I have loved working out ever since my first bench press. Powerlifting was my intro to working out outside of sports. Pilates and yoga were my intro to group fitness and then I started taking cycling, Zumba, tabata and finally became a group fitness instructor last year.
Moving to Denver I get to learn from some of the best fitness instructors and when one of my favorite instructors offered me a job I jumped at the opportunity! Well, I jumped, planked, burpeed, mountain climbed and did a few more body weight moves during my audition (haha!).
Since I started working as a group fitness instructor I learned some of the most important skills a group fitness instructor should (in my experience ) have! I don’t share these to be all yeah, look at me I’m a professional now. Not at all! I’m still new to this trade. In fact I am always learning and always reading about other group fitness instructors experiences because I find them so helpful for my own classes. So that’s why I am writing this blog post to share what I have learned are great skills to have as a group fitness instructor and to share with some of you!
1. Be PREPARED!
One of the first things I needed to learn was how to structure a class that was timed. I had never done that before! I always would look at a workout, walk into a gym and just start and go until I was done. I never put a time cap on it so I learned in order to be prepared, I need to plan my group fitness workouts ahead of time and make sure they are not too short, not too long.
So here is a 50 minute workout that fits inside a 60-minute scheduled class. The reason it is only 50 is to leave enough “buffer” time for the next instructor. At my work, I am right after yoga and right before Zumba so I have to make sure I’m timely!
2. Have KILLER Music
Subjective, yes but I’ve ended my relationship with spinning over poor playlists. (It has since be re-enstated !). But have you ever been in an intense workout class and the instructor played Rolling Through the Deep by Adele? UH , NO THANKS! Not motivating, nope nope. Please leave Adele for when you are singing in the car and getting out some nerves before a Medical Nutrition Therapy exam…
But for a workout? Nah, dog. Leave it away. I like a variety of music , except country. In my playlists I have a lot of electronic music which is a broad term. I have bass-heavy songs, I have early 2000s pop, 90s Hip Hop, Led Zeppelin, K-Pop. VaRIEtY!
Here is a 50 minute Spotify playlist to go along with the 50-minute Total Body Conditioning workout!
Another fun thing to do as an instructor is ask your members what their fave workout jams are. They get extra fired up when their song comes on!
3. Think On The FLY!
Okay, so one of my classes is on the main fitness floor. Its one of my most popular group fitness classes and it fills up quickly. I use a lot of different equipment that I lay down ahead of class (again to be prepared) and sometime, people who are not in my class walk away with my equipment!
Mats, BOSU, Stability Balls, Kettlebells will all just be gone after warm up so even though I prepared my class and what workouts we were doing, I have to think on the fly for a replacement. It needs to make sense too. By that I mean if I want to not do legs 4 times in a row or want to not do too many moves that require impact on the wrists, I gotta be strategic!
4. Be INCLUSIVE
This one. So I know my own fitness level and often find myself thinking the moves aren’t hard enough. I am insecure sometimes that people will think my class is too easy. I learned though that my population has a wide range of fitness levels. I have had people come to my class that have never been in a gym before and people who are personal trainers themselves.
Tailoring a workout so that moves can be modified, or people can challenge themselves is important. I find keeping moves relatively simple to explain and then layering is helpful. This is especially helpful with my clients who speak a different language. A squat is easier to explain than a single leg deadlift with a knee drive… even the English version might have some people going huh?
So not only is it important to be inclusive of all fitness levels but of all people in general. Not everyone is a fitness zealot, some people have knee injuries, some people are pregnant, some hate sweating a lot so you just have to be inclusive of all of your potential members!
Which leads me to number 5…
5. Ask For FEEDBACK!
What do members like? What don’t they like? I always solicit feedback from my members because 1. I want to know, did they like what they did? and 2. because I know I like telling instructors when I loved something. When my kickboxing instructor puts together an amazing 16-count combo, I want to tell her! Or if a new gym opens up and they have a weight-lifting only class new to the schedule I am ecstatic and want to let them know!
I try to mix it up of course so it’s not boring but I find that at some point in group fitness classes people have a loose expectation of what they will get. Instead of completely changing everything, I think it’s best practice to ask the #fitfam what they like and do more of that.
Are you a group fitness instructor? What are your tips?!
Not a fitness instructor but go to group exercise classes? What traits does your favorite instructor have?
Leave them in the comments!