Updated: Sep 13, 2020
Usually, instructors find themselves teaching because they are incredibly passionate. Passionate about the type of training. Passionate about fitness as a whole. Passionate about helping others. Through our classes, we get to share our passion. My passion is for making fitness fun for women and children. In celebration of my decade anniversary of teaching (yup, ten years!), I want to share a couple tricks of the trade I have picked up along the way in hopes it will help others share their passion most effectively. So here ya go:
1. Use pre-class announcements to let participants know what to expect throughout the hour. Also, pre-class is a good time to encourage participants to work hard but listen to their bodies which sometimes means taking a short break throughout the hour and joining back in when they are ready.
2. Use music to sync movements and drive intensity. I once attended a barre class where the instructor did everything in a ten count. Since music is in 4 counts (or 8 or 16), as a dancer, this drove me nuts! Fellow instructors: we can do better than this! Also, having a killer playlist for cardio rounds is uber important in my opinion! Need ideas for good tunes? https://www.levitationnation.org/post/upbeat-tunes-that-get-me-moving
3. Understand that while some participants come for accountability for their workouts, others come for interaction. Many people come for both! Introduce new participants and facilitate members getting to know each other, starting with learning names and one basic piece of information with which to build conversation on. I often do this as people are arriving for class. For the kids classes, we play a ball toss/warmup game where the person holding the ball says their name. Start with one ball, then add in more balls to keep it interesting.
4. Face your participants. It is difficult to connect with your participants if you have your back to the class the entire hour. This is a simple adjustment for weight lifting and body sculpting classes that aren't moving (just turn around!). For dance and Zumba, I understand it can be challenging to lead choreography facing your participants, but a great place to start is when you are moving side to side (grapevine, etc.) rather than moving up/back or with complex choreography combinations.
5. Know which exercises carry a high risk of injury and alternatives to them. The high risk exercise I see included the most often in other facilities is supine (lying on your back) double leg drops despite the fact they are hard on the low back and dangerous for participants without an already strong core. There are dozens if safer alternatives! See my pilates blog post if you need ideas: https://www.levitationnation.org/post/abs-solutely-aerials-and-using-pilates-to-build-the-core
Wherever or whatever class you teach, thank you for sharing your passion with the world around you. Our community is unquestionably a better place when we share our love! XOXO, Mindy
Mindy is the founder of Kalispell's Levitation Nation Aerial Studio, where the catch phrase "fitness is fun" is embodied alongside a culture of movement & women empowerment. Mindy is also a columnist for "Montana Woman Magazine." Her column "The Real Levitation Experience" shares expertise for elevating health and wellness that she has acquired through her certifications as a personal trainer and life coach. For more about Mindy, please visit: https://www.levitationnation.org/mindy