4 Steps To Becoming a Better Fitness Instructor

No matter how long you’ve been doing something, there’s always room for improvement. For me, I feel like I stop growing as a person when I continue the same patterns and behaviors indefinitely. I become close-minded and start myopically viewing the world around me.

One of my gazillion jobs is teaching group fitness. I teach in a variety of settings and it could be very easy for me to fall into the same workout structures or motivational quotes when teaching. In order to not only energize the class, but also myself, I need to find ways to continually improve my teaching. Here are four steps I try and take to always be a better instructor than I was before.

There's always room for improvement - check out these four steps to becoming a better fitness instructor!

1. Listen to your members

The people taking your classes are the most important people in the room — not you. You are there to help them achieve the best possible workout they can and hit new goals along the way. Their feedback is crucial. If someone tells you that the music was too loud, too soft, or too anything, take that into consideration. One opinion might not be enough to change the way you do things, but if you hear the same feedback more than once, it’s important to take a look at that thing.

If you program your own workouts, listen to the comments that people have afterwards. If they mention that they loved the format or it was challenging, make a note and try to incorporate it again at some point. The same goes for negative comments. Limit those formats that people seem less than enthused about.

Finally, as much as you should listen to what they have to say, remember you can always ASK your members as well. See what they thought about a particular move, format, or anything else about the workout. You’d be surprised how much you can get if you just ask!

2. Stay on top of information

The world of fitness is always changing. New research is important to help guide you in programming the best workouts. Keep on top of new developments, such as the shift towards doing reverse lunges over front. Thank God, since I hate front lunges. πŸ™‚

Make sure to take time to research new moves and new formats in order to keep classes exciting and challenging for your members.

3. Branch out

I can get caught in the cycle of going to the same place to work out for an extended period of time. It’s somewhere I’m comfortable, I know what to expect, and it’s easier for me to plan. The problem is that I get used to the same instructors and the same motivational cues.

Whenever I can, I try and attend classes at different locations. This way I’m introduced to new formats and new instructors, which often inspires me to change up my own teaching game. I hear new slogans to borrow πŸ™‚ and I feel excited to get back and up my game.

4. Get enough sleep & leave your mood at the door

Instructors need to be energetic. It’s our job to motivate and encourage a room full of people to work harder than they might work on their own. This means that you need to be well-rested and leave anything you might have going on in your personal life outside the room. People can tell if you are preoccupied and not fully invested in teaching.

Last year was incredibly difficult for me to bring my A-game with everything going on in my personal life. Once things began getting better, I could immediately tell that my performance had improved from months prior (sorry to anyone who may have taken my classes at that time!). It can be hard to turn off negative emotions if you have them going on, but try and keep your head up and do the best job you can for your members.

Related:

Questions:

  • Are you an instructor? What tips do you have?
  • As someone who takes classes, what advice do you have to instructors on how to be better?
Follow:
Share:

22 Comments

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 19, 2016 / 8:27 pm

      It’s always good to get that feedback!

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 19, 2016 / 8:27 pm

      Totes. It gets me more excited to teach again as well

  1. October 19, 2016 / 7:59 am

    Yes! And the biggest thing I learned during my internship was do not talk to them about personal stuff when they’re working out (save for maybe the warm up on a cardio machine) – they’re paying you to coach them, so be there for them.
    Bri recently posted…A runner’s review of the FitBit Charge 2 Heart Rate PlusMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 19, 2016 / 8:28 pm

      Definitely in a group setting I agree!

