How To Be a Great Fitness Instructor

Gym class doing weights

As a fitness professional, you have an opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of your members. People who partake in fitness classes are people who are looking to get healthier, lose some weight, or just live a more active lifestyle. Regardless of what motivates them, they rely on your guidance to help them achieve the results for which they are looking. The challenge for you is that you end up with a group of people who have different personalities and different goals. For you to be effective, you need to be able to manage the people in your fitness class so that things not only run smoothly but so that the participants feel like they are getting value.

Establish the ground rules

The first thing you’ll want to do before your fitness class starts is to let the members know what the rules are. Let them know what is expected of them and how you run your class. That way everyone is clear on what the expectations are from the outset. As with many of the points we’ll cover in this article, communication is key to getting your point across. If the class understands your expectations and why you have them, they’ll be more likely to comply for the betterment of everyone else.

Build trust and confidence

Don’t be afraid to share a little bit about yourself and allow your members to do the same. Building a connection with the participants is a great way to get them engaged, and it also lets them know that you care about them as individuals. Showing empathy and care will also allow you to better serve their needs. You’ll better understand their motivations and weaknesses, and exploit those to get their best results. A gym can be an intimidating place for newcomers, so you want to seem open and accepting of questions and concerns as well.

Lead by example

Don’t just tell the participants what to do. Show them.  Students admire teachers who are willing to put in the work. If you can’t perform a certain exercise or routine, how would any of the participants believe that they can do it? As well, using yourself as an example of good technique will help your students learn and develop their form. You are looked upon as the expert, so your actions should reflect that.

Be flexible

You never know who is going to show up to your class. You may be teaching an advanced session, and someone comes who doesn’t seem to meet the expectations of such a difficult session. You must remain understanding and still try to help that person get the most out of your teaching. Plus, you’ll probably have participants from all ages and backgrounds, so make sure you can tailor your classes to suit as many different types of people as possible. Your students will thank you for it.

Ask for feedback

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. The best leaders are the ones who are open to suggestions. It shows that you are continually striving to give your members the best experience. People in all walks of life want to be heard, and gym class participants are no different. Not only will you improve the experience for them, but you will also improve your teaching skills to do better going forward. It’s not just the critiques you want to hear, either. Hearing what you’re doing well will allow you to focus more on your strengths to get the most out of every lesson. If you’re worried that your class won’t be honest to your face, have them fill out an anonymous survey instead.

Praise and reward

Inspire your members to do their best and be sure to praise them when they get it right or when you see them working at maximum effort. Create little friendly competitions within the group and offer a reward to the winner. Let the winner choose the playlist for the next class or let them lead the warm-up. Sometimes a personal trainer has to be strict and demanding, but always offer encouragement afterwards to the participants. Students who feel like they are failing may give up completely and not reach their goals. Motivation should mostly be positive, so you can keep them on the right track.

Leading a fitness class isn’t always easy, but when done right it can be very rewarding. Your job is to inspire and motivate your participants. The way you lead your class can make all the difference in someone’s life. You may be the motivation that someone needed to embark on their fitness journey. You may be the inspiration for someone wanting to become a fitness instructor. You may be the reason someone didn’t quit. Never underestimate your reach and strive to be the best fitness leader your members could ask for. They’ll be sure to thank you for their excellent results.