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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...

Don't Complain
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!

Have Fun!
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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