  2. October 19, 2016 / 10:05 am

    One of my major fitness instructor pet peeves is when the instructor plays on his/her phone. This can pretty easy, at times, for a crossfit coach to do because, once the workout starts, I guess some don’t feel they really need to pay attention. I mean, athletes know what the workout is and 3, 2, 1, GO! BUT, they should otherwise students like me end up trying to motivate and/or coach the athletes that are struggling or didn’t fully understand the instructions. I. HATE. THAT. And, yes, it’s happened more than once. I know that classes can be big and you can’t focus on each person individually for too long but completely tuning out and going outside to do stuff on your phone is probably the biggest NO NO ever. Grrrr!!
    These tips are great, by the way. Especially #1. πŸ™‚

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 19, 2016 / 8:29 pm

      That’s so crazy! Especially in a Crossfit class where you’re using those heavy weights and doing lifts. That’s where injuries come from! You better lay down the law haha

  3. October 19, 2016 / 10:40 am

    my biggest issue when i started group training was that fact that i NEVER went to a group class before (mainly cause i hate people telling me what to do hah). I didn’t really know what was expected of my class, and all the participants probably expected it to go a certain way. In the end i’m kinda glad that I didn’t know what the normal ‘structure’ would look like, cause i got to tailor it to exactly how i wanted my classes to go. that being said, i should probably be more receptive and open to trying classes cause i probably could learn a thing or two!
    Beverley @ Born to Sweat recently posted…Coconut Oil Apple CrumbleMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 19, 2016 / 8:30 pm

      Haha I love imagining that. Come visit and take one of mine!

  4. October 19, 2016 / 11:32 am

    YES to leaving your mood at the door! The participants don’t give a shiiiiiiiiet about what’s going on in our personal lives! Well, maybe they do, but during class is not the right time or place to let it show.
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Gluten Free Double Chocolate MuffinsMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 19, 2016 / 8:30 pm

      Totally!

  5. October 19, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    I love each and every one of these.
    I’m (hopefully) taking my barre training in January, so I’m making notes of what I like/don’t like to help me when I go through everything.
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Weather + My MoodMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 19, 2016 / 8:30 pm

      Ooh barre training! Make sure to write about it!!

  6. October 19, 2016 / 9:43 pm

    Love these tips Erin!! Especially leaving your mood and personal life at the door. I’ve experienced having to do that recently with a LOT of shit going on in my personal life and man it was hard. But in a weird way, knowing I had to for my members allowed me to get a respite from thinking about it all. It made me focus on something I genuinely enjoy and have such a passion for, which is a relief sometimes!

    One thing I’d add to this list is vary the music selection too! I usually use premade workout mixes from Power Music but I always try to have a variety of BPM and song selections. Recently I’ve made my own playlists which is fun too.

    Thanks for sharing these tips!
    Ellyn @ In Fitness and In Health recently posted…Upper Body + Cardio Circuit Workout (+ a $150 WishFIT GIVEAWAY!)My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 26, 2016 / 8:45 am

      Yeah girl I know you’ve got a lot going on! Music is always so key and it’s important to make sure you put work into those playlists as well!

  7. October 20, 2016 / 11:58 am

    It sounds like you’re really in tune with your classes Erin; group fitness seems like it would be challenging, but I love how you said to leave your mood at the door and be encouraging no matter what. πŸ™‚
    Emily recently posted…Christianity is MORE wonderful than the Best Fairy TaleMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 26, 2016 / 8:48 am

      It’s tough sometimes but if I’m ever in a less than stellar mood teaching usually cheers me up by the end!

  8. October 20, 2016 / 12:27 pm

    Love this so much Erin! I’m highly considering becoming a fitness instructor after graduation! πŸ™‚ Maybe I’ll email you soon with questions. πŸ™‚ I especially love the “branching out”tip; I get so caught up in my routines too but I do love trying new classes.
    Marina @ A Dancer’s Live-It recently posted…Warrior Woman Wednesday #20My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      October 26, 2016 / 8:48 am

      Totally! Shoot me an email and I’ll help if I can!

  9. Nicci Randall
    November 17, 2016 / 5:58 pm

    In that front lunge-hating boat as well :-). Great tips to avoid a rut in this profession! Love it.

    • erinsinsidejob
      November 17, 2016 / 8:43 pm

      Good I’m glad I’m not the only one πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge