Whether we are a full-time group fitness instructor or teaching part-time in addition to our “day job” or any number of variations in between those two personas, it is rarely a bad idea to check-in with ourselves and ask, “am I doing my part to truly put the ‘pro’ in being a literal canfitpro?”
In a world where unqualified people often give fitness tips on Instagram (and where quality often runs unchecked), we consistently work towards setting ourselves apart from the rest and being the best professional we can be!
Here are three ways certified group fitness instructors may continue to embrace being a “professional” rather than considering themself a “hobbyist”:
1. Consistently arrive to class early and stay late.
As we fitness coaches are in service of others, AND we are human, AND humans are social creatures…building-in the time, consistently, to arrive early and stay after class to socialize with members is a positive. Of course, there are times when we teach doubles (or even three classes back-to-back!) and staying after is not possible. Ensuring we have the time to interact with members is an awesome temperature-check into their lives: how they’re training when they aren’t in your class, what songs and artists light them up (so you may snag a song or two for your next playlist!), who they are and what resonates for them and of course, consenting post-class selfies for social media. (Be sure to tag, follow, and engage with your class regulars online, too, if you use social media!)
2. Take care of your voice by warming up before teaching.
Have you found it strange that there is no shortage of wonderful new-to-us format certifications to enroll in so we may expand on what we can teach…but virtually none of them include any mention of our voice besides “be sure to wear a mic”? Me too! Our voice is our most under-discussed and critical tool for a lengthy career in fitness. Warming it up prior to teaching while in the car or on transit is a surefire way to prime your vocal folds for delivering a clear and powerful class today and decade from now. There are three warmups pinned to the top of this link, if you want to save them to use as you make voice care a habit!
3. Audio record your class and listen back.
When was the last time you heard yourself teach? If the answer was more than six months ago, or never, it is beyond time, and you need to do it! Uncomfortable? Yes! Often cringey? Also, yes! Inspiring to hear the organic moments that happen when you’re in it and cueing clearly? Totally! Grab a free recording app from the App Store (or use a standard voice-memo option on your phone) and choose a device you don’t use for your class music to record even 10 minutes of class.
Choose a time when you are in a good mood (really) to play it back. Please be kind to yourself; it can be tough to listen, even if you are a seasoned pro. When we are honest about the first tool you have at your disposal, the one which enters the room first (your voice!) and how it sounds, we can begin to peel away “habit words” and assess if we sound like an enterTRAINer or like a human Pinterest board, saying what we think people want to hear rather than authentic coaching
We believe that bringing both joy and proper guidance to members is, across the board, at the cornerstone of being a quality group fitness instructor. Part of being a professional rather than a hobbyist, is consistently seeking out new and quality tools to be better at our craft!