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.
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.