80-90% of people prefer to exercise in a group. Why? Because it is motivating, encouraging, social and fun. As an instructor you need to take the lead in ensuring these experiences happen so that the client commits and returns. It sounds easy, and many trainers think it is, but so often I see the opposite.
Here are my top tips to being the best:
1. The actual class is the easy part…or is it?
It may look like being an instructor is all about having the time of your life (and it probably is) but that doesn’t mean the job is all fun and games. Before you even show up at the gym, you will need to spend hours compiling the perfect playlist, attending conferences to learn new moves, and practicing choreography cues in front of the mirror. This will all be crucial in executing the perfect class.
2. You are the product.
A client walks in because of a certain class, they come back because of you! The instructors presentation has to be top of my list. Introduction, presence, organisation, preparation, clothing, suitability, control, engaging and fun. All too often I have seen an instructor fly in and start muttering that they have had a bad day, they are tired, or they are flustered trying to organise their music. The client picks up on all this and doesn’t want to see it. Believe it or not, it’s not all about the instructor.
3. You don’t get paid to work out.
Simple. The instructor is not there to get their own workout. While you should be demonstrating all exercises and movements correctly, everything included should be done with your clients best intentions, not your own personal desire to workout.
4. You must be a master motivator.
You may love a good sweat session, but (surprise!) there are a lot of people who don’t-which is why inspiration is a huge part of an instructor’s role. You may be knowledgeable and/or physically fit, but can you get into the lives of other people to challenge themselves to be the best version of themselves?
Not everyone responds well to a drill sergeant style, while others hate to be coddled, so finding a balance of motivational skills that are unique to you, your message and your clients is vital.
It takes months, if not years to acquire and grow this skill. I have seen many people decide to teach because they love working out and after a weekend course they start calling themselves an “expert.” Never underestimate the skill it takes to lead, inspire and teach. Make sure you spend time learning and watching people who are great in this area.
5. Be prepared, be ready, and be focused.
Turn up on time, have everything ready and be involved in your class.
6. Take control.
Even if you are feeling nervous, a bit under the weather or unsure of where your class is going, take control of the situation and show you can lead the class to achieve the results the are looking for.
7. Know what your clients want.
See it and feel it from your client’s perspective. Too often, instructors make uneducated decisions about what members want out of their group fitness experience. Problems with poor instruction, execution and even presentation can lead to fewer clients attending your class.
It’s simple, clients asses two elements: the program and the instructor. Clients look for the program to be consistent and results driven, and they look to the instructor for entertainment, not education (that should be done through the program).
Your clients will walk away and make a decision: Will they come back, or won’t they?
8. Get feedback.
No matter how good you are or how long you have been teaching, always get feedback. It is essential to keep monitoring yourself and your performance.
If you ask for feedback, be prepared to hear all sorts of opinions and comments. Sieve out the ones that are relevant and can help you grow as an instructor.
To succeed in what you do, you need to first understand yourself, your strengths and your challenges. You need to keep learning and expanding your knowledge whilst remembering that your personality is your logo.
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