Sometimes, you just don’t want to teach. I love group fitness, and I truly enjoy my classes, which include a variety of formats: Spinning, Step, Body Sculpt, Dance… But I also have a full-time job as a web developer, and I have family, so I can be spread a bit thin. I guarantee you have been there too. But what to do when it is less than an hour till go time, and all you want to do is get in a car wreck so at least you’ll have a valid reason not to show?
Obviously, the rules of professional conduct state in no uncertain terms that you must be there. And you must also abide by your list of “Best Practices for Fitness Instructors.” This means that you must be prepared, arrive early enough to greet your students and get mic – ed up with enough time to deliver your safety instructions and start on time. Let me point out here that showing up is the most important part of becoming a Group Fitness Superstar. If you aren’t there, how can your class love you? If you don’t come consistently, how can they trust you? You must get it in your head that you will only call for a sub in matters of dire emergency. And having a headache, or no energy, or too much to do are not dire emergencies. They are excuses.
Now that I’ve convinced you that you are going to class, how can you shine even through your misery?
These are the days when preparing your classes well in advance becomes the most critical. Since you have already put together the format and the moves, you won’t have to think so much or rely on creativity and inspiration that might not come today. If you have procrastinated and don’t know what you will be doing, you should go back and refer to the log of a class you taught weeks prior that worked well. This is another reason why you should be keeping a notebook. If you truly have nothing and have to work this class as you go, then you’ll really want to focus on the next step. But let the take home message be this: The best way to combat a day in the doldrums is to have your class prepared well in advance.
Take a breather
If you have one or twenty minutes to spare before your class, take them to be all by yourself so that you can clear your head and get your game face on. Jump on the treadmill and move briskly to get the blood flowing. Or find a quiet spot (in the bathroom if you have to!) where you can close your eyes and clear your mind. Feed yourself positive images and thoughts so that you can begin to change your attitude for the better. Visualize yourself as you want to be: polished, energetic, and inspirational. If meditation isn’t your bag, then blast you favorite song on your iPod and start moving. Choose either way, or come up with your own brand of “instant attitude change.” Just know that your intention is to leave the Ho Hum world behind and get into the world of Superstardom.
When all else fails, I remember the words I once read on a cocktail napkin: “Put your big girl panties on and deal with it.” In other words and for our purposes, you just fake it. No matter how bad it is, your main objective is to not let on. The moment you complain to your class you #1 – Return to the lousy world you just meditated twenty minutes to leave and #2 – Tell your students that you are unenthusiastic about and uninterested in them. It is selfish to complain, and you definitely don’t want to give that vibe to your class. Even if you are friends with the folks who are there, save your confession for when it is all over! For now, flash your brightest smile, ask enthusiastically how your participants are, and start to feed off of their energy. Pretend that you are at the pinnacle of achievements and that this will be the class that sends you to the very top. Whatever gets you off, conjure it up right now and go! No matter how you feel on the inside, project positive energy. Eventually your nervous system will take over and feed you the feel-good endorphins. Almost guaranteed that by the end of class you will feel as good as you pretended to be in the beginning.
Funny how, even starting this blog I felt ho hum, but after projecting the energy you are going to need to handle the days when teaching is unappealing, my endorphins have fueled me with a surge. If I can do it, you can too. Just get your game face on and have fun while you are out there. Sure, there are going to be plenty of days that you just don’t want to do it. However, the way you handle those days will be a big factor that sets you apart from all the average instructors!