Group fitness classes offer encouragement, community, and positive energy that can keep you motivated and help you achieve your fitness goals. Not to mention groups are much more engaging than sweating solo and the camaraderie from the other participants can increase the fun factor in your workouts. But with millions of different group fitness instructor options, sometimes choosing the right class for you can be daunting. Finding the right instructor can make a huge difference in whether or not you enjoy group fitness and choose to make it lifelong habit.
The best group fitness instructors make exercise fun and help you improve your conditioning by appropriately challenging you according to your fitness level. They also teach moves that help you get the most out of your workout and avoid injury by providing guidelines during class on how to correct your form.
But choosing the right instructor isn’t just a matter of trial and error. There are steps you can take ahead of time to ensure the instructor you choose is qualified and a good fit for your personality and fitness level. Here are my top tips to help you find your best group fitness instructor fit that will inspire and guide you to greater health and more fabulous workouts!
Check for Credentials
One of the first things to look for in a fitness instructor is certification from a nationally recognized certifying organization, such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE) or the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). That accreditation tells you the instructor you’re working with has the knowledge to provide you with a safe and effective workout.
The club where you work out should make sure their instructors hold appropriate credentials. But if you’re not sure, you can double-check by logging on to the ACE or ACSM website or asking the club for a current list of instructor certifications. Doing your homework will ensure you have a teacher that’s qualified to guide you in safe, effective workouts.
Ask other participants who’ve taken a class with a particular instructor about the class format and teaching style to decide whether a certain class would be right for you. Have they enjoyed the classes? Are there any drawbacks to be aware of? Many reviews from other regulars will give you an idea of what to expect in your first workout with that particular instructor. Yelp can also be a good place to do some research online to discover other’s experiences.
Find a TEACHER not just a leader.
Find an instructor who is a teacher—NOT just a leader. Really qualified group fitness instructors should be cueing form and imparting some information that’s valuable for you to take out of the room with you. Listen to what they’re saying, do their words educate and inspire you? When you can get a great workout AND learn about your body in the process, you’ve found a talented teacher. Heres a clue to help you: A teacher has good information. A leader may just exercise in front or count a lot of reps.
Find an instructor who speaks your body language.
We all learn and follow in different ways. Some need to hear articulate cues, some need to visually see an exercise, or some may even need a hands-on adjustment to feel the exercise. All instructors motivate their groups in different ways. Its important to find an instructor who “makes sense” to you. It can be highly subjective. Consider it looking for a coach. Who’s going to get you to work harder for your very best results? Chances are you’ll know when you meet him or her after a few workouts.
Just DO IT .
Taking class is the only way to know if the fitness instructor is right for you. During the class, look for an instructor who:
- Makes the class personal by making eye contact with you and others in the room.
- Makes you feel welcome, comfortable, and tries to learn your name.
- Offers modifications and intensity options to meet all ability levels in the room.
- Makes exercise fun, engaging, and positive.
- Focuses on improving health and energy, rather than appearance or fitting in “skinny jeans”.
- Avoids comparing participants or “barking orders” and instead provides genuine acknowledgement for personal accomplishments.
- Always puts your workout above his or hers. Its a BIG red flag if the instructor is more concerned with getting his/her workout instead of helping you get yours.
A good instructor will do all those things and make you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally happy. If it’s your first time, consider introducing yourself to the instructor and asking him or her to keep an eye on you, especially if you have medical issues to consider. And always try a class at least twice to see if you really like it. No instructor should be judged by just one class. Everyone has off days and it’s never the same class every time. Give each instructor three classes to see if their style matches what you are looking for. Ask questions. Give feedback. And always give everyone a chance.
Most likely when you find the right instructor for you, you’ll KNOW. A light bulb will go off in your head and you’ll think, ” OH WOW! This is the most amazing class ever! Why haven’t I taken this class before?!!?”. When you find your group fitness fit you’ll be smiling LONG after taking the class. Its a good sign when you can’t wait to go back.
The connection you make with your fitness instructor can be life altering. I am a better person because of my time sweating with Shannon Fable, Stephanie Snyder, Jay Blahnik, Erika Quest, and Buddy Machua. These teachers went above and beyond helping me with my physical strength…. they changed my life simply by being in it.
Do you have a favorite fitness instructor who has helped you grow stronger? Leave your favorites as a comment below – share your referrals and we will all get a chance to take class with top notch teachers!
Hope to see you all in class soon! Till then… keep shining 🙂
Other Things To Check Out This Week:
- Have you been to one of my fitness classes or training sessions? REVIEW ME. Share your experience with others and give me feedback on how to be better.
- 12 Things Happy People Do Better.
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