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    Instructor insights

    The secrets to creating a great group fitness Instructor

    A single great group fitness Instructor is able to attract and retain hundreds of members. A great team of Instructors can be the inspiring face of your business, bringing in thousands of members over time. But a good team needs great management, to help them work at their best. Investing time and resources into a high-quality Instructor team is something clubs will see significant returns on in the long-run.

    Phillip Mills

    So, what should you be looking for when recruiting Instructors? I’ve seen that successful Instructors share five key strengths. Some are innate skills; some can be built up through good coaching and management:

    1. X factor

    Encourage them to be rock stars, with magnetic stage presence and the ability to create huge excitement on the floor. Some are born with it, and some can be coached to bring it out. Experience on the stage, in theatre, dance or music can be valuable.

    2. Physical execution

    Teachers who move beautifully are inspirational and easy to follow. Many of the best Instructors come from dance, gymnastics and other sports involving technical perfection and coordination.

    3. Coaching ability

    People love intelligent instruction on the what, why and how of exercise. Personal trainers are often strong in this area, as are sports coaches, dance teachers and even school teachers.

    4. Relationship building

    Some leading Instructors attract full classes, despite not having the greatest form. Their secret? Working hard to create friendships, trust and loyalty with the people attending their workouts.

    5. Class design

    Combining great music with the right exercises means physical results and motivational magic. It’s a crucial skill shared by the world-class Instructor team who create our LES MILLS programs.

    Talented Instructors armed with the latest training in these skills can have a remarkable impact on retention. A study by Les Mills and Curtin University in Perth highlighted the effect fitness Instructors can have on whether members keep up, or give up, their exercise regime.

    6. Art of inspiration

    Ask Bryce Hastings, Les Mills Head of Research, about motivation and he explains that achieving the long-term behavior change necessary to fall in love with fitness requires the conversion of extrinsic motivation into intrinsic motivation – and there’s a real art to doing this effectively.

    Studies show participants are far more likely to fall in love with fitness if they are led by a talented professional Instructor who:

    • Allows them to feel in control of their workout – encouraging them to push themselves when they can, take a break if needed and even leave when they have had enough.
    • Is on their team – they don’t tell them “you have to” they inspire them with terms like “let’s…”
    • Empathizes and feels their pain when the going gets tough. This makes them easier to relate to.
    • Recognizes the efforts of exercisers and gives genuine meaningful praise which builds confidence.
    • Explains why exercisers are doing specific exercises – knowing that when people understand the benefits they’re more likely to embrace the exercises with enthusiasm and shift behavior.
    • Wants to connect and shows a real interest in participants – taking the time to learn names and understand training goals.

    7. Intrinsic motivation

    When Instructors lead with this approach it fosters motivation that is self-determined – meaning participants choose to be active because of how it makes them feel, rather than because they feel they have to. This is the secret to long-term behavior change.

    Great Instructors are essential. So - are your current team equipped to inspire member loyalty at your club? Is it time to bring in someone new? Are there personal trainers working in your club who are potential group fitness stars? Or can better team management help your current Instructors to step up?

    8. Communication is key

    Motivational communication has long been an integral part of Les Mills Instructor training. Our Instructors receive in-depth initial and advanced training, plus educational sessions every three months. Partnering with us ensures that your Instructors will be trained in a motivational communication style that will help increase class attendance and help you to retain members.

    If you have Instructors who aren’t Les Mills certified, it’s good team management practice to help them achieve it. It’s the ideal way to set Instructors on the right path for themselves, the people in their classes, and for your business.

    Contact us to see what Les Mills training opportunities are happening in your area.