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Working out isn’t always easy. For some people, exercising is as natural as waking up in the morning. For others, it can be difficult and even unpleasant. Doing it on your own can be tough, even when you have supportive family and friends — and that’s where a good fitness instructor can make all the difference.
A fitness instructor’s role isn’t just to teach a few exercise techniques. They also motivate, mentor, and help students get the most out of their exercise routine — and some even find they like the experience so much they decide to become an instructor themselves.
Being a fitness instructor can be a rewarding, fulfilling career for those who enjoy staying fit and, most of all, working with others to help them on their fitness journey.
Whether you’re looking for an instructor or looking to be one, here are some of the key qualities of a kickass fitness instructor.
Qualities Of A Good Group Fitness Instructor
As anyone who’s gotten serious about it can tell you, getting and staying fit isn’t easy. It doesn’t just take time and effort, but also perseverance and diligence — and being an instructor, even more so. A good fitness instructor doesn’t stop when their class is over. They’re always practicing new techniques, familiarizing themselves with fresh routines, prepping their studio, maintaining their equipment, and otherwise making sure their next class will be the best it can be.
Being an instructor of any kind takes a lot of patience, continued study, and investing a lot of time and energy into their work. Being a fitness instructor is no different.
Being an instructor of any kind works best when you’re able to think on your feet, improvise, and adapt. Even when you’ve prepared as much as a human being reasonably can, things won’t always work out the way you hoped. Some vital piece of equipment might malfunction, a scheduling conflict messes up your timetable, or someone might even injure themselves in class. A good fitness instructor will find a way to work around the problem and keep the class going if possible.
Adaptability doesn’t just have to mean dealing with problems, either. An instructor might decide to change up the routine midway through the class if they read the room and think it would improve things. A good fitness instructor knows when a class might be struggling to keep up, needs a little extra motivation, or is ready to take it to the next level. Sticking to a routine is important, but so is knowing when to break that routine.
This one might seem obvious, but it’s also one of the most important. Being a fitness instructor means being on your toes, leading by example, and showing the kind of strength, stamina, and positive attitude students need to stick with the program.
This doesn’t refer entirely to physical energy, either — while personal trainers enjoy personalized one-on-one instruction with clients, group instructors tend to thrive in the high-energy environment of a class. This means bringing a lot of personality, verve, and style to your class sessions.
Speaking of dealing with people — as with any teaching environment, being able to communicate clearly and effectively to your audience is a must. An instructor must be able to explain exercises, routines, possible pitfalls, and technical details effectively so that students can understand. An instructor must also remember that everyone learns at a different pace and that adapting (as seen above) can make a huge difference in how effective the lessons are.
A Great Motivator
Motivation is one of the classic problems of getting fit! A good fitness instructor has extra challenges in this department — they not only have to motivate themselves to stay fit but must also know how to properly motivate and inspire their class, to keep them (and business) going when the going gets tough.
Another way great communications skills come in handy: engaging with each member of the class. Every student has a different pace, different strengths and weaknesses, and specific challenges they have to meet. Being able to tailor instructions to those needs, and offer correction and encouragement where necessary, is an effective teaching technique and makes for a much more positive atmosphere.
Willing To Learn
Making fitness your career means always working to improve, both for yourself and for the sake of your students. It takes some serious education, not only in exercise routines, but also in nutrition, injury prevention, anatomy, and more. Serious fitness instructors often pursue a degree and get certified with ACE or ISSA, and continue their education even after their business and clientele are established. This is not just for the benefit of the students, but for the instructors as well — times change, and trends in health and fitness change with them, meaning it’s always smart to stay current and keep up with the industry.