Whether you're just getting started as a group fitness instructor, or you’ve been leading group exercise classes for years, you’ll always find new opportunities to improve your teaching skills and attract more participants to your classes. In fact, you could say there’s a “formula” for being a great instructor. Check out this roundup of tried-and-true tenets for strengthening your group X game. You can click on any of the links below for more guidance on the corresponding topics.
What to Expect When Teaching a New Class
Teaching an entire fitness class for the first time, or even just teaching a new format, can feel nerve-wracking. Luckily, preparing for your first class helps ensure a smooth experience before, during and afterward. It’s easier than you might imagine!
Why You Want to Say Yes to Subbing
Subbing might seem like a nice favor to do for another instructor—and it is—but it’s also a savvy way to showcase your skills and talents so you can attract more people to your own classes (or pick up more regular timeslots!). Ultimately, it helps you grow as an instructor in ways that you might not expect.
How to Save Your Voice
Playing awesome music in class helps create great energy, but your voice—i.e., how you cue and communicate to participants—is probably most important. For example, misusing cueing techniques and careless voice projection are likely to irritate participants at best and potentially damage your vocal cords at worst. Manage voice control to increase your chances of long-term success as an instructor.
Best Ways to React to Negative Comments from Participants
Any instructor would rather receive compliments over criticism about their class. But less-than-positive feedback is a reality in group exercise—we’ve all been there. Fortunately there’s a system for dealing with negative feedback that makes it a lot easier to discern what to pay attention to for your professional development and what you can overlook for your sanity.
Why First Impressions Count with New Participants
It’s relatively easy to teach your regular participants because they already know you and like you. Plus, you’re familiar with their preferences and abilities. It’s more challenging to make the right impression with new participants coming to your class for the first time. Your ability to welcome newcomers might be the motivation they need to stay active. Not to mention it’ll help you grow class numbers! Don’t forget to learn participants’ names along the way.
Smart Ideas for Teaching Better Breakdowns
In an ideal class, all your participants would be able to expertly perform the exercises or sequences you show them. Too bad it rarely works out that way. Fortunately, you can use multiple breakdown techniques to help participants “get” an exercise or be able to do it more effectively.
What You Can Do to Stand Out as an Instructor
Oftentimes, the most popular instructors are the ones that know how to build a community of loyal followers. But to create a fitness community that will rally around you, you must understand, and promote, your own personal brand as a group fitness instructor. Knowing your niche is a big part of becoming a stand-out instructor at the facilities where you teach.
Amanda Vogel, MA, human kinetics, is a self-employed fitness instructor, presenter and writer in Vancouver, B.C. In addition to being a social media consultant, Amanda tests fitness gadgets, gear and clothes and writes about them on her blog www.FitnessTestDrive.com. Find Amanda at @amandavogel on Twitter, @amandavogelfitness on Instagram and @FitnessWriter on Facebook.