1. THINK OF THE EFFORT OTHERS HAVE MADE TO GET TO YOUR CLASS
Marlon Woods: “I always remind myself that it’s not about me. It may be my first or fourth class of the day, my fifth or fifteenth class of the week. I may be stressed, I may be jet lagged, but it’s not about me, it’s about the people in front of me. It may be the first time in weeks someone in that class did something for themselves. I have an obligation to give my all, because they honored me with their time.”
Reagan Kang: “They could be watching a movie, having coffee or drinks with their friends, but they are willing to be there with you in class. Do it for the people.”
Kylie Gates: “1. Go back to your WHY – why do you do what you do? It should be bigger than you so it pushes you forward. 2. Think about the effort that people make to get to your class. 3. Have a coffee and roll the sleeves up – sometimes the classes you don’t want to do end up being your best ones!”
Ben Main: “Listen to mint music. When super busy I put some time aside to relax. When I’m on the road and exhausted and tired and just wanna stay in a hotel room I think of the bigger picture and all the people that have travelled to see me, then I get there early to connect. This lifts me up and creates energy for the class!”
Allison Wang: “Thinking about the people who go to your class and wait for you to show up and teach, that always gives me the motivation to be there with my smile on and ready to go.”
Minttu Havumäki: “Do you remember those times as a participant when you rushed to class after work or school, you knew you'd see the regular faces there, you were pumped to see the Instructor, have a great workout and a chat afterwards? Draw positive energy from that and remember all the fantastic people coming to your class. Not just anyone's class, YOUR class. Because we all have at least one participant who really likes the way we push them, encourage them, provide the best dang workout there is.”
2. SWITCH YOUR MINDSET
Caley Jäck:“I have a playlist on my phone that has some of my FAVORITE inspo songs, happy vibez and they make me feel unstoppable! This is a game changer - helps me heaps!
• I try to remind myself that placing my needs aside for that 1hr could potentially change someone’s day or week - for me, that's worth it!
• My WHY/PURPOSE within what I do is such a biggy too. It really helps reset my perspective
• Also, you're getting paid for a service - showing up and doing your best is simply part of a work ethic you either choose to be a part of or not .. haha”
Eliza Pearsey: “I change my phrasing to “get to” instead of “have to”. It reminds me that it’s a privilege to get to do this.”
Cameron Holmes: “Just think... it’s show time.”
Angelica Mercedes Soriano McQuade: “My pick-me-up is the ‘Triple-M’: a quick gratitude Meditation (to shift my focus to what's good in my life), some Music (to get me moving) and remembering the Members who come for support, rain or shine. Plus I always walk out of class feeling better, more focused, and happier than I went in... not too many jobs out there can produce that level of afterglow as consistently as this one.”
Joanne Lambert Ward: “I tell myself how good I'm going to feel afterwards. There are many days where, if I didn't HAVE to be there, I probably wouldn't be. I also remind myself that many participants may be feeling the same way – dragging themselves there too, with the promise of ‘I'm going to feel great later’ just like me. They count on me to help them feel better. I can't let them down.”
Inna Yanez Orozco: “Several things help me: 1) I made a commitment to be there and teach. 2) It is my job and I get paid for it. 3) If I were in their shoes I'd like to be led through a great workout experience. 4) I select music that pumps me up, and 5) remind myself it is for them!
"I've been there several times, especially when I am overworked or I am dealing with emotional issues. Connecting to the music transports me to the perfect place!”
Caroline Stewart Horstmann: “As a participant, I always felt discouraged when the Instructor came up on stage and unloaded his/her day or personal problems on the class, even if it was just something as mundane as being tired or not feeling like being there. It always gave me a bad vibe.
"So now I’m an Instructor, I just commit myself to leaving all my own problems outside the room and giving it my best on stage. I usually find that when I’m on stage, any feelings of not wanting to teach get swept away as I get caught up in the energy of teaching. If I’m really down I’ll promise myself, “it’s only one hour, then you can relax.” Or, as a last resort, finding a sub if I’m truly too fatigued or emotionally stressed and in need of a rest day.”
Rebecca Curran: “Remembering that people have paid good money for you to turn up and exercise them for an hour. Basically fake it until you remake it! The show must go on. It’s not about us.
"I also have realised that EVERY job has its repetitive moments... even cardiac surgery or being a pilot! You just need to keep yourself fresh with mixing up releases and having interests and other work outside of teaching. This thinking has kept me teaching for ages.”
3. GET YOUR ACTING SKILLS ON
Beth L. Ferree: “I have always practiced “fake it till you make it” and I swear it works. There has never been a time that I didn’t put a smile on my face, even when I didn’t want to, but naturally someone smiles back and it gets you going. I can’t help but get energized by the feedback I receive.”
Nichola Charlene: “Sometimes being a great Instructor means being a great actor/actress. This happened to me a few weeks ago that I pulled into the parking to sub a BODYCOMBAT™ class and I said to myself, “I really don’t want to teach!” This was 10 minutes beforehand… I was having an internal temper tantrum. But I knew I could not walk in with that attitude. So sometimes you have to fake it.
