Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Business Advice, Content Creation, Fitness Professionals

Content Scheduling Made Simple for Fitness, Nutrition, & Wellness Professionals

Are you a fitness, nutrition, or wellness professional looking to engage your community and prospective clients? The content game can seem overwhelming at times, but with a few simple tips and tricks, you can have several months to a year’s worth of content scheduled out in no time flat.

Book a Weekly “Get It Done” Day

I have every Friday set aside to work on my major to-do’s. This can be anything from writing blogs to updating my website to program design or marketing tasks. Racheal Cook, whom I just started listening to recently calls this her weekly CEO Date. What you call it is up to you, but pick a day in your week when you have a solid blog of time and use it as your weekly opportunity to get tasks like your content scheduling completed.

Create a Master Content List

Create a document that includes every single blog you and your company have written. Things to include are:

  • Categories
  • Titles
  • Links

You can link the title directly to the blog or include the link on the line below (whatever works better for your mind). Click here for a super simple blog list I created when I was writing for Love to Know.

Fill in the Blanks

I recommend that you have 2-3 blogs a week going out on social channels and newsletters. If you add it all up that means you need anywhere between 104 to 156 pieces of content for the year. If you don’t have enough of your own content, fill in the blanks using content written by professionals you trust. I regularly pull from the content posted on my fitness, nutrition, and wellness bloggers group.

Schedule Your Blogs

Nowadays, scheduling features are built into certain social platforms. Facebook is a good example of this. But I find that scheduling apps are more useful. Not only do they allow you to post the same content on multiple platforms, but they also give you a better visual layout so you can stay organized. My personal favorite is Social Pilot. I chose this platform after quite a bit of experimentation. It’s super user friendly, visually appealing, and serves every function I need as a coach and content creator. Click here to check out the plans they offer.

Scheduling Tips

Once you’ve created your list and booked your “get it done” day, make sure to sit down at your designated time and get to scheduling! My recommendations:

  • Schedule certain categories on certain days. For example, Mondays may be for motivational blogs, Wednesdays for recipes or Nutrition, and Fridays for workout videos.
  • Include a “teaser.” A linked photo is not enough to draw people in these days. Write a sentence or two describing why your community should be interested and how they can benefit from reading/watching.
  • Be specific about the next course of action. Specifically use words “Head to the blog now…” or “Watch the video” or “Follow the link…” You get the picture.

Get as much as you can scheduled in the time allotted, but don’t stress if you don’t finish it all. That brings me to the next important piece.

Book Another Scheduling Date

It always takes longer than I think it will to schedule out my posts, so I often schedule an email to myself (using Boomerang) reminding me to re-up anywhere from one to three months later. Then I forget about it until the reminder pops up in my inbox!

This set it and forget it mentality really takes the stress out of getting your content out there. Although it’s a necessary part of doing business these days, it shouldn’t be something you focus on all the time. After all, you have clients to attend to and prospective clients who are waiting for you to find them.

So, like you tell your own clients, don’t wait. Pull out your calendar and book your first “Get It Done Day” now! Type the word “DONE” in the comments once you’ve taken this first step.

Good Luck,

Nadia 😉

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Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Confidence, Gaining Experience, How to Become a Fitness Instructor, My Life In Fitness, Personal Growth, What It's Like to Be a Group Fitness Instructor

5 Reasons I Shouldn’t Have Become a Group Fitness Instructor

In this world, we are often taught to base our future careers off of what we have already done in the past, along with our strongest skill sets. When I set out to become a group fitness instructor, all I had was a love of kickboxing and a lifetime of playing sports to back me. What I didn’t know was that I lacked many skills, qualities, and habits that were fundamental to a life in fitness. That’s why today I’m sharing 5 Reasons I Shouldn’t Have Become a Group Fitness Instructor.

Reason 1: I’m An Introvert

Who knew that enjoying the workout was completely different from leading and creating engaging group fitness classes? If you’re not up on Myer’s Briggs, a key identifying personality trait is introversion versus extroversion. Whereas extroverts have a tendency to really enjoy being around others, to thrive in social situations, and display a range of positive and intense emotions, introverts are the opposite. They tend to:

  • Prefer being alone or in the company of a small, select group of friends
  • Come off as socially awkward or uninterested
  • Experience a wide range of emotions inwardly, but channel it inward instead of expressing it outwardly

I credit John Heringer, Chief Motivator at Fast Action Training (now Method3 Fitness) for being the first to point out that I needed to speak more, get louder, and bring the intensity so I could motivate our clients. I can’t say it was easy, but these are skills I was able to learn and I continue to refine them even now!

