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So You Want To Teach Group Fitness

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Yesterday, when I got to work and unloaded the cupcake torches, I had a little disaster on my hands that looked something like this…

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Unfortunately, I didn’t have my phone or camera to capture a shot of the real thing.  I ended up leaving a note for the rest of the staff to enjoy a little Tuesday Treat.

At that point, I had pretty much given up and was going to toss the rest of the ice cream cone cupcakes I had sitting in the garage.  As the day went on, I continued to think about my little cupcake mishap and how I could have avoided it…surely I was not the first person to try to transport ice cream cone cupcakes!

So, I googled it, and I found a brilliant idea!

 

 

I took cereal boxes and cut little holes in them for the ice cream cone cupcakes to rest.  Perfect!  Another change I made was making my own icing because I knew that it would go through the piping bag better and hold up better on the cupcakes while they sat in my car during my morning gym session.

Yes, that is 110 servings of oatmeal…thank you Sam’s Club

 

Brian’s dad then had the brilliant idea to put the cupcakes in coolers to protect them and try to keep them cool.  Another perfect idea!

 

Let’s cross our fingers that we don’t have another disaster upon delivery this morning….

Breakfast

This morning, my sweet tooth was just as awake as I was, and a strawberry smoothie bowl was just what I needed to tame it.

The smoothie mix contained:

  • 1/4 cup strawberries
  • 1/3 cup banana
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder
  • 1 splash of vanilla extract
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • a little water to get things movin’!

I blended everything all together and then topped it with part of a homemade luna bar.  The strawberry, peanut buttery, and chocolaty combo quickly satisfied my sweet craving 🙂

So You Want to Teach Group Fitness?

Recently, I had a request to write a post about how to get involved in the group fitness community and how to break your way into the industry.

I still consider myself very new in the industry, and I am learning new things all the time.  Here are some important tips that I have compiled throughout my experience to help you get more comfortable teaching in front of others, to help you truly get the most out of the group fitness program that you are working in, and to ultimately land your own class slot. I have found that earning your own class slot on the schedule is like gold, and when it’s yours it is yours to do whatever you want with…so don’t take advantage of it and let things fall to the wayside!! Give it everything you got 🙂

1.  Get Certified

Whether it is ACE, AFAA, ACSM, or specific to the type of class you are teaching pick the one that works best with your learning style, time schedule, and will teach you the information that you want to know.  The fact of the matter is, that no matter what you want to teach…you gotta be certified!

2.  Find a Mentor

I was lucky to start teaching group fitness while in college at my school’s gym where we had a huge educational component and a group fitness coordinator that understood what it was like to be a new instructor with many questions and concerns.  Another good thing to do is to find a facility (maybe the gym that you already belong to) that will allow you to sit in on some group fitness classes as a spectator and take some notes.  If you have a friend that is already an instructor, you may be able to sit in on his or her class.  While you may have taken many group fitness classes as a participant, there many aspects to the class that you probably never noticed as a participant that are essential to making it run smoothly.  So, find a mentor, sit in on a class, and take lots of notes.

3.  Treat it Just Like a Job Interview

Because it is a job interview!  I have a separate fitness resume that I have neatly typed up to bring with me when applying for a group fitness position.  Your resume should include:

  • certifications (including CPR, Blood Borne Pathogen, First Aid, etc.)
  • formats you are comfortable teaching
  • leadership experience
  • fitness experience (if you have previously had large fitness accomplishments like placing 3rd in the all-city women’s marathon)

The big question I had was, what do I wear to the interview, or to drop off my resume?  The answer…fitness clothes!  Now, this doesn’t mean the cut-off t-shirt and bleach stained shorts you have had forever, but it does mean to have light makeup on  (if you are a girl!), your hair neatly done, and a nice fitting, matching fitness outfit.

4.  Be Available to Sub

When you finally make it to the gym in your nice fitness outfit ready to turn in your resume, ask to speak with the group fitness instructor.  He or she may be busy and need to schedule an appointment time for you to come back, but he or she may be ready to speak with you right there!  All they will want to do is get to know you, what you love to teach, a little bit about your fitness background, and anything special about you there is to know.  The biggest piece of advice is right here:  be available to sub and let the group fitness coordinator know.  Everyone always needs a sub, and while some gyms have a list of 50 people to call, some gyms have none.  This will help you get your foot in the door, and will allow people to see what you can do on the fitness floor.

