So … you’ve finally made it!
You’ve passed your test, and you are officially a Certified Group Fitness Instructor – CONGRATULATIONS!
Now it’s time to figure out where you “fit in.” As we know, many qualities combine to make an excellent fitness instructor. Depending on the class type, these qualities may vary. For novice Group Fitness Instructors, the initial experience of teaching group fitness may be a bit overwhelming.
For seasoned instructors, realizing growing one's skillset is an ongoing process is both frustrating and rewarding at the same time. Cueing, listening to music, remembering choreography, and observation skills are a lot to manage, but these are also essential skills that Group Fitness Instructors should possess.
However, being a good fitness instructor is not only about what happens in the studio, but it also involves what happens out of the group.
Ways to Become a Great Instructor In the Studio
One thing a Group Fitness Instructor should remember is always to be prepared for the unexpected. Making sure to have backup music, bringing extra batteries for the microphone, and even being ready to teach with neither will make a potentially stressful situation a little more bearable.
Having a backup plan for class and even an extra change of clothing will help stop you from panicking when things seem to start falling apart.
Learning how to think on the spot when things go awry in class will show how prepared and professional you are.
To ensure you are as prepared for class as possible, you have to practice. As you become a seasoned Group Fitness Instructor, you may find yourself doing this less, but you will still do it.
Practicing everything from your movement patterns to your cueing techniques will help create a class flow where things seem to flow seamlessly from one thing to the other.
Practicing allows an instructor to work out the "kinks" in choreography and movement patterns. It also will enable instructors to openly verbalize what cues they will use to keep the class moving at a steady and constant flow.
Since the fitness industry is an ever-changing place, all Certified Group Fitness Instructors require a certain amount of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to acquire (the certifying organization determines the specific amount) to maintain that certification without going through the testing process again.
Continuing education allows instructors to expose themselves to information on subjects they might not otherwise learn. It also provides Group Fitness Instructors a chance to deepen their knowledge in the science behind exercise.
Instructors should think of continuing education as a personal growth time. Investing in your professional development in the fitness industry allows you the opportunity to not only acquire more knowledge but also revisit being a student.
Strategies for Good Instructing Outside of the Studio
Thanks to the social media era, it is so much easier for Group Fitness Instructors to stay connected with their participants than ever before. It is recommended that instructors create accounts on social media outside of their own personal social media account.
Dividing accounts will help differentiate where specific content is being posted. Creating an “instructor” account allows Group Fitness Instructors the opportunity to keep their followers updated on their current teaching schedule and classes they may be subbing in. It provides a platform to offer advice on fitness-related subjects -- within their scope of practice.
Since most Group Fitness Instructors are “givers” by nature, they must step back occasionally and take time to recharge. Teaching group fitness classes require a lot of energy, and instructors need to incorporate self-care techniques to stay healthy. At some point in their career, teaching may become a bit overwhelming.
Taking time to recharge will allow group fitness instructors the “down” time to relax and rejuvenate themselves. Taking a spa day, spending time with family, and focusing on a hobby are some ways that self-care days can be beneficial.
Community Service Initiatives
Group Fitness Instructors have a tremendous amount of community opportunities that will sharpen their skills to become better instructors. Signing up to facilitate a warm-up before a community fun run, 5K or 10K will expose group fitness instructors to participants who are not the typical group fitness class attendee.
This will allow them an opportunity to utilize different cueing techniques and movement patterns. Volunteer opportunities, like speaking at a career day, or a local health fair, are also great avenues that instructors can utilize to improve their public speaking skills.
Although there are many skills involved in becoming a good Group Fitness Instructor, being yourself is the most overlooked skill. Allowing your true self to shine through all of the technical skills is what gets your class participants' attention. It’s what makes them come back to your classes again and again. When they see and know how much you authentically care about their well-being, it allows them to make a “connection” with you. That connection is the key to having a fulfilling and rewarding career as a group fitness instructor.