Tips for Increasing Your Confidence as a Group Fitness Instructor

Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi

Gaining confidence as a group fitness instructor comes with experience, but if you are a new instructor, you probably want to be the best you can be, right now. Luckily, allowing your confidence to shine through involves more than just experience. There are immediate strategies you can apply to appear more confident as a group leader (even if you don’t feel 100 percent confident). Here are 10 tips for fast-tracking confidence so you can stand in front of a class or boot camp of any size with poise, self-assuredness and a greater ability to command the crowd.

This first strategy is the most obvious, but it’s foundational to the other nine strategies. Preparation for group leaders comes in the form of ongoing education and lesson plans. Knowing the how’s and why’s behind what you teach automatically makes you feel more secure in your abilities. And stepping into a class or boot camp with a blueprint of how you want the workout to play out helps quell any jitters about making sure the class runs smoothly. For boot camps, devise a plan for how participants will transition from one move to the next, and be clear on why you’ve selected certain exercises. For group fitness classes, jot down your choreography and practice it on your own before introducing it to participants.
Even if you map out how you want the class or boot camp to proceed, it doesn’t always go as you would have hoped. So anticipate challenges and potential pitfalls. Knowing how to handle tricky situations before they arise helps eliminate worry about what to do if something doesn’t go your way. For example, stash an extra CD in your bag in case you forget your iPod at home or its battery dies. Pre-plan exercise modifications in case a pregnant or injured participant shows up for your drop-in class or an outdoor bench or park space you planned to use for your boot camp is unexpectedly occupied.

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Home in on your teaching personality and what you are most known for as a group leader. Analyze what special experience you provide in your workouts, then emphasize that experience in your classes or boot camps. For example, how would people describe you as a leader? This is about you—it’s not about how participants would describe your classes or boot camps. Consider the “leader persona” you convey when you stand in front of a group. Your leader persona could be a combination of what you say (e.g., you offer a lot of technical instruction), how you look (e.g., your style of dress or body type), what you teach (e.g., class format or style of boot camp), or how you act (e.g., mellow, boisterous, funny).

It can be especially intimidating for new instructors to stand in front of a group that changes every week, which is exactly what happens with traditional group exercise. You never know who is going to be in a group fitness class, so there are almost always unfamiliar faces. Get to know your most regular participants, and consider them your allies. Most of your “regulars” are specifically there because of you; look to their familiar faces to help boost your confidence as you teach.

On the flipside of the previous point, accept that some people just won’t care for your classes/boot camps or your style of instruction. Even though it happens to almost every group fitness instructor at one time or another, it can be a real confidence-shaker. When I was a less-experienced instructor than I am now, two participants at an upscale fitness club approached me after class to inform me that my 9:30 a.m. workout “wasn’t worth getting out of bed for in the morning.” Ouch! I was obviously upset, but I still really, really wanted these women to like me! And guess what? They never did. When I stopped trying to win them over and started concentrating on participants at other facilities who enjoyed and appreciated my classes, I was much happier. The sooner you let go of trying to please everyone, the more confidence you’ll gain.

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BFY provides training for Personal Trainers and courses in Sports nutrition and Diet in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Dehradun, Jaipur, Lucknow, Gurgaon.

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