5.  Meet People

Once you are on the sub list, the next thing to do is attend as many classes as you can in the formats that you are comfortable teaching.  At the beginning or end of the class, make sure to introduce yourself to the instructor and let them know that you are available to sub.  This will keep you top of mind, and I can almost guarantee that they will call you at some point or another to fill in.  Also, use this opportunity to learn from his or her teaching style and pay attention to the way the class reacts to certain things.

6.  Send an E-mail

Again, once you are on the sub list, send an e-mail to the list of instructors letting them know who you are, what you teach, a little bit about yourself, and of course your availability.

7.  Get Involved

If your gym has special group fitness events, or launches…get involved!  Volunteer your time, attend the event, use it as a chance to meet people, have fun, get a great workout in, and promote group fitness.

There is so much more that could go into how to really make your way in your local fitness community, but these are some of the key tips that have really helped me out in my path.  I hope this helps, and feel free to reach out to me with any other questions you may have!!

 

I Passed and Had the Best Weekend Ever

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For those who don’t know, Body Pump is the original barbell class that works eight major muscle groups (quads, glutes/hamstrings, chest, back, triceps, biceps, abdominals, and shoulders) to fatigue in one hour, all set to awesome, popular, motivating music.  This weekend, I attended my initial training module to become a Body Pump instructor.

Going into this past weekend, I honestly had no idea what to expect.  After going through such difficult training to work on the cruise ship, I thought that I could make it through just about anything.  But after talking with a couple of people who are way more experienced than me in the fitness industry and actually have Body Pump certifications, they made it sound like the weekend was going to be the toughest thing that I had ever done in my life, the trainers would eat me alive, and I would be lucky if I scraped by with a “Pass Withheld” meaning I would have to do a little extra training before I could send in my video.

With all of this going on in my head, I was pretty nervous.  I started Saturday with a little Starbucks (I used my free birthday coupon 😉 ) and some overnight oats to give me plenty of fuel for this physically active weekend.

Upon arrival, I immediately noticed that it was all girls…except for two boys.  I was honestly pretty surprised by this at first, but then I realized that most participants are girls in the group fitness setting so it made since.  Also, it wasn’t hard to realize that everyone was nervous.  None of us had a clue as to what we should expect…even the people who had done previous Les Mills certifications.

The very first thing we did was take the master class.  This was taught by our training facilitator, and two facilitators in training.  This was seriously the best group fitness class that I have ever taken.  Everyone was responding to the instructors’ cues and questions.  We were all cheering and singing along with the songs, it was awesome.  It basically felt like a live workout concert.

All in all, this weekend was amazing.  It was inspiring, it was motivational.  We worked on technique, cueing, how to motivate our classes, how to make our classes feel special, and our own fitness level.  I thought I loved Body Pump before this weekend, but now I am obsessed!

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And good news…

I PASSED the training module.  I didn’t receive a pass withheld, I passed all the way.  That means that I only have to team teach four times (which I will probably do more) and then I can submit my video to receive FULL certification, and my first team teaching session is tomorrow morning.  I couldn’t be more excited.

I am so happy that I completed this training, and I cannot wait to begin my Body Pump and Les Mills career.

After I found out I passed, I immediately came back home.  Brian and I then headed out straight to his parent’s house to celebrate my birthday.

Everyone had burgers, but Brian’s dad specifically made me cod with roasted peppers and onions.  It was delicious and much needed nourishment after such a physically active weekend 🙂

Brian’s mom also made delicious strawberry cupcakes with homemade strawberry icing.  I felt like I could have eaten about three of them, but somehow contained myself to one.

Today

Waking up at 6am today was like a treat after waking up at 4am and 5am this weekend for training.  I honestly expected not to be able to move this morning because this weekend we completed 4 Body Pump classes, a technique Boot Camp, and the Body Pump challenge (in which I probably lifted more weight than I ever have before!).  Yet, my body is not any more sore than usual!  I still plan on taking the day off from weight lifting and cardio, and I plan on attending a yoga class this evening.  I am expecting it to be very relaxing.

I started my day with some overnight oats in a jar.  They were delicious as usual.  One of my favorite things about eating the oats from a jar is scraping the last bits of peanut butter off of the bottom of the jar and having be like a little surprise underneath the oatmeal on my spoon.  What can I say?  I love peanut butter.

Because I had such a full weekend, I have to do some errand-type things today, like grocery shopping.  Brian and I are about out of food!  I am also volunteering everyday this week except for Friday at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to help them prepare for the Maestro Open event this coming Monday.

I hope everyone had an amazing weekend, and is ready to start this week off right!