Group fitness seems to be a focal point of nearly every fitness trend article you read nowadays. These classes use cutting-edge equipment, have great energy and are often a big draw for people who don’t like to use the weights and cardio sections of the gym.
Are you interested in adding a group fitness instructor certification to your credentials, or just want to be better at what you love to do? Check out the following qualities shared by every great group instructor:
1. They can work a room
Gone are the days when the group fitness instructor taught from a stage, front and center, glued to that spot. A great instructor always demonstrates exercises while giving verbal cues to help reinforce correct form. But they also walk around the room, providing one-on-one feedback as well as motivational cues to keep the participants engaged. One of the reasons people attend group fitness classes is because of the energy and positivity that the instructor provides. You never know that a great group fitness instructor is having a bad day because they never show it. They know that their job is to be an educator and an entertainer. For that hour, they accept the role of being the cheerleader and embrace their duties to make each person in the room feel special and noticed.
2. They prepare
They have a lesson plan prepared in advance, but are always ready to make changes on the fly. In order to make everyone in the room feel successful, a great group fitness instructor is constantly assessing what is happening in the room. They are not afraid to pause, re-address or change an exercise because the safety of the group is their highest priority. Their lesson plans are well thought out and flow smoothly. Everything including equipment, timing, tempo and movement progression is flawless.
3. They are inclusive
They appeal to a wide variety of fitness levels and ages. This is partially because they are great at designing smart, effective and safe classes. But it’s also because they show an interest in helping and teaching every type of person in their classes. They provide an environment that is inviting and non-intimidating. Through their words, music selection, and actions they create a space that promotes camaraderie. Check out a group fitness room next time you’re at the gym. Are there classes where a 60-year-old participant is working out next to a 25-year-old participant? When you see classes like that, you can bet that the instructor has made both of those people feel accepted and valued. On the flip side, could you imagine how a 60-year-old female athlete would feel walking into a room where the instructor is blasting obnoxious music and has his shirt off?
4. They keep current
They are lifelong learners and continually want to learn new formats. Have you ever wondered how your favorite group fitness instructor can teach Indoor Cycling on Monday, Les Miles Body Pump on Wednesday and Yoga on Friday? A great group fitness instructor sees the value in teaching a wide curriculum and is able to, when appropriate, take bits of education from one area and sprinkle it into another. They are dedicated to taking time off to attend workshops and continuing education seminars to help keep them at the forefront of the fitness industry.
5. They adapt
They understand and can teach to various learning styles. A great group fitness instructor uses their words in a wise and timely manner. They recognize the differences between visual, verbal and kinesthetic learners and can teach to all of them. They offer a wide variety of feedback: informative, corrective and motivational. They create an environment that fosters growth, not only physically but also cognitively. In order to do so, they know when to talk and when to be quiet. This quiet time is key to the learning process. With too much stimulation, participants will feel overwhelmed and their technique will suffer.
The fitness industry is much like any other industry; there’s always room from growth and advancement. There are like-minded professionals (#fitfam) to help you along the way. Reach out to those great group fitness instructors, watch their classes, take notes and model what they are doing.