This year marks 5 years of teaching group fitness for me. I can hardly believe it!
I’d been taking 4 Zumba classes per week for about 4 months when I decided to make my move and become an instructor. Early on, I saw the awesome effects of group fitness: an accountability group that questioned your whereabouts when you didn’t come to class, the energy you derive from other people’s movement, and I’d personally lost 15 pounds from shakin’ it.
I knew I wanted to help others achieve the same benefits I started to see. I ventured to Richmond, VA and got my license to teach Zumba right away. After that, I attended 2 more Zumba instructor workshops, obtaining licenses to teach Basic II and Toning.
After teaching for a couple of years, I ventured out of the Zumba box and found TurboKick and PiYo Strength certifications, under Powder Blue Productions (now under Beachbody). Insanity certification followed the next year. I’m hooked on teaching group fitness.
Over the years, I’ve built an awesome community of class participants. The people who stick with it have a few things in common, which I’m sharing with you for ultimate success!
1. Show Up. Stop with the excuses and join the party. If you want to be fit and well, make it a priority and schedule it for yourself! You can’t get into group fitness if you don’t come to class.
2. Introduce Yourself. I love it when someone new makes a point to say hello to me before class. In many cases, I’ll try to be the first to say hello, but for some classes (like Zumba), they’re sometimes so large that I don’t always know who is new!
I love the new students who also talk to the other participants. Pay attention to the people in the front row — sometimes called the “Front Row Divas” — they’ve probably been to class a few times and can help answer questions if the instructor is talking with someone else.
Get ready to build some awesome new friendships!
3. Be Ready to Learn (and maybe somewhat awkward). There will likely be some new-to-you moves and phrases in classes. Don’t sweat it — we were all there once. I remember my very first yoga class, when the instructor said chaturanga, I took a quick peek around the room and saw everyone moving toward the floor, so I did too, but with a PLOP all the way to the ground. I quickly learned that was incorrect form, and now it’s one of my favorite moves!
I love to mix it up and will often throw new moves at my classes. We definitely giggle a lot. Remember that the instructor is there to help, and might pay extra attention to you if it’s your first class. Don’t take that the wrong way, we’re not calling you out! We’re here to make sure you get the most out of the class.
4. Dress for Success. Each class might have different recommendations for appropriate dress. If you can’t find dress recommendations on the google, ask the instructor ahead of class. If that’s not a possibility, come dressed in something comfortable – not too tight but also not too baggy.
For a class like PiYo Strength, if students wear super baggy clothes, I can’t tell if their form is correct. On the same note, if clothes are too tight, you might have difficulty with some of the stretches and poses.
Be conscious about the length of shirts and bottoms, too — raise your hands above your head. If your shirt rides up and shows your belly, it might be too short for class! It might depend on your location, but where I teach you have to wear a shirt (so don’t come in just a sports bra to class). I’m sure classes on the beach are different. 🙂
If your hair is long, make sure it’s out of your face. I always recommend bringing a small towel and water to class, too.
5. Give it 3 Tries. I always tell new clients to try a class three times before deciding they don’t like it. Three classes gives you a chance to learn some of the moves, to get a good sense of the instructor’s style, and will help you start the habit of attending classes. Be prepared for the first class to be almost discouraging — you won’t be a rockstar after the first class (if you are, be ready for me to come tell you about becoming an instructor).
It’s my job as an instructor to help you feel successful. If something isn’t working, let the instructor know! We practice outside class and attend workshops to help you find the right variations, style, and barriers toward success for you.
If you’re near the Chestertown, Maryland area, I’d love to see you for class! Here’s my full teaching schedule.
Do you have any extra tips for group fitness classes to share?