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

Get Hired as a Group Fitness Instructor: My #1 Tip

Whether you just got certified as a group fitness instructor or you’re looking to add new classes to your schedule, getting hired can be an intimidating process. But after so many years in the business, I’ve found one way to land a class that works about 90% of the time.

My #1 Tip: Get On a Sub List

Probably the fastest path to landing a class of your own on a gym or fitness studio’s schedule is by getting on their sub list. In my experience, you can never have too many subs to call upon in a time of need. The last thing popular studios want to do is cancel a class. That’s a thing for their members and for you!

How to Get On the Sub List

The process of getting on a sub list can be smooth and seamless if you go about it the right way.

Attend classes in your chosen format.

Want to teach kickboxing? Become a regular student in a class taught by your favorite instructor or at least by someone whose style is similar to your own. Make it your goal to excel in class and to show up consistently once or twice a week.

Tell your instructor you’re available.

After a few weeks of attending classes, casually let your instructor know that you’re certified and available to sub if they need it. More often than not, they will be super grateful. After all, you:

  1. Know the group
  2. Are skilled in the format
  3. Are already available at the time you need them.

It’s a win-win for everyone!

Ask for a referral.

Hiring managers can sometimes be skeptical of new instructors coming on board, especially those with very little experience in the field. When I just started, my instructors and master teachers told me I had the skills, but managers did a double take with the fact that I had less than a year of experience (the minimum standard for most gyms). Having the instructor’s support will go a long way in overcoming those pre-set barriers. So make sure to…

  • Ask for an introduction. Ask your instructor if they would mind introducing you to the group fitness manager or whoever is in charge of hiring instructors. Most likely, they will be happy to help.
  • Follow up over email. Get your instructor’s contact information and shoot a quick email to say thank you in advance for the introduction.

Lean on Master Trainers

Instructors who led your format trainings usually keep in touch with their students. They often know of new opportunities that rise up or are able to connect you to people in your area who are teaching and need subs.

Utilize them as an ongoing resource. They want to see you succeed as much as I do 🙂

Good luck!

Nadia
Next Step: Auditioning. Click here if you want to know what to expect.

PS – If you found this blog helpful and/or it landed you an opportunity, please let me know in the comments! And since I know you love fitness, nutrition, and wellness as much as I do, join the community on Facebook!

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Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Audition Tips, Group Fitness Audition

What to Expect at a Group Fitness Audition

So, you’ve landed an interview with a local fitness studio or gym and now they’ve asked you to come in for an audition. Whether it’s your first or your first in quite some time, it can calm your nerves to know what the process is like. Here’s what you can expect at a group fitness audition.

First Up: The Demo

In the world of group fitness, an audition is your opportunity to show the general manager and fitness director what you can bring to the class setting. That means, they will ask you to lead a mini demo class, which will likely include.

  • A brief introduction
  • A warm-up
  • A main block of exercises
  • A cool down

Know that you will likely be auditioning in a room alone with the people evaluating you, but some larger fitness centers like to host group auditions where you are required to participate as students for the other instructors while you await your turn to teach. I love group auditions because it’s much easier to teach to a room with energetic people rather than to imaginary students. The exact exercises/choreography you teach will be based on the format you are being hired for.

Second Level Criteria: Proficiency

Anyone can memorize a sequence of exercises, but what your assessors are looking for during a group fitness audition are:

  • Aligned movements a.k.a. good form and technique in your physical demonstrations.
  • Strong, efficient verbal cues that guide students from one exercise to the next smoothly and safely.
  • The ability to offer options for modifications when needed and corrections for students whose form and technique are off.
  • Smooth transitions from one section to the next, without a ton of note checking or stammering.

These elements show off your experience and expertise, which they know is key to helping students feel safe in the classroom.

Final Level: Energy

Last, but certainly not least, group fitness instructors are expected to bring a positive, vibrant spirit to every class they teach. GMs want people people on their teams who will make students feel like they had an amazing experience, even if the workout was hard! Bring a TON of energy to the table during your audition and, as long as the other elements are in place, you are sure to blow them away.

If you need more help crushing your audition, check out my blog titled: How to Rock Your Group Fitness Audition. And just remember, if you’re super new, it may take a handful of auditions before a studio gives you a chance to work for them. Don’t take it personally. Just refine your routine for the next audition and try again.

Good luck!

Nadia

PS – If any of these tips helped you rock your audition, I’d love to know! Leave a note in the comments below 🙂 Also, follow me on Instagram.

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Audition Tips, Group Fitness Audition

How to Rock Your Group Fitness Audition

Auditioning is an essential part of being a fitness instructor, especially if you’re just starting out. A group fitness audition gives managers and lead teachers the opportunity to see your personality and your skill level when it comes to organizing a class, cueing movements, assisting students, and keeping them engaged. It’s all the gateway that will get you on a studio or gym’s sub list and eventually land you a class on the schedule. Here’s how to rock your group fitness audition so you have GMs begging you to join their team.

