How to Sub like a Boss!

Posted by Angie Miller, MS
tips from angie

Subbing can be scary. When we step in to fill the shoes of someone who has already built a loyal community of followers, it’s not an easy task. But who says leadership is easy? Subbing takes us out of our comfort zone and that’s a great place for growth. We’re exposed to participants who don’t know our teaching style or choreography, therefore timing and delivery are critical. It’s challenging for sure, but subbing is one of the best ways to build confidence and hone our teaching skills, now and into the future. Before you say yes to subbing, check out these tips to ensure your success.

Subbing Tips to Ensure Success:

  1. Be You! It sounds so simple, but we can all fall into the trap. We agree to sub for an instructor who has a reputation that spreads near and far, and if that instructor leads like a drill sergeant, we feel like we need to do the same. Our best bet, however, is to lead the way we lead, and go with our strengths, not against them. Even if our leadership style is softer, participants will recognize and appreciate our genuine, authentic approach.
  2. Stay in Your Lane! If you’ve moved a lot like me, or you’re new to teaching, you probably know what it’s like to want to get on the schedule and have classes of your own- to the degree that you may put common sense aside and agree to sub a format you don’t actually teach. While it’s great to challenge our skills and grow as an instructor, we’re more inclined to be successful if we stay in our lane and sub formats where we shine. If I get asked to sub a format I don’t teach, I politely ask if it’s possible to change the format to something I know. That way I am able to deliver a quality workout and participants will have a better experience.
  3. Confidence is Key! Confidence is contagious, and the truth is, some participants will eat you alive if they sense vulnerability. If we don’t believe we have the tools or we’re doubting our abilities, imagine the message we’re sending to the members. Confidence comes in many forms, and it’s not about arrogance or ego, it’s about owning our space and remembering that we’re in charge. How do we exude confidence, you ask?

Four Tips to Exude Confidence:

  1. Smile. A smile sends the message that you’ve got this, you’re feeling good in the skin you’re in, and you’re ready for whatever comes your way.
  2. Sorry is a sad word. Avoid apologizing when you make a mistake. They won’t know unless you tell them. You can laugh it off or make a joke, but never apologize. Fitness is fun, and it’s nothing we need to be sorry for.
  3. Posture is Powerful. From the minute you walk in, to the last second before you leave, your posture should speak volumes for the way you feel- strong, invincible, and full of poise and positive energy. Posture plays a big role in confidence and vice versa. Our posture is what people see before they hear the words we speak.
  4. Sell Yourself. This is the chance to introduce yourself to new members, answer any questions after class, and let them know what you teach and when. It’s your opportunity to grow your community and invite them to join you when you teach your next class.

Keep doing what you love and loving what you do!


Topics: Tips From Angie

Angie Miller, MS

About the Author:

Angie Miller, M.S., is a health and fitness educator, speaker, and licensed counselor. She teaches at Northern Illinois University in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education and presents at mental health and fitness conferences worldwide. Angie owns her own fitness company, Angie Miller Fitness, and she is a Master Instructor for NASM, AFAA, and Kettlebell Concepts. She writes for fitness journals and digital communities and publishes a weekly blog where she covers fitness and lifestyle topics. You can learn more about Angie on her website,

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