6 Ways You Can Become an Amazing Fitness Instructor
I took some time yesterday to look back at the results of this year’s blog survey again. I realized that many of you wanted more fitness posts, but that I haven’t delivered as many recently. The truth is that while I have been teaching and training a good amount, my own workouts have been a little more sporadic. I’ve been finding it easier to just work out in my building gym after training a client and they’ve been quick, last-minute workouts.
I’m working on getting into more of a schedule and trying to find more time to take classes at Sweat. As I’ve talked about before, the best combination for me is some solo and some group classes for those times when my own motivation is suffering.
It’s been about 8 months since I started teaching fitness classes (!), and I can definitely say that I’ve improved over that time. Due to some valuable feedback and working on my own personal growth, I’ve gone from someone who shows up, talks into a microphone, and leaves, to someone who is excited to help others achieve their goals. If you aspire to teach classes or you’ve already been doing it for some time, check out what I’ve learned in these six ways you can become an amazing fitness instructor:
No matter whether you have to program your own workouts or you teach ones that are already programmed for you, preparation is key. Make sure you know the movements and structure inside and out before stepping in front of a mic. I spend time the day before a class making sure I understand the workout. If I am programming it, I make sure that it is the right length and all of the movements make sense with each other.
When I first started, I would even do a quick run though of what I would say and how the timing would go. I wanted to make sure that I gave proper instruction for each movement and was able to both demonstrate and explain in words what we would be doing.
2. Improve your music
To me, music is one of the most important things whether I am teaching a class or taking it. Hearing the perfect song just as I am about to give up is crucial to getting me back in motion and a killer playlist when I am teaching keeps me inspired and my energy up.
If you teach classes that allow you to bring your own music, spend time creating an epic playlist. Think about the structure of the workout and what songs and tempos would be most appropriate at the beginning, middle, and end. I have a membership to Spotify premium where I am able to create ad-free playlists for each class that I teach.
3. Take other classes
Taking other classes is important for my inspiration and creativity. I haven’t been able to take as many classes as I used to, but it’s something I’m working back into my schedule. By taking other classes, you are able to get new movement ideas, class structures, and motivational messages to share with your classes. Certainly don’t just rip off another instructor, but working out in a different atmosphere will allow you to think more abstractly about your own classes. Is there some way you can improve your message? What did this instructor do that you found helpful?
Don’t only take classes similar to the ones you teach. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from a variety of different instructors.
4. Don’t be afraid to connect
When I started as a fitness instructor earlier this year, I maintained my introverted and fearful-of-others mentality for months. I offered motivation behind the safety of a microphone (is that even a thing?), but I didn’t put a lot of time into connecting with the people who came to take the class. To help you understand the importance of connecting with others, think about what you like in a fitness class. Do you like when the instructor calls you by name? Do you like when he or she shows you individual attention? How about the time before and after class? Do you enjoy class more when there is no interaction with an instructor or when those extra couple minutes are spent talking about how your day was?
The more time I spent getting to know people on a personal level, the more comfortable I felt teaching class. I found that my class feedback improved and I was able to carry on conversations about what was happening in someone’s life. Remember that people are coming to you to make a change for the better, and by investing in those people and showing you care, they will be more likely to return and share that journey with you.
5. Know your cues
Along with taking the time to prepare, know your timing cues. There’s nothing worse than missing a cue and scrambling to try and get people back on track. Offering timing cues also helps people know how much longer they have in a movement. As people get tired, not knowing when they will be able to rest will tend to make them give up sooner than if you give them some idea of when the end is coming. Always make sure to phrase it in a positive way, as in “there’s only 10 seconds left. You can do anything for 10 seconds!” Even if I want to give up, hearing I only have a few more seconds will allow me to push myself to the end.
6. Don’t take yourself too seriously
Confidence is key when it comes to fitness instruction, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t make mistakes. There have been times when I’ve gotten really into motivating people and my mouth has worked faster than my brain. I’ve stumbled over my words or my “motivation” has come out sounding something like “jump off that lava—make sure your feet don’t burn off!” I think I’ve also tripped over a couple dumbbells in my day while not paying attention. It’s really no big deal. When I’ve been able to laugh at myself, others laugh too and the whole class is immediately lighter and more fun. Definitely learn to laugh it off and keep on being your awesome self.
Have I left any out? Leave some of your tips in the comments!