Do you have what it takes?


I’m really not sure why everyone isn’t a group fitness instructor.  After all, getting paid to exercise is a pretty sweet gig.  Plus, you get free access to health clubs, and you are guaranteed to get at least one work out every week.  If a lifetime of staying in shape sounds good to you, then you might be ready to consider being a group fitness instructor.  But how do you make the transition from participant to leader?  The first step is to identify whether or not you truly are a good candidate for becoming an instructor.  Here, I’ve provided a mini quiz to help you determine if this is your path.  Answer each of the questions honestly, then add up your scores at the bottom.

1. My friends and family describe me as:

a. Sweet, sincere, patient
b. Energetic, upbeat, positive
c.  Laid-back, relaxed, unaffected
d.  Intense, aggressive, fierce

2.  You are 45 minutes into your studio’s “Total Fitness Boot Camp Challenge.”  You’ve already done lunges to the point that your legs are on fire.  The instructor is now telling you to do jumping jacks for three minutes straight.  You:

a.  Grab your water bottle and take a breather.  You have 30 minutes left and you need to pace yourself.
b.  Jump with the best form you can and then allow yourself to rehydrate before moving on.
c.  Start jumping.  You aren’t sure if your feet are moving, but you’re pretty sure you’re still waving your arms.
d.  Do your jumping jacks double time and wonder why the rest of the class can’t keep up.

3.  Your “Total Fitness Boot Camp Challenge” class is over.  How are you feeling?

a.  Relieved that it is over and ready to reward yourself for sticking through it.
b.  You have a smile on your face and a strong sense of accomplishment.  You might even be ready to go again!
c.  Oh great.  You left after the jumping jacks.
d.  You can’t believe that class only lasts 75 minutes.  You head to the weight room to start your chest workout.

4.  When it comes to your rhythmic abilities, which group of people do you most identify with?

a.  Fred Astaire
b.  Usher
c.  Patrick Swayze
d.  Bozo the Clown

5.  In your spare time, what types of activities do you prefer to be doing?

a.  Reading a book, knitting, talking to a close friend
b.  Socializing with friends, being out and about, meeting new people
c.  Playing video games, listening to music, hanging out with friends
d.  Playing sports, working out, keeping up with nutrition
e.  Spare time?  Who has spare time?

Now that you have collected all of your answers, it’s time to review what you picked.

1.  What is your dominant personality type?  Fortunately, there are no wrong answers to this question.  In fact, all personality types can be great instructors just by bringing their own dynamic to the class.  While most instructors tend to be and little more B and D, many new students can be intimidated by too much energy or aggression.  It takes a good blend of positive energy, compassion, sincerity, and physical strength to be an excellent instructor.

2. Even if you answered A or C, you may still have what it takes to become an instructor.  However, an instructor needs to not only be able to complete a class, but to perform the workout while talking and smiling.  Additionally, many instructors teach multiple classes at one time.  If your endurance and stamina are low, start working now to increase your physical fitness.

3.  This is similar to question #2, but the biggest thing here is to identify how much you enjoy working out.  If you don’t feel vibrant, even to the end, you may not be a convincing leader of the class.  It will be the parts that are the toughest where your students will need your encouragement.  If you aren’t able to give it to them, you won’t be a very successful teacher.

4.  As long as you didn’t answer “Bozo” you are in good shape.  You do not have to be a dancer, however.  You just have to be able to feel the music, keep the beat and help your students find it as well.  As a friend to watch you march to the music if you aren’t sure you are rhythmically qualified.

5.  Again, there are no wrong answers here, as long as you are committed to your class.  When you start teaching, it is your responsibility and obligation to be in class every week, barring emergencies and well-planned leave.  You don’t get to call out sick at the last minute the way you can at most jobs, because coming up with a replacement is stressful and difficult.  Plus, your students won’t return if they can’t trust that their instructor will show.  In addition to being at your class, you must be able to set aside time to prepare for your class.  You can save time with this by keeping a notebook, as I have discussed in a prior post.

Think it over.  If you are still interested in becoming an instructor tomorrow, I’ll tell you how to start shopping for certifications.

Happy Workouts!

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