Reason 2: I’m Asthmatic

If you read my previous blog about That One Year I Joined the Cross Country Team, you got a sampling of what it was like for me to be an athlete with asthma. But the truth is, as an adult I never realized it could have an impact on my chosen career path. In fact, when I first start out as a fitness professional, I didn’t have an inhaler (Remind me to come back to the problem of insurance in a later post). And yet I taught the following formats:

I never actually thought that I couldn’t hang… until I couldn’t anymore. Long story short, I started getting sick due to my workload. When I finally realized it was the asthma, instead of quitting I decided to give up my most intense classes and focus on a path that was more sustainable. I realized that being an asthmatic fitness professional wasn’t a no-go. But for me, avoiding burnout required me to plan smarter, not work harder.

Reason 3: I Was Out of Shape

I discovered fairly quickly after entering into the fitness profession maintaining a full time fitness schedule was physically and mentally demanding to say the least! When I first started out, I taught an average of 4-6 classes each week. After each class shift, which varied in length from one to three classes, I went home and crashed. If I wasn’t working, I was usually sleeping. Even 10 hour nights weren’t enough, until I:

Hey, if my job is to help others get healthier, I had to make sure I was healthy too, from the inside out.

Reason 4: I Wasn’t Skinny

“Weight” and “body fat loss” are major drivers within the fitness industry. Although those words never entered my thoughts when I was doing my research, I’ve heard from instructors all over the country how it affects the way they are viewed and treated. There’s this idea that we should “be the example” for our students. But in my opinion, the goals we set as individuals, both teachers and students, vary widely. Why assume that weight loss is the goal? There are many others:

Most students will never feel skinny. It’s not the instructor’s responsibility to make them feel that way either. But it is our job to deliver an effective and inspiring workout.

Reason 5: Zero Experience Teaching

Well… zero experience is a bit of an exaggeration. As a matter of fact, in grad school I was a teaching assistant. So I’d given lectures and led labs on how to effective qualitative research. Not to mention that one time I organized and lead a merengue and bachata meetup. But I guess that’s not the same. I’ll never forget that first interview I had.

“So you’ve NEVER lead a group fitness class before?” This was John from FAT.

I told him point blank. “No.”

But it wasn’t a deal breaker. And, seven and a half years later (at the time I’m writing this post), I’m still teaching there. And I owe a huge debt of gratitude to John and his team (especially Lead Coach Keith) for taking a chance on me and for helping me develop the skills I have today. They emphasized the fact that I shared the values and I found very quickly that it was the right studio for me. And over time, I gained more experience, there and at other studios.

The Lesson: Keep Learning. Keep Growing.

I’ve never been one to sweat the details of what I CAN’T do. And what I’ve learned in my career as a fitness professional is that, if there’s something I don’t know how to do, with some time and effort, I can figure it out. As a matter of fact, LEARNING has always been my greatest skill and my favorite thing to do. If you can teach yourself to not only enjoy, but become good at THAT, just imagine what you can do… even if there are reasons you shouldn’t.

Until next time 🙂

Nadia

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Benefits & Perks, Confidence, How to Become a Fitness Instructor, Personal Growth, What It's Like to Be a Group Fitness Instructor

Haters Gon Hate: When People Say Your Job Isn’t a “Real” Job

Not too long after I’d first become a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, I had a strange experience with an old friend. It’s 3:00PM on a Friday afternoon. We made plans to hit the beach for happy hour cocktails and he’s running several hours late. No text or call, presumably because of his busy schedule. Since I know he’s pretty flaky, I decide to go alone. It’s an hour long drive to the beach and if I get there early, I’ll have a nice view of the ocean from the bar patio.

As I’m driving, I get a call from you know who.

I pick up with my car’s bluetooth. “I already left.” I smiled. He is not amused. He huffs and haws trying to convince me to turn around. I won’t. “Sorry friend. The bus has left the station.”

“Some of us have to work real jobs in order to pay the bills,” he says.

I did a double take. Hater much? This was the first time I’d heard anyone say something like this about the work that I do and it surprised me. What I wanted to say was…

  1. I woke up at 5:00am to prepare for my day and show up for my 6:00am shift.
  2. I worked continuously without a break, serving 4 small group training sessions, 1 cardio class, responding to client emails, and making phone calls till 12:30.
  3. I do this same work 5 days a week then when I go home I plan, create, and schedule content for my blogs and social pages.

Instead, I said “Enjoy your day!” then hung up. Later that day, as I sat by the beach, sipping margaritas, I thought about it some more. I could see why my job might feel “unreal.” Getting out of work before 1:00pm on a Friday to hit the beach is one of the many perks many people never get to experience. But here’s the truth:

It is no mistake that I chose a career path that is both fulfilling for me spiritually and beneficial for my well being. I took the time to explore what I love, what I am good at, and what will ultimately pay the bills. I put in the WORK to find the path I am on now.

Being a fitness professional is physically demanding and can often be emotionally taxing too. I had to work at becoming an skilled, engaging instructor.

And I am so grateful to be able to say that I love what I do. I wish for everyone who is dissatisfied with their jobs to find a path that creates happiness, not only in their lives but in the lives of others too. But for now, I don’t fault anyone for feeling a little jealous. I’d be jealous too 😉 

Mwuah,

Nadia

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Audition Tips, Get Hired as a Group Fitness Instructor, Group Fitness Audition

How to Choose the Right Studio to Work For

When people think about finding work, they start to worry whether or not they’ll measure up to the company’s standards. For fitness professionals, this can bring about a lot of stress during the first interview, the audition, and (if applicable) the initial trial period. But what I’ve found over the years is that not every company is worth working for. It’s worth putting in some extra time and effort to make sure you choose the right studio to work for. Read on to find out how.

Do Your Homework

Any time you consider applying for work at a new company, the best practice is to learn as much as you can before you submit any documentation. That includes:

  • Their mission statement
  • The types of clients they serve
  • The size of the gym/studio
  • How they treat their employees
  • How much they pay (if available)

Nowadays, most of this information can be found from a simple Google Search, by going to their website, or by checking out studio reviews on Foursquare or Yelp. You can also drop by the studio, check out the space, attend a free class, and chat with their employees. There’s nothing like actually BEING in the physical environment to give you a feel for a place.

Know Their Values (and Yours Too)

I’ve witnessed time and time again employers hiring people whose values don’t align with their own. Generally speaking, a great fitness company will be dedicated to

  • Helping clients/students achieve their goals
  • Great customer service
  • Employee growth and satisfaction
  • Cultivating a safe, positive, healthy environment for everyone

Specific companies will have additional values they seek to uphold. It’s important that you know what they are, so you can figure out if they align with your own. Note: If you don’t know what your values are, take some time to reflect on that. Scott Jefferey, founder of CEOSage has a great list of values and instructions for how to uncover yours on his blog.

Get Clear On the Employer’s Expectations

If you’re new to the fitness world or just becoming a group fitness instructor or personal trainer, you should know that instructor responsibilities vary from studio to studio. At some fitness centers, you are expected to show up only a few minutes before class and vacate the room promptly at the end to make way for the next session. However, others may require one or more of the following:

  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early to greet students and check them in for class.
  • Unlock the studio
  • Take out instructor supplies, such as mic headset, and audio cables
  • Attend to cleaning duties during the day or at the end of your shift
  • Shut down equipment, turn off the lights, and close the studio
  • Complete administrative tasks, such as making client/prospect calls, sending emails, completing client intake forms and measurements, etc.

Pro Tip: Don’t assume that employers have written out all responsibilities on the job listing. Always ask. Also, be candid about any tasks you see to be outside of the scope of the position. Although they may not always be flexible, it’s better to have the conversation up front than to have it come up later when your needs or the companies’ aren’t being met.

Inquire About Pay

Pay is a strange thing in the fitness industry. How much you make as a group fitness instructor or personal trainer varies from one place to the next depending the size of the center, their business model, the amount of experience you have, and where you live. Here are the questions to ask:

  • Does the studio pay hourly or by student?
  • What is the base or hourly pay?
  • Is there a different rate for administrative tasks?
  • If no one shows up, do you still get paid?

That last one is super important, especially if you’re working for a brand new studio or in a low traffic time slot. Make sure you know the details before you sign your contract.

Consider Your Commute

It is rare for group fitness instructors to gain a full time schedule (30 hours in the fitness field) at a single studio. Even the instructors that teach the most engaging classes, end up working at two or three. It’s easy to reason the commute time when you’re just starting out, but as you continue to add classes to your schedule, make sure you’re not spending a good chunk of it on the road. Here are the rules I’ve implemented for accepting classes:

  • 30 minutes max commute (20 minutes ideal)
  • Two classes back to back unless I’m subbing
  • Pay must be worth it. For example, if I’m making $30 for a 60 minute class, but spending 30 minutes getting there (and 30 minutes back), I’m actually only making $15/hour for your time… minus taxes. That’s a recipe for burnout, which we want to avoid at all costs!

These are the main things I consider when choosing a studio to work for. Questions? Comments? Additions? Thoughts? Leave a comment below!

Happy Job Hunting!

Nadia 🙂

PS – If you happen to be a blogger, in the fitness, nutrition, or wellness space, join my blogging group on Facebook!

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Body Fat Loss, Fitness Advice, Fitness While Traveling, Weight Loss

My Go-To Travel Checklist for Fitness Professionals & Enthusiasts

If you travel pretty frequently for trainings and industry conferences like I do, you know how being away from home can disrupt your regular routine. All of a sudden, you’re eating out instead of meal prepping, skipping workouts, and frazzled from a jam-packed schedule and very little rest. My solution is to plan ahead. Here is my go-to Travel checklist for fitness professionals & enthusiasts.

Tip #1: Book the Right Hotel

For the exercise inclined, a good hotel is made up of far more than it’s star rating and amenities. When I’m searching, I always look for the following options:

  1. A suite with a full kitchen. I got into the habit of booking suites while trying to maintain a food budget. Not only is it more affordable to buy your own groceries, but if you have as many dietary constraints as I do, it just makes sense to make it yourself.
  2. A fitness center. Sure, I CAN work out in my hotel room, but I’m more likely to get in the mindspace for a full body workout when I’m in front of dumbbell rack and cardio equipment.

Tip #2: Give Yourself a Travel Buffer

When I made the switch from pursuing that research life to a life of fitness, I made a promise to myself:

I will never compromise my health (mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical) for the sake of a man, money, or someone else’s comfort.

Nadia Santiago circa Fall 2011

Stress can take a huge toll on even seemingly healthy, happy individuals. We live in such a fast-paced society, that most of us are hard pressed to simply slow down long enough so that we can bring ourselves back to balance. The travel buffer is an easy way to take advantage of already scheduled time away from the normal grind. It’s simple really:

  1. Arrive a day early.
  2. Stay for an extra day (or at least an extra 6-12 hours).

“But that’s impossible!” you might think. Before you object, just know that this buffer doesn’t have to be all play. Research actually shows that a little bit of solitude and space in your schedule goes a long way in boosting productivity, creativity, and innovation. Bonus for my fellow introverts out there: You also get to mentally recharge.

Tip #3: Research Nearby Restaurants

There’s a good chance that you will have to eat out at least once, even if you booked that suite with a kitchen. The best way to navigate around this is to Google or Yelp local restaurants with healthy options.

  • Start by searching “Organic Restaurants.” More often than not, restaurants that are organic will have the MOST healthy options, along with options for allergies and food sensitivities. Find out why I (a self-proclaimed skeptic) made the hard switch to organic in my blog titled Top 5 Lessons Learned After Becoming A Nutrition Coach.
  • Browse their menus before you go. This practice has helped save me a TON of time and effort. The last thing you want to do is show up and find out you don’t want what they have to offer.
  • Ask if they deliver. I recently started doing this. To my pleasant surprise, I’m finding that most restaurants these days are available for delivery through services like DoorDash, GrubHub, and Postmates.

Tip #4: Pack Your Workout Gear

It’s only natural that you wouldn’t want to sweat in the formal wear you brought for work or training. Last thing you want is the excuse of improper clothing to keep you from getting a quick workout in. Pack the essentials:

  • Workout Top
  • Workout Tights, Shorts, or Sweats
  • Sports Bra
  • Sneakers

I personally bring one outfit for each day, two if I’m traveling for a fitness-oriented training. A good rule of thumb is to consider your weekly workout routine and do the math. If you’re staying for a week and work out three times a week, bring 3 outfits.

Tip #5: Bring Supplements with You

Last but not least, bring any regular supplements you take with you. This may include one or more of the following:

  • Vitamins
  • Greens powder
  • Probiotics
  • Protein/Meal Replacement Shakes

You don’t have to bring the entire bottle of pills or the giant jar of protein in your pantry. Just pack small portions in mason jars or a BPA free alternative. This aspect of your routine is important, so avoid skipping it if possible. Your body will feel better if it gets the nourishment it needs.

Which one of these tips was new to you? Also… Do you have your own travel checklist? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Nadia

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Body Fat Loss, Confidence, Weight Loss, What It's Like to Be a Group Fitness Instructor

Hard Truth: You’ll Never Feel Skinny

One thing I’ve realized as a fitness instructor is that bodies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Those who work out… specifically women who work out, want the perfect weight and proportions. But here’s the hard truth: You’ll never feel skinny. I tell you why I feel this way in today’s blog.

“I Just Want to Look Like You!”

As a group fitness instructor, people tend to idolize my shape, whether I’m carrying a few extra pounds (bingeing on pizza will do that to you) or I’ve slimmed to my skinniest (teaching high intensity classes will do that too!). I can’t tell you the amount of times a student has come up to me after class and said “I just want to look like you. Then I’ll be happy.” But here’s what I’ve actually noticed:

  1. Our bodies don’t work like most people expect them to. When it comes to exercise and dieting, you can’t predict where exactly you will lose the fat that you want. Sometimes it comes of the places that you want it in. Your breasts and butt first if you’re gifted like I am (note the hint of sarcasm in that one?), your tummy and thighs last. And PS – those bat wings may never go away!
  2. What you see in the mirror doesn’t fix deeper, internal issues. If you’re unhappy with your life, changing the way you look may make you feel better temporarily, but not for the long haul. I’ve seen women and men of all ages achieve their weight and body fat loss goals only to set new ones. Or they fall back into old habits, lose confidence, then struggle to make it all happen again.
The Lesson:  Most people are never happy with their bodies, whether they achieve their goal weight or not.

“Hard Bodies” Are Hardly Achievable

But why have we become this way? My take is that we’ve become so used to a steady stream of fitness media that most of us think there’s a RIGHT way for our bodies to look.

  • Toned yet curvy
  • Slim yet voluptuous
  • Strong yet glamorous
  • Sexy yet tasteful

Well here’s a little tidbit from someone who is not only a fitness professional, but also a content creator… those bodies are often over-worked, under-fed, oiled up, spray painted on, AND photo-shopped on top of all that. You can keep lifting and running toward that ideal, but unless you’re a body builder, chances are low that you will ever reach it. Don’t get discouraged, though. I’m here to offer up an alternative…

Stop Aiming for Skinny

I’m not trying to promote any specific physique agenda (even the “strong is the new skinny” campaign has it’s faults). What I’d like instead is for you to start thinking about what’s BEST for YOU.

  • Feeling healthy
  • Being happy
  • Finding a sense of fulfillment

Trying to force your body into a particular shape is like feeding yourself with empty promises.

Figure Out What Brings You Joy.

Are there things that you do once in a while or have done in the past that filled you up with feelings of excitement, peace, or gratitude? Find a way to incorporate at least two or three of those things into your life every week. It could be:

Chances are there are dozens of things like this in your life, but you haven’t taken the time to formally incorporate them into your routine. Make them habits so you can experience that joy regularly.

Take Care of Your Health.

There are a few things you need to stay healthy.

  • Eat nutritious food – Your diet doesn’t have to be perfect. Just taking a little bit of time out each day to learn about nutrition helps
  • Exercise regularly (not religiously) – engage in activities that are fun and make you stronger, even if it’s just nine or ten minutes.
  • Seek emotional/psychological stability – a regular practice of yoga or meditation can help get you started. Also, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Therapists are a hugely underutilized resource.

Healthy Habits, Healthy Life

Being skinny doesn’t equal being healthy. Nor does it guarantee that you will ever feel good about yourself. But treating your body, mind, and spirit right is a good step toward finding balance and fulfillment. So, to reiterate…

My advice: Stop trying to feel skinny.

Take it from someone who has been larger, smaller, and finally landed at feeling good. Skinny means nothing. And I’d rather put my time and effort into something worthwhile. Wouldn’t you?

Good Luck,

Nadia

PS – If you’re interested in learning more about building a routine of healthy habits, for a healthy, happy life, PN Coaching might be right for you. It’s a year-long deep dive into a sustainable lifestyle of healthy eating and wellness. Best of all, all lessons are online. Click here to learn more about this life changing program!

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, avoiding burnout

4 Tips to Maintain Your Energy & Avoid Fitness Instructor Burnout

I learned the hard way that it’s VERY easy to burn out as a group fitness instructor. When you’re teaching multiple classes a day, or teaching high intensity formats (like dance fitness) two or more days in a row, your body will naturally begin to fatigue. Pair that with the added work, auditioning for new studios, promoting your current classes, and other administrative tasks and, if you’re not careful, you’re brewing a recipe for knockout. That’s why today I’m sharing my top 4 tips to maintain your energy and avoid fitness instructor burnout. Make the following tweaks to your routine so that you can continue teaching engaging group classes AND stay energized.

Eat Strategically

If you want to maintain high energy levels, proper meal timing is essential. While many worry that an overabundance of grains can contribute to weight gain, carbohydrates act as your body’s biggest source of energy. Make use of this valuable resource.

  • Eat your starchier carbohydrates in small portions before your most intense sessions. You will feel stronger during your workout, and more capable of exerting maximum effort.
  • Make sure that this meal is 1.5 – 2 hrs before class. This allows for proper digestion. If you work out early in the morning, have your carb-dense meal the night before.
  • Make sure the rest of your diet is nutrient-dense, or filled with an array of veggies (mostly greens) and fruit. See my blog titled The Top 5 Lessons I Learned While Becoming a Nutrition Coach if you want more interesting tidbits about healthy eating.

Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

It’s probably no surprise that consuming alcohol can be detrimental to performance during workouts, since it is literally a toxin (but all in moderation, right?). Not only can it…

  • lower your body’s blood glucose level, stripping your energy, it also
  • acts as a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration.

While every body is different, a good rule of thumb is to avoid drinking the night before you teach or take a high intensity class. If you want to consistently bring your A-game, reduce your overall alcohol intake to less than 3 beverages per week or eliminate it entirely.

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

Did you know that, if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated? Most people only begin drinking water when their body is begging for it. Unfortunately, you won’t magically become hydrated the moment you start sipping. You must drink consistently throughout the day in order to maintain proper hydration levels. What happens if you don’t? Dehydration can lead to:

  • Mood swings
  • Inability to Focus
  • Decreased Mobility and Flexibility
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Headaches and fevers
  • Lowered Immunity

Yikes! As you can see, for a group fitness instructor who needs to be in great shape at work, drinking water MUST be a priority. Aim for 50% of your body weight in ounces every day. This is especially important if you work out 3 or more times a week at moderate to intense levels. If you sweat heavily during workouts, drink even MORE. 

PS – This is the bottle MY nutrition coach wants me to use every day. It’s 64 ounces!

Plan Recovery Days

When you exercise, to put it simply… your muscles tear and your body becomes inflamed. That’s why you feel sore after a tough workout. It’s a natural part of the process of getting fit. However, your health suffers if you keep your body in that state for too long. If you often feel fatigued or lethargic after a week or two of intense workouts, you may be over-training. Try this:

  • Take 1-2 days off from strenuous activity every week.
  • If you must to do something, active recovery is a great option. For example, go for a walk, get a massage, or take a gentle yoga class.
  • Get plenty of SLEEP, which… spoiler alert… I believe is The Most Important Habit for Group Fitness Intructors

Remember: Your Body Is A Precious Asset

One thing that I have learned in nearly a decade of teaching and auditioning for group fitness classes is that my body is a precious asset in my career. It is the main piece of equipment I use to lead my students. If I want to enjoy what I do on a daily basis and excel as a fitness professional, I have to make my health a priority. If you agree, start adding the tips I mentioned above into your routine, so you can live a happier, healthier life.

