Advice To A New Group Fitness Instructor

I’ve been teaching group fitness for almost 10 years at “big box gyms”, franchises,  and small home grown studios.

I’ve had amazing experiences that lead me to some of my best friends and have had  some situations so awkward that years later I still get the nervous stretches while thinking about them.

There by the grace of god (and Mich Ultra) I survived and I promise: you will too.


If I could go back in time,  I’d tell myself to take a Xanax, stop freaking worrying so much, don’t date that one dude, drink more water, and remember these things:

1. You’ll always feel nervous before a class

Those little butterflies you feel right before class? Yeah, those don’t go away.  However, you’re in good company because even Beyoncé feels those butterflies:

“I think it’s healthy for a person to be nervous. It means you care – that you work hard and want to give a great performance. You just have to channel that nervous energy into the show”

So embrace your inner Bey and appreciate that nerves mean you still care.

2. Not everyone will like you.  

Memorize this quote and make it your new life motto:

“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”- Dita Von Teese 

Real Talk: it STINGS when you figure out somebody isn’t a huge fans of yours but it happens.

When it happens: check in with what they are saying (is there validity in it at all?) and then keep it moving because you are a peach and they like pears.


3. You’ll have a bad class once in awhile

You know the feeling: You get done teaching and you say to yourself “ugh, that was a bad one”.  If it’s happening all the time, we should probably talk but once every blue moon? Taylor Swift has it right: shake it off.

2 things to remember when this happens:

  1. There is a a very high chance that your class didn’t even notice you were off. Just because you feel something, doesn’t mean it’s true 🙂
  2. The good outweighs the bad. You will have many more classes where you walk out on top of the world

4. Find a subbing buddy

I learned this quick: finding a sub can be damn hard and karma is a bitch.

Help out your fellow instructors by subbing for them and find somebody to be your buddy (just like in preschool!) that you can count on to help you out.

5. Don’t stop working out

Listen to your body but allow yourself time to take a class that you really enjoy. Not only will it allow you healthy “me time”, taking classes can give you ideas for  exercises and cues. Keeping classes fresh is a part of your job now

6. Find your niche and be authentic.

We’ve established that everyone won’t like you, which can really suck.

However, there will be some people that like you. And guess what? They will REALLY like you and come to your classes religiously (FYI, that is the best feeling in the world).

Those are your people. That is your niche.

So ask yourself: Do you notice newbies really like your classes? Are you popular with people in their 20’s? 50’s? Women? Men? Do people come to you for information? Support?

Embrace your niche and be open to being YOU. Does it make you more vulnerable? Yes. Does it make you approachable and real and popular?  HELL YES.

The best teachers use authenticity to make connections to their clients.


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