I've been a fitness instructor for years, and I'm still learning something new every day! If you're a fitness instructor or interested in becoming one, I want to give you a leg up by telling you a few things I wish I'd known when I was first starting out. Here are my top 5 secret tips:
1. Be a leader EVERY day
All you people who don't know me as well, and only see me in class…You probably take one look at my bubbly personality and think I never have a bad day! But for the people who know me better (sorry, husband and girls!!) you know that I do in fact have bad days here and there! 😉
But, when you're starting out as a fitness instructor, one of the most important things you can do is understand that if you're having a bad day, you DO kind of need to fake it. Now, I know usually faking being happy is seen as bad, but I would argue in some cases it's actually really good. Let's say you're having a bad day and don't feel like leading the class. Your class is going to pick up on that energy (or lack of). And it's going to affect them.
As a fitness instructor, even if you're not feeling it for one reason or another…if you are up there in front with everyone waiting on you to lead by example…it's time to go ahead and fake it, and pump up everyone else!! The saying "fake it till you make it" really does have some truth to it.
2. It's okay to modify the workouts!!
Here's another way of interpreting "fake it till you make it"…If there's a move you can't quite do, then it is completely, completely fine to do a modified version. This is true not only for those taking a fitness class, but it's 100% true for fitness instructors too! Nobody can do EVERY single move out there and so there is never any shame in modifying it and doing what works best for you.
You may have seen me as a cast member in Chalene Johnson's PiYo! They call me "The Modifier" and I feel GREAT about it – because so, so many people NEED a modified version of a certain move, especially because it's Pilates and yoga we're talking about here! It's definitely intense! All my awesome ladies and dudes out there who are strong and flexible in their own right, but can't do a certain move, need to be able to keep going with the modified version! And so that means you, as a fitness instructor, need to show them how.
3. You can't control anyone else’s actions
However, one thing to keep in mind as a fitness instructor is, no matter HOW HARD you try…no matter how much one-on-one time you spend with each person in the class…some people WILL drop your class.
You can't take it personally, because people have their own life issues and personal circumstances going on that you don't know about. Sometimes that means they have to drop your class, other times it just means they will clearly struggle to be motivated. So don't take a dropped class or a student with attitude as a sign that you are not a good fitness instructor…Instead, make people feel as important and empowered as you can, and that means you're already an amazing fitness instructor! Nobody has a "100% graduation rate" of all students, and that's just life. You still get to help so so many people!
4. Safety is important
I know you might be hearing alarm bells at the fact that I say "safety is important" is a tip I wish I'd known…Obviously, I already knew that safety is important, even before I became a fitness instructor!
But, the thing is, fitness instructors are always learning new safety tips, both for themselves and for their students. When you think of "safety issues" in a fitness class, you probably think about things like accidentally crashing into each other, or getting hit with a piece of equipment, or something like that.
The most important part of safety in a fitness class that might fly under the radar is: making sure everyone is using the proper form! Try to keep an eye on everyone in your class, whether they're doing squats with their knees and feet not properly aligned, or their back is hunched…These things can cause people pain over time. And obviously, pain is not something you want them to get from your exercise class. Except for the GOOD pain! 😉
5. Don't be afraid to try something NEW
Speaking of good pain…
The most important thing a fitness instructor can do, in my opinion, is to always keep everyone on their toes! (Although, not literally because that would get pretty boring.) I mean, always switch up the workouts. I know some types of fitness classes do tend to fall into the same routine, but try to always be thinking up new, exciting ways of approaching the exercises, so nobody gets bored!
If you want to avoid workout boredom at all costs (whether you are a fitness instructor, a student, or both) can I recommend trying PiYo or maybe some SoulFUSION? These are a combination of Pilates and yoga, without being either…but combining all the cardiovascular, muscular, and flexibility benefits you and your muscles need. Learn more about what I do and PiYo, and how you can join me either as an instructor or a student, CLICK HERE! To learn more about my newest creation SoulFUSION, CLICK HERE. If you would like to participate in one of my weekend Virtual Classes, or an On-Demand classes, CLICK HERE.