You’ve worked hard to become the best instructor you can be. You now have a “following” and, while you no longer feel the need to prove yourself, you sometimes worry about how to keep your classes enticing and effective. It requires great effort and planning—not to mention talent and skill—to be an effective group fitness leader. But don’t let yourself get bogged down in the “administration” aspect, which can zap all the creativity and fun out of the experience.

There’s a trick to staying relevant. Sure, you need to determine participants’ goals and your class objective, and you must make sure your foundation is based on sound exercise science principles. Then you have to create a plan that changes periodically so that students avoid plateaus and continue to reach their fitness goals. Multiply this by numerous classes and formats, and your job can be demanding. Once you’ve developed a basic template for a class, however, it’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel each time you teach. Instead, you can offer simple variations to keep the workout interesting and challenging. Consider the following suggestions to help you evolve your classes over time.

Here are some simple suggestions to add interest to your class when you have limited time to plan ahead.

  • Change the tempo of the exercises. For example, focus on the lengthening phase of the movement (1 count for the concentric contraction and 3 counts for the eccentric contraction).
  • Focus on muscular endurance. Offer less resistance and complete more repetitions for each exercise.
  • Insert body weight exercises between cardiovascular drills. Try a set of push-ups or planks to challenge your students.
  • Offer an extended flexibility or yoga segment to provide a unique ending.
  • Change your music. If you typically use pop music, consider an instrumental arrangement, or go with a theme, such as ’80s or ’90s music.

To read the full article that ran in the September 2014 IDEA Fitness Journal click here.