"I started with my normal intro with an exaggerated smile and got the music going. But over the course from one track to the next my internal attitude matched external attitude. I was genuinely happy to teach and my people looked happy to be there. For me it’s making an assumption for why my participants are there. Sometimes it’s an escape from their realities and sometimes it’s just fitness, but it’s our job to deliver that escape. My “why” has always been more than getting people in shape. It’s the reminder that I know I have participants with personal struggles and that the hour is so needed for them. So I put my attitude on pause. If you connect with your participants as you teach, the attitude will flip.”
Dawn Cushing: “I’m an introvert by nature. Often I have to pull out the “Instructor character” and act. I literally use techniques from my acting class days. Then by the second song I start diggin’ it and it’s no longer acting. Sometimes I tell them the truth and ask my participants for help to make it through class. Everyone has those days.”
Glen Ostergaard: “Strong black coffee does the trick!
"A pre-class ‘Priming workout’ helps me get in the zone – a stretch and kettlebell swings are great for firing the posterior chain… snatch, cleans just before BODYPUMP™. A run before RPM™ ignites the aerobic system.
"But always a strong black coffee – short black, extra shot.”
Jennifer McCleary Kozuch: “A little caffeine and listening to music will lift my mood before class. I create a custom playlist with my favorite tracks so I can’t be grumpy!”
Gandalf Archer Mills: “Whenever I feel flat before class, I'll drink half a litre of water and 15 minutes later – BAM! I feel much better! Right before I teach I put on my headphones and stretch to get into a buzzed, good feeling headspace.”
5. REMEMBER YOUR OWN SELF-CARE
Dee Tjoeng: “I get this more often than I’d like because I’m usually so drained from working at the hospital!
I do a couple of things:
• Pump up my favorite music and have a dance around the living room! This always gets me in a good mood and my energy levels back up.
• If I have one of those days where I don’t feel like teaching it’s usually because I’ve been neglecting my own self-care. Whenever possible I’ll make sure I do something for myself before my class or have something to look forward to after my class. It could be the smallest thing like having a coffee at a cafe by myself or going for a walk.
• I remember my “why”. Why do I do what I do? What do I hope that my members will feel when they leave the class? This always reignites my excitement to teach my classes and gets me back in the right mindset.”
Gabby James: “I have actually made my mental health worse by forcing myself to teach, it is easy just to say “fake it” but sometimes you just can’t. We give so much of us to our participants that we sometimes lose time for ourselves. My advice is to take a break. I had taken a couple of weeks off to just give me some time and I feel so much better, I taught Saturday, played all my favorite songs and had one of the best classes of my teaching life! The participants will understand and we need to look after our mental health, not just our physical health. Take a break, get outside, go to the gym, go dancing, yoga, run, watch TV, have a back massage – just take a couple of weeks off for you and you may find you come back refreshed and recharged.”
“1. Honour the sacrifice of your members who come to your class to see… you! Instructors, more than music and chorey, are what make the class.
2. Seek feedback on your instructing – ask your GFM or a widely respected local instructor to assess your class to give you pointers to improve. That way you can focus on each class on improving your instructing and give you something new to focus on.
3. Learn a new programme – the differences in music and vocal feel can help re-energize your instructing batteries.
4. Discover a new hobby or rediscover an older hobby – do something completely non-fitness related. It could be playing video games, joining a book club or binge watching Netflix, or a hobby you may have stopped doing because you got swept up in group fit - just find something to do. They say separation makes the heart grow fonder so do something completely un-Les Mills related. It’s OK to have a life outside of group fit.
5. Seek covers actively in different timeslots, or participate in other people’s classes and make new friends and connections – sometimes it gets boring seeing the same faces day in day out so go to someone else’s class, either as a cover or just as a participant and get to know the members on the floor.
6. Throw a themed class to raise money – get people to dress up and bring some food along. Everyone loves a good party and breaks the monotony of being serious (ish) all the time.
7. If you have a back catalogue, why not pull out a golden oldie fave of yours that you loved as a participant and teach it? Nostalgia is a great way to boost the endorphins and older tracks can add variety to a class.
8. If all of the above doesn’t work, then take a break. Rest. Get cover for your class and have a mini-vacay. That way you can mentally and emotionally refresh and then come back into your class recharged and raring to go!”
Rachael Newsham: “It’s impossible to spend 20 years teaching group fitness without having some REAL struggle street situations. I can happily say I survived ALL of them. Many times I have found myself gathering strength from the absolute deepest part of my soul and it’s during that class that I have really refined my teaching skills. No one can prepare you for that situation. It’s up to you to choose how to play your cards. Step forwards into character-building space, or step away into self-love and care street. For me I always put my participants’ needs first, and I know they are counting on me to turn up and serve up some motivation and inspiration, so indeed I do! Often I have found some of my best coaching comes out in these types of classes because it has been forged from a real authentic space when I was all in my feelings. I can only think of one time when I didn’t make class, and that wasn’t me backing down. That was me drawing a line and putting my needs ahead of work for once, and it was long overdue.”