🙂

Good luck 

Nadia

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Class Engagement, Confidence, Dealing with Students, Gaining Experience, Subbing Classes

Embarrassing Moments in Group Fitness: My First Walkout

As I entered into my career as a group fitness instructor, I was blissfully unaware of all of the things that might go wrong while teaching, especially while subbing another instructor’s class. That’s why I feel compelled to share with you one of my most embarrassing moments in group fitness: my first walkout.

The Setup

I was asked by a colleague of mine to sub a group strength and cardio class that met right before my regular dance fitness session. Since I was already teaching indoor bootcamps at Method3 Fitness (then Fast Action Training), I knew it would be a piece of cake!

I planned a workout I just knew would be challenging and fun! Then I showed up ready to deliver.

Enter Antagonist: The Disgruntled Regular

Most of the class was super friendly and grateful to be met with something different (as opposed to a class cancellation). But there was one woman whom I noticed was struggling with workload. She moved slowly from one exercise to the next and I can only describe her form during the moves as a personal trainer’s nightmare.

Just know that I’m not trying to belittle her. I was truly worried that she would injure herself! So I happily approached her for form corrections and suggested modifications. She was not impressed, but rather, she ignored me and continued to do her thing.

The Tipping Point

As we moved into the next block of exercises, I gave the class a break while I demonstrated the next set of moves. As the other students watched intently, I heard a gasp from far right side of the room “UGH!”

EVERYONE turned to look. The woman shook her head and as I continued to demonstrate, she began to pick up her equipment and put it away… one piece at a time. First her mat. Then her weights. Then the bench.

Important side note: She had chosen a spot on the right side of the room, in the front. The equipment was on the left, in the back. So she walked past the group about 6 times 😐 😅 😮

My Reaction

Truth be told, I was shocked at her blatant disruption of class. At the same time, as an older woman who had probably been attending the class regularly for years, I could see that it was just her frustration boiling over. So…

  • As she put away her equipment, I went on teaching as if there were no disruptions (despite the eyes of several students following her)
  • When she finally made her way toward the door to leave, I smiled, waved, and said “Thank you so much for coming!”
  • At the end of class, I apologized to the remaining students on her behalf. They expressed that although it was different than they were used to, they really enjoyed the class.

My guidance compass: Be kind. Be confident. Be professional.

Lesson Learned: Don’t Take Things Personally

My first walkout taught me quite a bit about having a career in group fitness:

  1. Different students like different formats. Just because a student doesn’t like your class, it doesn’t mean it isn’t great. It just means it’s not for them.
  2. It’s not about me. How a student reacts on any given day is a reflection of their attitude and emotional state. A daily workout may be the only opportunity someone has to feel great in their day. Some people are really bad with change.
  3. It will likely happen again, because subbing is tough!

You never know what you’re going to get when you get hired for a new class or sub someone else’s. There’s always an adjustment. As long as you know that you brought your best stuff and worked hard to keep the class engaged, you’ve done your due diligence.

Did you find this piece funny? Helpful? Scary? Let me know in the comments below! And if you’re an instructor who has had an experience like this, share that too! We can commiserate together 😉

Till next time,

Nadia

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Gaining Experience, Get Hired as a Group Fitness Instructor, How to Become a Fitness Instructor

How to Gain Experience As a Group Fitness Instructor

As you have probably experienced at one point in your lifetime, one of the biggest issues for professionals entering any new field is that of experience. In group fitness, many gyms won’t even consider you as a candidate if you have been teaching for less than a year, let alone freshly certified with no classes under your belt. There IS hope though. Here’s how you can gain the experience you need to land a job as a group fitness instructor.

Organize a free class

A great way to start practicing your skills, build confidence as an instructor, and gain momentum in your teaching career is to teach free classes. There are several ways to host:

  • Start your own group through an event meetup site or offer to host on an existing group.
  • Host your own parties or gatherings with friends.
  • Put your name on the list of available instructors at a fitness clothing store (such as Lululemon or Athleta)

Just remember to protect yourself by obtaining liability insurance and collecting waivers from all participants.

