Teaching Exercise Classes
Attitude - Yours and Theirs
Do you have big classes? Do people keep on coming back, and bring
their friends? Are you excited when you go in to teach a class, and
communicate that excitement to your clients? Got hot music that your
folks like? How about your choreo -- is it fresh and fun all the
time? Not too hard for the beginners, but still challenging for the
Front Row Folks?
Or are you bored with it all? Maybe just likely to let 'em know
that you have a cold, don't feel particularly well, the kids kept you up
all night, the dog needs shots, and your husband ran off with the gal down
the street the other day? You're tired of always working out new
choreo, and have fallen into a rut of same-ol'-same-ol', where the music
is no longer inspiring, and your clients can do the routines whether you're
there or not?
If you're in the first category, you keep right on doin' what you're
doin'! You already have big classes, and they're growing! For
many of the rest of us, however, some attention might just be needed.
Here are some ideas...
Your participants came to get a workout. Your primary concern
should be with that, and not with whatever is going on in your life to
make things difficult for you. Take some of the time before your
class to center yourself, get your perspective going, and think about how
to make things fun for your participants. Often, that will get your
mind off your troubles. Also, the class, itself, will provide some
stress-relief - nothing says you can't use it, too!
Listen, Don't Talk
... so much. The most fascinating conversationalist in the world
is a good listener. Of course, you have to talk to cue, and many
of our participants depend on us to entertain them in other ways; jokes,
"how 'bout that game!", and the like. But if you show an interest
in what's going on in your class' minds, too, you may well become the most
desirable instructor in the place!
Change Your Music
Of course, it isn't cheap, but for almost all of us, those music tapes
and CDs are a very genuine tax writeoff. If the gym doesn't provide
them (and very few do!), they are a legit business expense. In my
opinion, it's even a good idea to get music you don't particularly like,
yourself (rock instead of R&B or CW, ferinstance), but your classes
will, by and large, have different enough tastes to appreciate the fact
that you're thinking about them, and what they like!
Change Your Act
Well, your choreo or workout patterns, anyhow. It's better for
your class, as well. When they get used to a set of routines, they
will get less and less benefit from doing them, as they get more and more
conditioned to the moves and changes. Try some ad-lib choreo on them
-- if nothing else, it'll get their attention! If they're step maniacs,
get them down off the bench for some jumping jacks and grapevine-round-the-bench
once in a while. And if they're floor animals, have them grab benches,
set them up at 6 or 8 inches, and do hop-up-step-down from side to side,
then grab an ExerTube or similar, stuff it under the bench, grab the handles
and stand up straight -- pull the tube up over your shoulders, and you
and the class do some up-on-tippytoes-and-down for about 50 counts, to
work the gastrocnemius (upper calf muscle) like you wouldn't believe!
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Above all. If you're not having fun, your class will sense it,
and will react accordingly -- some of them by not coming back because of
it. Be excited about what you're doing. Learn everything you
can about the muscles you're working out, about how to increase intensity
without harm, different exercises for muscle groups - the possibilities
are just about endless. And the more you know, the more you communicate
to your classes that you love this stuff and care about it,
the better they will respond to your enthusiasm. And in the end,
no matter how bad a day you've had before, an enthusiastic, happy bunch
of people around you almost cannot help but cheer you up, too!
Now, get out there and get after it with a smile and a cheery "Hello"!
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