The other week I filmed a video about nervous energy and all the ways we can use it to our advantage before we teach class. Nervous energy can inspire us to cultivate our skill set and deliver a class that goes above and beyond, but sometimes nervous energy can be more extreme and we can feel overwhelmed. When it goes beyond pre-class jitters, nervous energy can suffocate our natural charisma and personality and zap the joy out of teaching. What are some things we can do, if we struggle with these uncomfortable feelings? Here are eight tools to try:
- Plan, Prepare, and Practice. The more prepared we are, the less nervous we’ll feel. Being prepared means that we develop our choreography, practice it, and have it down to a science. It also means that we prepare our music, know our modifications, and have extra choreography just in case a move doesn’t work the way we intended.
- Create a pre-class routine and stick to it. I generally teach in the morning, so my pre-class routine centers around breakfast, coffee, and preparing my mind and body for what’s to come. The idea is that routines breed consistency, and consistency feels calm and comfortable. It puts us in a positive mindset, and that’s a great place to be before we teach.
- Practice a Power Pose Before Class. Our power pose is our strong, heroic pose that lets us physically express the message we want our mind to believe- that we got this! We’re a phenomenal force, and we’re ready to share our passion.
- Leave early. There is nothing worse than leaving at the last minute and rushing to get to the gym. It can make us anxious, our mind gets frazzled, and that’s not a great start.
- Get to class early. If we leave early, we get to class early. This means that we have time to set up our equipment, music, mic, and anything else we need. It also means that we can set the tone for our participants on the importance of arriving early and being prepared.
- Greet everyone as they walk in. When we get to class early, we have time to make that personal connection with every participant. This builds connection and gives us a boost of confidence.
- Plan something funny. Plan a joke, or an ice breaker to set the tone, or just share a quick fitness tip to warm up the group and get everyone centered.
- Practice mental imagery. Athletes do it. They visualize themselves crossing the finish line or winning the game. We can visualize the end of class when everyone is sweaty and happy and we feel accomplished.
Practice these eight tools, and before long we can turn a serious case of nerves into pre-class jitters that inspire, rather than overwhelm before we set out to save the world.
Keep doing what you love, and loving what you do ~ Angie
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, http://www.angiemillerfitness.com