Know the Guidelines

Each studio has it’s own way of conducting auditions. Make sure you’re clear on what each gym expects from you well before your audition date. Guidelines include:

  • How long you are expected to teach.
  • What they would like you to focus on. For example, do they expect a warmup or should you jump right into the a main workout?
  • Will you be alone or will you be auditioning with other instructors?

If your contact person at the studio doesn’t share this information right away, reach out via email or give them a call and ask. This may even give you a leg up during your audition for doing your due diligence.

Plan & Practice Your Routine

It can’t be said enough. Preparation is a key aspect of being a successful and engaging group fitness instructor. The more familiar you are with the workout you are delivering, the more confident and grounded you will feel. So make sure to:

  • Write out your workout at least 1 day before. I recommend up to a week for brand new instructors (more for choreographed formats like dance).
  • Practice going through the movements and cueing out loud. If possible, recruit a loved one or a friend to join you and give you feedback. If that’s not possible, film yourself. You’ll have a good idea of what you look like to others that way.
  • Adjust your workout based on feedback. Ask your friends for feedback or watch your video to see which areas are working well and which ones need improvement. Then practice again to dial it in.

Pro Tip: For seasoned instructors, choose a workout you have already delivered and know well. When I do this, I NAIL the audition 99% of the time 😉

Walk In with a Energy & Positivity

Research shows that it takes a few seconds to form a first impression. And in the group fitness sphere, the stakes are higher. Group fitness instructors are often the main line of connection between students and their fitness centers, which is why we must bring enthusiasm, optimism, and confidence to every class we teach. It’s easy to get caught in audition day nerves. My suggestions:

  1. Plan to arrive early. Nothing adds to your nerves more than rushing into the studio at the last minute for an interview or worst, being late. Allow yourself an extra 15 minutes to arrive, find out where you’re supposed to be, and sit for a few minutes. You can also use this time to review your audition set.
  2. Listen to music that pumps you up on the way. On your commute, tune into a playlist that lights your inner fire and makes you feel like a winner! If you don’t have one yet, make one. Or feel free to use one of my playlists (PS – Body Challenge 10 is my fav!).
  3. Remind yourself that you KNOW the workout. All you have to do is deliver it, just like any other day.

Have Fun

When it’s all said and done, don’t forget that one of the reasons you’re in this biz is because you enjoy sharing your love of fitness with other people. When you think about it that way, the audition is simply a means to you gaining access to fulfilling your personal mission as a group fitness instructor and living the dream by getting paid for it!

Best of luck to you if you have an audition coming up! If you need any additional pointers, leave a comment below! Also, make sure to LIKE my Facebook Page and head over to the fitness, nutrition, and wellness goals community group where I post a ton of content that will help you feel healthier, happier, and stronger.

Be Happy. Be Healthy. Be Well.

Nadia

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Class Engagement

7 Tips to Create an Engaging Class Experience

I see it all the time. An instructor consistently has challenging, effective workouts, but class numbers aren’t building. Even if you have the BEST workouts, if you aren’t holding students’ attention from the start of the session to the end of it, you have to get them more interested and engaged. Here are 7 tips to create an engaging class experience, so students leave loving your workouts and want to come back for more.

Introduce Yourself Every Time

Whether you’re new to a certain time slot or not, a dedicated introduction can serve you in many ways:

  1. It let’s students know that class is about to begin. A simple “Good morning everyone! As you know, my name is…” can quiet the room and prep their minds for what is to come.
  2. It gives you an opportunity to set expectations. You summarize the workout, encourage students to challenge themselves, and give permission to take modifications (and ask for them) whenever necessary.
  3. It’s the perfect time to find out if there are new students in your class. Have them raise their hands. Even experienced students can feel a little lost in a new class. This will allow you to pinpoint them and give them extra attention.

Bring TONS of Energy

Students feed off the energy of their instructors. If you show up tired or laid back, they’ll feel it. So make it a point be…well… EXTRA. That means:

  • Making movements big. For all intensive purposes, think of your class as an interactive performance. So even if you’re demoing with a set of 5 pound weights, when you squat and press, make it look like you’re crushing 50s with full range of motion.
  • Get LOUD. Speak with a firm tone at a high volume, as if you are shouting to someone across the room. This communicates authority and intensity to your students. Remember, they feed off of your energy. Your level of intensity will raise theirs.

Keep Exercises Simple

It can be fun to create complicated combinations, but more often than not, you lose half of your students. They’ll waste 1/2 the interval trying to figure out what they heck they’re doing. The KISS (keep it simple stupid) rule is essential. In practice, it looks like this:

  1. Pick an exercise.
  2. Demonstrate a modification.
  3. If students get it and are keeping great form, give them a progression.