Offer to Sub Classes

Subbing classes is my #1 Tip for getting hired as a fitness instructor at a studio or fitness facility. Hiring managers need too know that you are

  1. Skilled in your designated format
  2. Trustworthy, meaning that you show up when you say you will and are available when needed most.

Once they see that you are a great addition to the team at their studio, they will search for ways to get you a class on the schedule.

Post Videos on Social Channels

Having content on a social channel is a great way for companies to know that you are passionate about what you do and in it for the long haul. In fact, many applications ask for social media accounts, so they can check out your personality and style. I say, if you can carve out the time:

  • Film at least video per week displaying you working out/practicing. Teaching videos are best for the obvious benefit of showcasing your expertise, but any film of you performing in your designated format will work.
  • Post the videos across as many channels as possible. Instagram is one of the most popular right now (in 2019), but Facebook TV and YouTube are strong platforms as well. Plus, with YouTube (or Vimeo), you can embed videos onto your website.

If you’re serious about a career in fitness, make it your mission gain as much experience in the first year as possible. It will not only make you a better instructor, but it will give you the opportunity to gain a solid base of references you can lean on when the time comes to obtain a job.

The Magic Year Mark

Take it from someone who has been there, once you hit that magical 1 year experience mark, the % of callbacks will skyrocket. You just have to get over that hump.

What are you doing to gain experience now? Share your thoughts and any questions in the comments below!

And good luck 😉

Nadia

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, How to Become a Fitness Instructor

How to Become a Group Fitness Instructor

Do you love your fitness classes so much that you’re thinking about a career in the field? Or perhaps you’re a lifetime athlete trying to utilize your best skill set to dive into work that you enjoy. A career as a group fitness instructor may be a great fit for you. The process to become one is very straightforward. Here are the steps you need to take to become a group fitness instructor.

Step One: Get GFI Certified

Fitness studios and gyms vary widely in terms of what they offer to members, but one thing that is consistent about 99% of the time is the requirement that instructors obtain and maintain a primary certification in group exercise or group fitness. There are many options for certifications. Among the most popular and recognized in the U.S. are:

The one you choose should reflect what studios in your area accept, as well as the one that fits your budget and learning style best. Most job listings contain a list of the employers’ top picks.

Step Two: Choose a Focus

While primary certifications give you a base of knowledge in terms of anatomy, teaching guidelines, and techniques, they are not specifically oriented toward particular formats. Nor will they teach you how to create and run a class from start to finish. That means, you will need to seek additional education in an area of specialty. Among the most popular group fitness formats are:

  • Group Strength (like my 15 Full Body Workouts series)
  • Dance/Dance Fitness (such as Zumba or UJam Fitness)
  • Bootcamp Fitness
  • Cardio Sculpt
  • Step Aerobics (yes, even now!)
  • Spinning/Cycling

Quick note: If you were thinking of yoga, it’s not technically a group fitness format. If you’re interested in becoming a yoga instructor, look into enrolling in a 200 hour certification program.

Step Three: Land a Teaching Job

Of course, in order to become a fitness instructor, you need to land a job teaching classes.

  • Search your local listings. I’ve had good results with Indeed and Craigslist. A good Google maps search to find out what local studios are in the area will also serve you well.
  • Send your resume with a brief introduction over email. Feel free to follow up with a call or a visit. That way, they won’t see you as just another potential candidate, but rather have a face and personality to attach the documents to.
  • Audition with as many studios as possible. As you will see, the group fitness audition is your gateway into the field, especially when you’re starting out. Click here for tips on how to rock your audition.

In the meantime, get as much experience teaching as you can. Hiring managers will be looking for that as they consider candidates.

Get Started Today

If you’re serious about a career in fitness, get started NOW. The sooner you get your certification, the sooner opportunities will arise for you to use it. I had no idea where my initial group fitness cert would take me. Almost 8 years later, I’m THRIVING in a career that I love. I hope this piece gave you the information and inspiration you need to help you take the next step on your career and fitness journey. Best of luck to you!

Sincerely,

Nadia

PS – Want more advice on how to become a thriving fitness professional and stories about life in the field? Click here to join my mailing list.