Amber Long by Amber Long
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Group fitness instructors commonly teach multiple formats in multiple locations. Preparation is the key to presenting a smooth class and delivering a positive customer experience in any setting. Here are eight items every instructor should have in his or her gym bag to be ready to teach in any situation.

1. A change of clothing

Keep a spare set of shoes, socks, apparel and underwear in your gym bag or the trunk of your car just in case you forget something or need to sub a class at the last minute.

2. Music options

Instructors rely heavily on technology to set the tone for class. But sometimes you lose your IPOD or the auxiliary cord goes missing. In the event of a stereo complication, carry a back-up music mode like a hard copy CD. You might even want to keep an extra auxiliary cord in your bag. What about those times when music isn’t even an option? It is a good idea to have a plan of how you would handle a complete stereo break down.

3. Extra batteries

Shouting over music can wreak havoc on your vocal cords. Sometimes the battery charger or the backup batteries are misplaced. Be prepared with your own batteries, including both AA and AAA.

4. Microphone adaptations

Sometimes you show up to teach and the headset of the microphone is broken, or it just won’t stay on your head. Carry a headband, bandana or something that will help you keep the microphone affixed securely in place.

5. Glucose tablets or hard candy

It’s likely that you may teach someone who has diabetes and may require glucose monitoring. Be prepared to help stabilize blood sugar. This can also be helpful for the person who forgot to eat lunch and experiences light-headedness. Assist these clients with a glucose tablet, water, rest and attention. Along those lines, make sure you know each facility’s risk-management procedures. Learn how to report accidents or incidents, and be certain you know where emergency equipment is located.

6. Non-perishable snacks

Sometimes hunger strikes without warning. Carry nuts or protein bars to help you fuel up between sessions. Plan for daily nutrition and keep non-perishables in your bag for the days you are running late or need extra fuel.

7. Session tracking method

Group fitness coordinators have a lot of people to pay and mistakes may happen, so it’s a good idea to log the classes you teach in a notebook or on a smart phone. Check your paycheck to make sure that everything is accurate. And don’t forget to track total wages, especially if you are an independent contractor, as you will need to fill out a 1099 when you file your income taxes.

8. Business cards

Make it simple for your students or clients to contact you by having business cards printed and ready to hand out.

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