It’s as simple as that. Many students and some instructors make the mistake of thinking that more complicated equals more effective. False! It changes the focus of the exercise. For example, one thing I see often is students choosing to do a bent over row in a single leg hing position (rather than having 2 feet on the floor). I usually tell them that if they have enough energy to take that position, their weights aren’t heavy enough. They appreciate the tip!

Keep Students Moving

It’s unfortunate that fitness center classes have become so streamlined that most students expect a 45-60 minute all-out sweatfest, without even a minute “wasted” on rest or recovery. I won’t go off on a tangent now, except to say that a well-rounded workout for most should not leave students exhausted by the end of it. But alas, this type of class is expected from instructors, especially those who teach during high traffic time slots. Here’s how you can sneak in more movement for the students who need it:

  • Give your warm-ups an energy boost. Ramp up the class more quickly with quick-paced, dynamic warm-up exercises. The exercises should recruit more muscle groups and get clients moving through multiple planes of motion. My favorites are alternating hand touch squats, side lunge and reach, reverse lunge twist, and down dog to plank.
  • Place recovery AFTER cardio intervals. Nothing says “Thank god for this break!” Like 1-2 minutes of intense cardio. About 95% of your students will be grateful for it. The other 5% needs a distraction. For them, you can…
  • Give them something to do during recovery periods. Tell them to grab some water, towel off, and make sure their next piece of equipment is ready for the next set. When in doubt, say, “Don’t need the break? Jumping jacks or burpees.” In a class of 40, I’ve only ever seen ONE person take advantage of that offer 😉

Give Students Personal Attention

Students keep coming back to your classes because they trust that they will not only get a great workout, but that you will lead them through it in a way that is safe, effective, and fun. They love it when you

  • Give them corrections. Small adjustments will help them work muscles more efficiently and alleviate pain that’s caused by bad posture or dysfunctional movement patterns.
  • Check in. A simple “How does that resistance feel for you?” or “Is this okay for your knee?” to someone you know has recurring issues in the joint helps them feel seen. It also gives them permission to share if something doesn’t feel right and ask for modifications in the future if needed.
  • Challenge them to go harder. Can’t forget the regulars! If you know someone can lift heavier weights or take a more intense progression, put it out there. They can always say no, but more likely, they will feel honored that you recognize their strength and rise to the challenge.

Facilitate Interaction

Last, but certainly not least, encourage students to interact with one another. Here are 3 things I ask students to do during every class:

  1. Say hello to one person before class begins. On a practical level, this gives me a bit of time to fiddle with my mic and my music. On an emotional level, students now know at least one person in the class they can look to if they missed an exercise or empathize with when their thighs are in full burn mode.
  2. Share a high five or fist bump. It doesn’t require any words, so this is perfect after a cardio set.
  3. Point to someone across the room and shout “You Rock”/”You’re Awesome/”Crushing It….” You get the idea. Students love this one the most. They get to give AND receive a encouragement. I swear, this gets every single person in the room to smile, even after burpees 😉

Deliver Motivation & Support

Each and every one of us craves approval in one way or another. Your students want to feel successful during class and after it has ended. Be generous with words of encouragement and words of wisdom throughout class.

  • Recognize and acknowledge good form. We tend to focus on what’s going wrong during class, so we can make corrections, but there are often quite a few people doing everything right! Notice and vocally applaud both the group and individuals.
  • Praise corrections. If you correct someone and she makes a shift (even if it’s not perfect), say “Yes! So much better” or something to that effect. That way, they know they are making progress.
  • Drop knowledge bombs. Be the coach who encourages students to work hard through positive quotes and nuggets of truth. One of my favorites is “If you want to get stronger, you must be willing to get uncomfortable.”

Do you incorporate any of these methods in your classes now? Let me know in the comments below! Also, be sure to share any of your own tips as well.

Nadia

Interested in reading more great content in the areas of fitness, nutrition, and wellness? Click here to join the community on Facebook 🙂 If you’re a fitness, nutrition, or wellness blogger yourself, join the blogging group!

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Recovery, Sleep

Sleep: The MOST Essential Habit for Fitness Professionals

By now you’ve probably heard that getting enough sleep is a key component of mental and physical health. But did you know that getting at least 7-8 hours is not just ideal, but ESSENTIAL for proper functioning? Keep reading to find out why.

The Sleep Repair Cycle

As adults, it’s sometimes difficult to shut off our minds. It always seems like there’s so much to do. And for those who are working early morning shifts, the temptation to stay up is just too juicy! But here’s the thing… while you’re sleeping, your body cycles through a process of recovery, which gets longer and longer throughout the night. Oxygen and nutrients are delievered to your muscles helping them re-hydrate and repair. The more you sleep, the more efficiently this process can occur.

