Steve Tansey: On keeping it real

We chatted to Steve Tansey Head of Research & Development at Les Mills UK to find out what advice he’d give to those starting out in fitness. He’s been studying and working in fitness for 17 years, has a strong background in martial arts, and is a Les Mills Trainer and Presenter, so we think he’s pretty up for the task! Take it from here Steve…

  1. Stay up to date

If you understand the theory behind the workout, that’s when you become a master. I believe if you’ve got to grips with the biomechanics you’re in a better position to coach. Plus, adaptation theory (the way people respond to different workouts) is always being proved and disproved. Research develops and to stay credible as a fitness professional you need to be on top of it. I read a lot of journals, but this isn’t for everyone. The knowledge section of the Les Mills section of the website is a great place to start as we share a lot of our research.

  1. Avoid burn out

I know some Instructors that teach more than 30 classes a week. Everyone is different, but you need to be mindful of how many workouts are sustainable for you. Over training is often something associated with athletes, however Les Mills Head of Research, Bryce Hastings, explains this isn't always the case: "Athletes train solidly for six weeks and then change the intensity and frequency of their training, so they are never pushed to complete exhaustion. Exercise enthusiasts, or 'exercise addicts' identify their favourite types of training and then just go and go and go - they don't stop! They also have a tendency to add to their regime when something new comes along." Make sure you rest and don’t take on too much at once.

3. Factor in me time

I know that we’re always looking for those peak time classes, which are often the hours you may spend socializing or just taking some time for yourself. Make sure you think about your work-life balance and get some time to kick back. It will help you keep your enthusiasm up long term.

  1. You’re in the motivation game

You need to remember this to be successful in fitness. It is not just about being physically able. 50% of new gym members will drop out in 6 months. Half the battle is getting people to come back for another workout. It’s the bonds you create that make a difference to people’s adherence to exercise. Our research shows that more often than not, it is the additional coaching skills and personality of the Instructors that makes the biggest difference. At Les Mills we place a huge emphasis on connecting with participants so Instructors really can create those life-changing fitness experiences. For me, it can be what makes it all worthwhile.

  1. Be open to other forms of training and skills

You won’t end up an expert if you only look at one thing. That applies to training and skills you pick up in other roles. In terms of training, go and try out as many classes as you can, Les Mills and beyond. You’ll find that you learn and grow as an Instructor. Being a fitness Instructor gives you lots of opportunity to transfer other skills like communication, business management (as you are your own boss), teaching and many others. This can also help you to find the workout that you’re most passionate about and that’s key to loving your job.

Thanks Steve. Look out for Steve on stage at Les Mills Live, in a LES MILLS GRIT initial module training, or BODYCOMBAT AIM near you. Or follow him on Instagram @steve.tansey