So you've certified as a fitness instructor, taught your first classes and are beginning to get more confident. You attend other seasoned instructors classes and wonder - what is it that makes them so successful? How do you channel the same energy, passion, and skill? What are the keys it takes to be an effective fitness instructor?
We want to help you succeed and acquire the necessary skills needed to not only lead but inspire others. The following are 5 characteristic of successful and effective fitness instructors.
1. Support all fitness levels
By supporting all fitness levels and creating an inclusive and supportive environment, you can help your clients feel empowered, motivated, and confident in their fitness journey. Remember that every individual is unique, and it's your role as a fitness instructor to accommodate and support the diverse needs of your participants.
A few tips:
- Be sure to provide OPTIONS. In an UpBeat Barre training we teach you exactly how to provide options while fostering inclusion. Please note: options include progressions and regressions and do not necessarily make movements easier or harder.
- Recognize and respect individual goals, and tailor your instruction to help each participant work towards their specific objectives. Some may be there for their mental health, others for the social aspect, while others may be strength or weight loss. Keeping conversations, cues and comments body inclusive and positive is an absolute must.
- Stay POSITIVE
2. Make safety a top priority
Ensuring the safety of your clients should be a top priority as a fitness instructor. Exercise, when done improperly or without proper supervision, can pose risks of injury. Therefore, it's essential to prioritize safety in your fitness instruction to create a safe and enjoyable environment for your clients.
Here are some tips for making safety a top priority:
- Conduct Proper Warm-ups and Cool-downs
- Emphasize Proper Form and Technique. In an UpBeat Barre training we teach about FDA, the UpBeat Way™ and go in depth about the muscles and mechanics behind the movement our bodies create.
- Keep your First Aid and CPR training current
3. Be prepared
Preparation is a key aspect of being an effective fitness instructor. Proper planning and organization can help you deliver well-structured, engaging, and effective fitness classes.
At UpBeat Barre, we provide a truly plug and play experience with our monthly choreography subscription to make your class planning a breeze.
In addition you'll want to come prepared with the following items:
- Batteries (for the mic) and a wind screen
- Dongle (iPhone connector for speakers)
- Phone at least 70% charged
- Appropriate footwear
- Know your location - what equipment is available for use? Are there mirrors, a stage, etc.
It is always important to anticipate potential uh-ohs that can derail class, like the mic cutting out or not working and come prepared with how to deal with those situations.
4. Change vocal tone and word cues
The tone of your voice as a fitness instructor can greatly impact the effectiveness of your classes and is a learned skill. It can help you engage your clients, motivate them, and create a positive and inclusive environment.
Here are some tips on changing vocal tone for effective fitness instruction:
- Energize Your Voice. Your vocal tone should reflect energy, and you should aim to use a tone that is dynamic, upbeat, and motivational.
- Vary Your Tone. Changing the tone of your voice throughout your class can help you create a dynamic and engaging experience for your clients. For example, you can use a more commanding and authoritative tone when giving instructions or correcting form, and a more encouraging and motivating tone when providing positive reinforcement or cheering on your clients. Varying your tone can help keep your clients attentive and motivated throughout the class (if you're a broken record people stop listening).
5. Make eye contact and smile!
Making eye contact and smiling are powerful non-verbal communication techniques that can greatly enhance your effectiveness as a fitness instructor.
Here's why they matter and how to use them:
- Making eye contact with your participants can help you establish a connection and build trust. When you look into their eyes, it shows that you are present, attentive, and genuinely interested in their progress. It also creates a sense of inclusivity and makes participants feel seen and valued. Making eye contact can help you establish a positive rapport with your clients and create a more engaging and interactive class experience.
- Making eye contact can also convey confidence and authority. When you maintain eye contact while giving instructions or correcting form, it shows that you are confident in what you are saying and that you have authority as an instructor.
- Smiling is a universal expression of positivity, and it can be a powerful motivator in a fitness class. When you smile during your classes, it creates a welcoming and friendly environment that can help participants feel more comfortable and motivated. Smiling can also help you create a positive mood, which can enhance the overall experience of your class and encourage participants to push themselves harder. We have a whole blog post on how this is the best way to communicate as a fitness instructor - see that HERE.
Did you just want 5?? Let's add one more tip to being the best instructor -
6 - Begin and end ON TIME.
Not only does this respect your participants, but it respects other instructors, provides expectations and establishes routines which ultimately gives you credibility and shows that you are a true professional.
In conclusion, being an effective fitness instructor goes beyond just knowing the exercises and techniques. It involves creating a supportive and inclusive environment, prioritizing safety, being well-prepared, using appropriate vocal tone, making eye contact and smiling, and respecting participants' time by starting and ending classes punctually.
Remember, as a fitness instructor, you play a vital role in motivating, inspiring, and guiding your participants on their fitness journey. By being mindful of your approach, communication, and class management, you can create a dynamic and effective fitness class.
So, whether you're a seasoned fitness instructor or just starting out, keep these tips in mind to be an effective fitness instructor. Happy instructing!