Working in the fitness industry may
sometimes feel overwhelming for many fitness professionals. While
we are all interested in staying abreast with the industry, it is
often difficult to decide where and how to allocate one’s energy.
Should one learn to teach each and every new class concept?
Or, rather, would it be best to concentrate on improving existing
skills? This is the dilemma that we fitness professionals face.
Each and every year we are introduced to a
variety of new class concepts and innovations. Some have stood
the test of time, while others have been quite short-lived. Over
the years we have seen everything from aerobics to step, slide,
spinning, skipping, aero-box, yoga, pilates, and now the Bosu…
just to name a few! As you contemplate on how or what to do...
here are a few tips you may want to keep in mind.
Listen to your Body… not the market
We must always remember to listen to our
bodies. Although we may feel tremendous pressure from the market
to jump on the latest bandwagon, it is always important to stay
focused and true to ourselves. Making sure that we feel
comfortable with what we are teaching is imperative to delivering
a quality level class. If you are feeling uneasy or truly do not
enjoy what you are doing, it will definitely reflect in your
teaching. Do what makes you feel right.
Don’t be so hard on yourself
Instructors can be excessively
self-critical. Many set outrageously high expectations for
themselves and are genuinely surprised when these goals are
unattained. Does this sound familiar?
I am NOT the yoga, pilates, kickboxing, afro-aerobics and ballet
master all at the same time? No, this is not possible!”
Fitness instructors are high achievers, and
as a result many of us attempt to learn too much, too fast.
Consider re-evaluating and selecting the activities that best
suits you when life feels a little out of control. Narrowing down
your scope and concentrating on a smaller range of material will
make life much more manageable and alleviate stress. With this
big burden off your shoulders, you will once again remember and
experience the joy in fitness.
Understand that innovative does not
necessarily mean new. One of your objectives as a group fitness
instructor is to retain and maintain your participants, right? We
often lose members as a result of boredom or lack of motivation.
Members need to be inspired with change. Being innovative can
take many forms. You could add to your portfolio of skills by
learning to teach a new concept. You can however also find ways
to re-invent the skills that you already possess. Rather than
changing your product, change the packaging!
Do you have a hidden talent? Use the talents
that you already have! Perhaps you can create a new type of class
all by yourself! Do you have dance experience? Some of the
latest crazes in the industry stem from very personal
experiences. African aerobics, Belly Dancing, Indian and Latin
dances... Perhaps your concept may not be the next Tae Bo, but it
would at least give your participants a new experience. It would
be unique and a wonderful change to what they are used to. And
one more added bonus... you don’t have to get certified to do
Understand the trends
If you are really serious about investing
time into learning a new discipline, it would be wise to
analyze the market prior to making your decision. In general,
demographics dictate the trends of an industry. Today, baby
boomers are the fastest growing group in North American fitness
centers, representing approximately 36% of all members.
As this population continues to age, the demand for gentler, low
impact style workouts continue to rise. The evidence of this
trend is seen in the decreasing popularity of high impact aerobics
and the emergence of body and mind activities. Knowing where the
market is going will help you to decide whether or not your
investment will be worthwhile. Keeping this in mind will enable
you to distinguish between what is a fad and what will be more
sustainable. Another market you may want to focus on in the
future is kids fitness. Today, an extraordinary amount of
children are obese due to the sedentary childhood habits of the
new generation. Fitness for these children will become
increasingly important as their health continues to decline.
In conclusion, most of us teach because we
love it! We truly enjoy the profession and the people we meet
everyday. As you encounter these new concepts, please do not feel
pressured to surrender to the market. Do what you are comfortable
with. You will feel much better about yourself, teach better and
be more confident. Good luck!