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What’s the Secret to Packing my Classes?

The fitness industry can be a cut-throat business. Instructors not only compete for the best time slots, but they seem to battle for the students as well. I worked for a gym once that gave new instructors 2 months to fill their classes. If they didn’t, the instructor got the boot as well as a strike on their reputation among the locals . That seemed pretty drastic to me, and I was grateful that I was taking over an existing class that already had nice numbers.

Sometimes filling up your class is just a matter of time and patience. Time to get the word out about your amazing-ness, and patience in yourself to learn what students want. That said, there are some tricks to becoming “that instructor”.  You know, the one who seems to turn the newbies into groupies and the bosses into buddies.

I decided to ask a few of my “Rockstar Instructor” friends how they cultivate their following. Here are a few of their tips:

• Become friends with your students....

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What are the Benefits of Certifying in Multiple Group Fitness Formats?

I’ve been a kickboxing addict almost since the first Tae Bo video hit the shelves. I became certified in that format and set out to get a class at a gym. I was great at Tae Bo! Billy Blanks even put me in one of hit videos, and I thought that would be enough.

I couldn't have been more wrong!

I had no idea how difficult it would be to get a class at a gym. There were a few reasons why my first auditions didn’t go well. First of all, I wasn’t very experienced. Second, I wore baggy sweatpants… in a size XL.  But aside from that, my biggest disadvantage was knowing ONLY Tae Bo. I was asked at every audition what other formats I could teach, and I had to answer, “Just the one.” 

Being a GX instructor is just like anything else in life… the more you learn, the more valuable you become. You can become a translator if you know two languages. You can become a highly sought after translator that works for a secret agency in the government...

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What are the Best Abdominal Exercises to Use in Class?

Believe it or not, many of the abdominal exercises that instructors choose for classes (or meatheads use in the gym) tend to work other muscles more than the actual abdominals. Sit-ups, leg lifts, hanging leg raises, etc. anatomically have little to do with the core. Raising your legs (or raising your body to meet your legs) is the responsibility of the hip flexors, a group of muscles which attach between the lower back and the top of the femur. The rectus abdominis (the main ab muscle) attaches from the ribs to the pelvis and is responsible for spinal flexion.

That’s not to say that the abs have nothing to do with leg lifts and other hip flexor movements, but they are not the prime movers.* They are instead used isometrically as stabilizers to keep the spine from extending as the legs come toward the torso. Lower back problems can result as these stabilizers tend to fatigue before the end of the set which results in arching and spinal compression. Sit ups, especially are...

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How Do I become a Group Exercise (GX) Instructor?

As far as education goes, it doesn’t take a college degree, or even a high school degree to become a Group Exercise (GX) Instructor. But just like becoming a skilled adult, it takes desire, confidence and a certain amount of grit to become a successful one.  In this article we will be discussing the basic requirements for gaining entry in to the GX world.  The secrets to becoming a “Rockstar Instructor” will be discusses in an upcoming post.

It is possible to become a group fitness instructor by simply taking a one-day workshop offered by specialty formats such as Zumba™, High Fitness ™, Turbo Kick ™, etc.  These certifications have eased the barrier to entry to becoming a Group Fitness Instructor and made exercise and fitness more available and desirable to a greater demographic. They have shown that there are more ways to get fit than jumping jacks and squats.

Though these specialty programs have opened the GX door to many who...

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