable. And in fitness, there can be a lot of fashion!
Managers and staff in the fitness industry are very resourceful. The quality and quantity of activities they produce show a flair for innovating an apparently unending blend of exercise formats and equipment. This capability is captured in the results of the 2001 IDEA Fitness Programs and Equipment Survey. IDEA members reported on their clients, programs, equipment and work environments, and painted a landscape of tried-and-true activities integrated with new options.
Recent articles have focused on the benefits of teaching new, specialized classes, such as hybrids that combine several complementary elements into one group session. Perhaps you are toying with the idea of creating your own new class but are unsure how to start. How do instructors come up with innovative concepts and titles like “Indoor/Outdoor Intervals,” “Step ’n’ Sculpt” or Yogilates®? What has to happen for
a new class to become a reality?
Develop a green thumb and your fitness career may blossom into something greater. Sound
farfetched? Not if you follow the lead of skilled gardeners and try hybridization.
Thank you for the February 2001 Problem Solver column, “Dealing With Fellow Instructors’ Eating or Exercise Disorders.” Recently a colleague of mine encountered this situation with a member of her facility. With regard to getting involved, our staff is concerned about the legal implications, including possible claims of discrimination and privacy violation. What are the legal guidelines for approaching a member (especially at the request of other members) when it is clear that the member’s health is in danger?
Every facility follows a business model, which impacts all costs,
including salary levels. When looking at these figures, keep in mind how costs are associated with revenue. For example, it is simpler to
associate the cost of a personal trainer with the revenue of a session fee than it is to associate the cost of a fitness instructor with the revenue of a membership fee, which allows access to an entire facility. These cost-revenue associations may impact compensation.
I suspect that one of my colleagues has an eating disorder and another suffers from exercise addiction. While I’m inclined to mind my own business, participants are starting to talk. Some of them are worried and asking me whether these instructors have a problem. Others comment on how great these instructors look and are asking me their “secret to success.” What do I do, if anything?
As amazing as it now seems, back in the 1970s we had to prove that aerobic dance could actually increase your heart rate. “Yes, cardio activity is effective,” our new and growing industry asserted. Once this effectiveness was established, researchers began publishing studies that detailed injuries sustained during aerobics classes. So in the 1980s and 1990s, our adolescent industry committed to making classes safe.
With so many fitness activities available, how do you determine which ones are a good fit for your business? Asking current customers is your first step to answering that question. Surveys, informal conversations and tracking participation are good ways to find out what clients are interested in. The second step is to see what other facilities are offering, both locally and nationally, and predict if your customers will like the same programs their customers do.
By Leigh Crews
Group Resistance Training:
Guidelines and Safety Suggestions
Editor’s note: This article is the fifth of a five-part series on guidelines and safety suggestions for various group fitness modalities. The genesis for these articles is you, the IDEA member. In our most recent readership survey, 100 percent of respondents said they wanted to see more space in IDEA publications devoted …
How do I handle an in-class injury? I know the injured person needs immediate attention, but what are the logistics of dealing with the rest of the group? How can I be responsible to both the class and the injured person? Any ideas that will keep me out of legal hot water plus handle the situation effectively?
You’re a whiz at creating choreography. Now if only you could remember the combinations every time you taught. Or maybe you’re one of those people who can remember every face you see, but when you have to put a name to a face, your memory freezes.
Do these scenarios sound familiar? Then read on. Memory experts and veteran instructors have a few unforgettable tips for strengthening your memory. Give these suggestions a try, and remembering names and choreography will soon be a snap.
What do I do if a class participant does not appreciate the fact that I have set boundaries around my personal life? Most of my participants understand I am their instructor, not their counselor, best friend or mom. But every so often someone comes along who asks intimate questions, waylays me when I work out, comes early and stays late to chat about personal troubles, or queries other staff and members about me. In one extreme case I even had a client who developed an obvious crush on me and became a major nuisance.