Teaching group fitness is a fun thing to do, but it’s also a job with great responsibilities. Any EREPS registered Group Fitness Instructor will tell you just that. Seeing the same people doing the same thing all the time can also be exhausting, not to mention the risk of overuse injury for yourself. Here are 5 ways to make sure you can stay on top of your game – and fully enjoy being a professional that is actively changing lives.
1. Diversify your classes
Mental and physical burnout can happen to any instructor for any number of reasons, and unfortunately, burnout can totally drain the joy out of teaching. Overtraining is one obvious culprit. But even if you aren’t overtaxing your body with too much exercise, you might still need a mental break from having to put your most energetic self forward in multiple classes each day or each week. Try diversifying the formats you teach. Be creative, even if the workout routine is the same, the music and your guidance can be different. Be sure to guard against boredom and a mental burnout.
2. Get other involved
To jazz things up, you can always enlist the help of your front-row students. Get a more experienced participant to demonstrate while you coach. Learning to coach more and do less can go a long way toward extending your teaching career. Also remember it’s not an instructor’s job to outperform everyone. You can and should slow down every now and then.
3. Re-use ‘old’ content
If every class has to be brand-new and amazingly exciting, it will cause you a lot of stress every time. Repurpose the programme from one class to the next to save time, stress and energy. Change the equipment, but keep the format the same. Introduce some HIIT training or kickboxing into your regular step choreography. You can also use a ‘block schedule system’, in which the blocks are pretty much the same, but the order can be mixed up (and you can easily replace a 'block' with a new block). Think using the same content every week is boring? It's actually the opposite: clients enjoy repetition as they can better perform choreography or execute exercises they are already familiar with.
4. Rest and recharge
Because insufficient sleep, poor nutrition and lack of time off can contribute to burnout, treat your mental and physical recovery with importance. It’s as much a part of your job as anything else you do in the fitness industry. Prevent or minimize overuse injury by doing cross training, and never ignore an injury, thinking “it will just go away”.
5. Your work matters
Your work as a Group Fitness Instructor is a privilege and a responsibility. Your job is important, what you do really matters. Don’t take your job for granted, stay focused and make sure you commit yourself to staying healthy, both mentally and physically. Take lifelong learning seriously and continuously work to improve yourself. The stronger you feel on the job, the bigger the chance of your clients living a happy, healthy, active life! And that is something to be truly proud of!
Photo by Marvin Meyer