“The beginning of your Les Mills teaching career is such a stimulating time,” says legendary Trainer Bevan James Eyles. “Completing your first module, putting the work in to prepare for your first classes, getting on stage for the first time, then aiming to improve from there so you can go solo. Can you remember how that felt?
“The reason this time is so stimulating is because you are growing in so many ways and you are continually discovering amazing things about yourself – often things you never thought possible. You were stretching yourself, frequently stepping outside your comfort zone.
“After the first period of growth and stimulation we can get to a place where we fall into the habit of ‘just teaching’. You have the skills to do a good job, but you are no longer challenging your growth to the same level. While you may be enjoying teaching, the inner rewards aren’t the same.”
Sound familiar? For those of us who have been teaching for a while, when new release time rolls around it can feel like it’s simply a race to get the new material learned. Somehow the “magic” disappears and, if we’re honest, it can feel like a chore to learn the new stuff – especially if we teach multiple programs!
Let’s flip this on its head. Rather than seeing new release time as “same same, but different”, it can be an opportunity to check in with where we’re at. “For longevity, we need to have continual growth," adds Bevan. "If we commit to ongoing growth, we spend time self-reflecting on where we currently are and where we can go next. We then do the work which helps us find that next level.”
Here are 4 tips to help you “relaunch yourself for launch”:
- Change your mindset
“Before you teach the new release, you need to identify what you’re excited about, whether that be the playlist or the type of training,” says Les Mills Ambassador Khiran Huston. “If you’re walking in feeling down on the fact that you don’t love BODYPUMP 122, for example, you’re already starting on the back foot. It has to start with enjoyment; you need to be pumped.”
“When I was living in Australia, I had a period of teaching where I felt in a bit of a rut,” says Creative Director Kylie Gates.” I was teaching the same members I’d taught for 10 years, I was feeling a bit tired and worn out. But then I realized, it all comes back to mindset. I couldn’t change the people around me, but I could change how I showed up.”
- Remember your “why”
“It can be easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget that what you do matters – that you are actually changing people’s lives,” says Kylie. “Understanding your driver is what ensures longevity in teaching. I’ve been an Instructor for over 28 years, and my why has changed over the years – what I had in my 20s is not what I have now. My why used to be all about technique and pushing for perfection. Now – I’m genuinely grateful that my members show up! My mentality is completely different.”
Khiran adds: “Sometimes we can be so fixated on “I have to learn the choreography and then I have to hit these coaching layers” that we forget about why we're actually teaching fitness. And not only that – we're providing people with a fitness experience. At the end of the day, it's the experience that will get them coming back not only to that program, but to you as an Instructor.”
- Switch up your coaching
I teach LES MILLS GRIT™ at the Auckland City club. Last week, my GFM Tash Vincent made a surprise visit to watch my class (always nerve-wracking when your boss shows up unexpectedly, right?!) At the end of the session, she said to me: “You’ve totally changed your style of teaching. It’s much more direct, way more in the essence of GRIT than before. It’s really great.”
I was quite surprised, because (a) I’ve been teaching GRIT for 9 years and didn’t realize I could still change my style – I thought I had it sussed – and (b) because this wasn’t something I had done deliberately. I had started teaching CEREMONY and had also started attending CrossFit classes for my own training, and somehow these new classes had influenced how I was teaching GRIT.
If you’re feeling a little stale and in need of some inspiration, try doing a class you’ve never done before – whether that be another Les Mills program or something completely different. When Kylie was “stuck in a rut” in Australia, she focused on how she could have fun with her class: “For me, at that time, I needed to lighten up. I realized I was focusing too much on technique, but teaching group fitness isn’t rocket science!”
“When people ask me how I'm still coming up with ideas after 20 years, it's because I'm constantly upskilling myself,” says Program Director Lisa Osborne. “I go to fitness conventions, I see what else is going on in the industry. The reason I started CrossFit actually was to see if there were ways the training could be relevant for BODYATTACK™. Because I'm always learning, I feel fresh and energized for each new release.”
- Refresh your look
You know how we get the new release and then admire (or judge) the looks that the Presenters are wearing?
There’s a whole team of people behind the scenes who have carefully crafted that look. They’ve deliberated on what it’s saying about the Presenter and how it represents where the program is today. Clothes can feel like armor – helping us step into the role of “Instructor.” We all know that feeling of wearing a brand-new outfit and feeling totally confident and unstoppable!
You’re probably not wearing the same clothes or sporting the same haircut you did five or 10 years ago, but when was the last time you refreshed your “teaching look”? This doesn’t have to be a whole new outfit – it could be something as simple as a different up-do or fun socks! (See Marlon Woods for sock inspo).
While we (probably) don’t have a team of stylists helping us to pick out our outfit, launch time can be a great opportunity to update your look and help you feel confident when you press play on that first track!
Try doing this before you launch:
- Why do you teach? Write down at least one reason.
- Write down one thing that you’re excited about when it comes to the new release, and one way you can show this excitement when you get on stage.
- Write down one new motivation cue you’ve never used before
- Identify one member in their class you've never spoken to, but who comes every week. How could you connect with that person?
- Something different you could do on launch day – anything goes – even as basic as getting to class 5 minutes earlier than normal!
- Who could you team teach with?
- What do you want your outcome for the class as a whole to be?
- What could you do before class to get yourself hyped up?
- What is your alter ego teaching name?! (eg Beyonce is Sasha Fierce)
Looking to progress your teaching? Contact your local Les Mills team to learn more about how Les Mills Qualifications (LMQ) can help you!