How to be confident when teaching a group fitness class
Most people get into teaching group fitness classes because they love the class style, love fitness and want to share that passion with other people. Not everybody that becomes a fitness instructor has had experience standing in front of a group of people and presenting or performing, and your first few classes can seem like the scariest thing in the world. Lack of confidence can strike even the most experienced of us - sometimes all it takes is a new club, some bad feedback or an injury to send you into a bit of a wobble. So, how can you exude confidence when teaching a fitness class, even when you might not be feeling your best?
Know your choreography 100%
One of the easiest ways to feel confident is to have your choreography totally under your belt. If your routine is second nature then it is one less thing for you to worry about. When the choreo isn't 100% there, you spend most of the class in your head worrying about what comes next. Any little slip can throw you off and you worry how you can pull it back. If you know the choreo inside out then you can easily pick up on the next transition if you make a mistake.
Have an outline of a script
Scripting can be a really useful tool both to help cement choreography and prevent nervous rambling. Have an outline of what you want to say in each block of movement and then leave a bit of space to respond to the people in front of you. If you're feeling nervous it can be easy to fill up the silence with jibberish that is of no benefit to your participants. Scripting can eliminate the jibberish and give you something to latch on to if you are feeling anxious about the class.
Wear kit that makes you feel and look good
One of the things I struggle most with as a fitness instructor is my appearance. My body type is definitely "works out but also enjoys cheesecake!" In normal life I'm absolutely fine with this but sometimes we feel as instructors that we have to have 6 pack abs and bulging biceps to be considered a role model. Often, however, this isn't the case. Many people actually feel intimidated by this, especially when first starting their fitness journey. We all have times when we can feel a bit rubbish about our self-image so the way I combat this is to put on my favourite gym kit - the leggings that make my bum look really good and the top that highlights my shoulders whilst giving my bellies some breathing space! When I feel confident in how I look, I feel I can push myself more. I'm not so worried about how my stomach looks, I'm more worried about pushing the room to achieve their best. I also find that putting on my "instructor armour" helps boost my confidence. As soon as the mic belt goes round my waist and that headset goes over my ears, I'm no longer regular Chloe, I'm instructor Chloe - the most confident, extroverted side of my personality.
Focus on the people in front of you
This point links back to the last. When you take the focus off of yourself and your nerves and transfer it onto the people in front of you, you forget about whatever was going on in your head before the class. As soon as that music starts, this time is about them, not you. This is their workout, not yours. By shifting the focus onto your participants, whatever nerves or concerns you may have been feeling seem to disappear. The internal voice in your head switches from "oh god, what if they hate me?" to "right, how can I improve their workout?"
Have fun with it
The most important thing to help you feel confident when teaching fitness classes is to remember to have fun. My motto is that if you're not having fun doing group fitness, then you're not doing it right. At the end of the day, fitness is fun. It's not that serious. We're not finding a cure for cancer or trying to land a rocket on Venus. We're helping people to improve their health, reduce stress and enjoy movement. We get to actively impact the lives of people in a positive way. If you are having fun, I guarantee that your class will have fun with you. They will leave feeling on top of the world, and that's the sign of a job well done.