Being a fitness instructor is awesome! Not only do you stay in excellent shape, but you get to share your love of fitness with other people. There is such a sense of fulfillment that comes from helping others on their fitness journey. But being a good fitness instructor involves more than just telling a group of people what exercises to do. It takes a high level of confidence to walk into a class and command the attention of a group of strangers. While this level of confidence comes after some experience, there are ways to increase your confidence when you’re a new fitness instructor.
If you are a new fitness instructor struggling with feeling confident in front of a crowd, these 10 tips are for you.
1. Get Prepared
As with anything else, the more you prepare for your classes beforehand the more confident you will feel while teaching them. For starters, knowing how and why you do each move will make you feel more confident in your teaching abilities. Research the moves you do and keep up to date on new techniques so you can keep your class exciting.
Before you step into a class, you should have a blueprint of how you want your class to go. You should have a plan for everything from the exact moves you want your students to perform to how they will transition from one move to the next. Writing down your choreography and even walking through it on your own before class will make you more prepared and able to exude confidence.
A vital part of being a confident fitness instructor is being prepared physically as well as mentally for your fitness classes. Getting adequate sleep ensures you can bring your best energetic self to class. Learning to leave your personal life at the door is another skill fitness instructors need to be prepared for. Attendees can pick up on your mood and if you are not fully mentally present. If you want to walk into your class full of confidence, you must learn how to prepare yourself both physically and mentally.
2. Anticipate Bumps In The Road
Even with all the preparation in the world, at some point, there will be a few bumps in the road for every fitness instructor. Instead of being blind-sighted by them, try to anticipate any potential difficulties and have a plan to overcome them.
For example, keep an extra CD in your bag in case the sound system isn’t connecting to your phone or in case your battery dies. Have modifications planned for moves in case an injured or pregnant person decided to take your class. You should definitely have a plan B for class location if you conduct your fitness classes outside since the weather can be unpredictable.
It’s not if something happens, it’s when. The good news is that your class probably won’t even notice if you’re off (after all, nobody knows what it was supposed to look like but you). In the end, the good more than outweighs the bad. You will have many more good classes than bad.
3. Develop Your “Leader” Persona
Every good fitness instructor has learned and perfected their “leader” persona, or their teaching personality. What special experience do you bring to your workouts? Do you bring an abundance of energy? Are you extra encouraging? Whatever you are best known for as a fitness instructor, work to emphasize that in a genuine way in your workout classes.
4. Identify Your Allies
In each class, there will be a mixture of new faces and students who come regularly. Get to know your “regulars” and use them to boost your confidence. Think about it this way – they keep coming back to your class because of you. If that doesn’t boost your confidence, I don’t know what will!
5. Accept That Some People Won’t Like You
Yep, I said it: not everyone is going to like you. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t please everyone – and you definitely shouldn’t try. Not gonna lie – it’s a real confidence shaker when you get negative feedback. When it does happen, take what they say with a grain of salt and move on.
The sooner you stop trying to make everyone like you, the more confident you will be. Instead of trying to please everyone, focus on the things you enjoy and appreciate about your classes and you will be so much happier!
6. Command Attention
Teaching a group of people requires a whole different skillset than communicating one-on-one. It can feel overwhelming at first, but by practicing these techniques you can learn to command the attention of any group.
As a fitness instructor, your first tool to commanding attention from your class is your voice. You should speak loudly and clearly enough that people can hear you, but not so loud that you are yelling. Keep your voice friendly while still maintaining some authority in your voice (this may take some practice). Don’t just communicate with people in the front row, keep your whole class involved by talking to the crowd in the back of the room as well.
Participants are looking at you for guidance on how to do the moves you are asking. Use strong and precise body movements to demonstrate your moves so your class is clear on what to do. Keep your body movements very animated to show participants exactly what they should do.
Don’t forget your facial expressions! New fitness instructors are often so nervous about getting the moves right (and overcoming nerves) that they forget to smile. Facial expressions convey to your class your level of confidence. Put them (and yourself) at ease by smiling often at your class. It goes a long way in projecting confidence.
7. Consider Your “Visual Brand”
How you present yourself is just as important as what you teach in your class. Your “visual brand” includes how you carry yourself as a fitness instructor, but also what you wear. For example, do you wear a professional-looking shirt (maybe even with a gym logo on it) or do you wear an old worn-out t-shirt? Are your tennis shoes clean and new or have they seen better days?
Having confident body language and dressing for the part will go a long way in boosting your confidence when you’re a new fitness instructor.
8. Manage First Impressions
Your “visual brand” (i.e. your body language and clothes) is one way to manage first impressions, but the first five minutes of your classes will set the stage for the rest of the class. If you come in late and seem unprepared, your students will pick up on that and it will impact the rest of your class.
Greet people as they come through the door and establish yourself as the leader in the room. Introduce yourself energetically and start your warmup with a ton of enthusiasm. In doing so, people know that you mean business and will feed off of your positive energy.
9. Love What You Teach
If you find yourself teaching something you do not love it can take a toll on your confidence. Your classes will be able to sense it. As a new fitness instructor, you may not love what you are teaching- and that’s ok!
Don’t get discouraged if you haven’t found what you love yet. Work on finding your niche and being authentic while you do. Once you do find your niche, embrace it and stick with it. You will radiate so much confidence that people will be drawn to you and your classes.
10. Fake It When Necessary
Some days, especially at the beginning of your fitness instructor journey, the confidence just isn’t there. This is one area that it is ok to fake it until you make it. You heard me- even if you are a wreck on the inside, you can still appear calm as a cucumber on the outside. When you appear confident (at least on the outside), your classes will have confidence in you.
Above all else, don’t forget to have fun! You became a fitness instructor because you love fitness and you want to spread that love to other people. Put high energy out and you will bring even better energy back in.