The Consequences of Skimping on Sleep

The less sleep you get, the less recovery time for your body. Make under-sleeping a habit and your body is will never be able to fully recuperate from the wear and tear you take it through each and every day. This includes brain function. Long story short… getting any less than 7 hours of shuteye inhibits the ability of neurons to fire. This may show up as…

  • fogginess
  • lethargy
  • inability to focus
  • slow reaction time
  • inability to think creatively, and more….

…all of which will hamper your ability to lead safe, workout sessions.

The Benefits of Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

You may think you don’t have TIME for sleep, but if you want to truly be successful as a fitness instructor, you must MAKE time. When you are properly rested, the benefits include, but are not limited to the following:

  • balanced hormones
  • higher levels of creativity
  • more energy
  • lower levels of stress
  • higher levels of happiness
  • increased productivity

With these benefits combined, you will not only feel more satisfied with your life and work, but also more comfortable and confident in your own skin.

How to Improve Your Sleep Habits

Here are 3 quick tips to get you started on the road to better sleep.

  1. Aim for at Least 7 Hours Per Night – Know what time you need to go to sleep by in order to get a full 7-8 hours of sleep. Make it your goal to hit that metric every night.
  2. Turn Off Devices Well In Advance – The light in your device stimulates the release of hormones that will prevent you from falling alseep, so it’s best to start shutting them off well before you plan to go to sleep. The National Sleep Foundation suggests you give yourself anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. The longer the better.
  3. Maintain a Consistent Exercise Routine – Studies show that exercise helps to improve sleep. The reasons for this vary from the release of sleep promoting hormones (melatonin) at night to the simple fact that exercising tires you out. At the end of the day, you’ll be ready to tuck in.

So tell me… now that you know how essential sleep is to your life and career as a fitness instructor, will you make it a priority? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Nadia

Posted in Advice for Fitness Instructors, Confidence

5 Ways to Build Confidence as a Fitness Instructor

Are you nervous about an upcoming class or audition? It’s natural to have pre-class jitters. As a matter of fact, I myself get nervous from time to time, especially when I’m subbing for another instructor or getting in front of a new group of students. What I need one these days is a confidence boost. Here are 5 simple ways to build confidence as a fitness instructor.

Boost Your Confidence and Come Out on Top

The following tidbits will work in a pinch.

  1. Prepare Your Workout in Advance. Anyone whose taught for some time has had the experience of rushing from one class to the next or has been asked to sub at the list minute and enters the room unprepared. Okay, you tell yourself. Today, we’re gonna wing it. This might fly if you’re a seasoned instructor and have a lifetime of templates to call upon. But when you’re brand new, your students will smell the odor of “fly by the seat of your pants” musk surrounding you. All of a sudden, you’re grasping at straws to figure out the next move. I keep a selection of 15 workouts that I cycle through for about a year before I create new ones (you can check them out and snag them if you want to here). It sure makes those 6:00am classes run more smoothly!
  2. Create Tailored Playlists. Music motivates. There may be some students who are content to focus on just the moves, but others want to move to the beat of the music (literally!). Address all of your students’ needs by choosing a selection of music that caters to the tempo of the class. Pro tip: make sure you review it a few times before you bring it to class. Click here to check out the playlists I’ve created on Spotify.
  3. Wear Something You Feel Like a Rockstar In. Looking good is a quick road to feeling good. The right clothes can go a long way in making that happen. That means investing in fitness gear that is functional and flattering as well. Note: Don’t be afraid to be a little, well…. EXTRA. Believe me. Your students will not only appreciate the effort. They’ll also notice your shift in attitude.
  4. Arrive Early to Class. A good rule of thumb is to arrive 15 minutes before start time. You still have to set up the music, make sure there’s a battery in your mic headset, glance over your workout, and welcome students. The last thing you want is to roll up with 5 minutes or less to spare. That will make you feel rushed and appear to your students as unprepared (even if your workout and playlist are ready to go).
  5. Be Yourself. May new instructors struggle to find their teaching personality in the beginning. You’ve probably seen quite a few styles: The peppy cheerleader type, the kick your ass drill sergeant type, the flirtatious, flamboyant dancer type…  the list is endless! It can feel intimidating to see others with strong personalities crushing their classes. But just know that you don’t have to pretend to be anything you’re not. Instead, figure out those innate qualities that draw students to your classes and allow those to stand out.

So tell me… which of these do YOU need to work on more? Tell me in the comments below!

Good luck 🙂

Nadia

PS – If you want to hear more stories and advice about being a fitness professional, follow me on instagram and Facebook.