Group X instructors can make or break a member’s experience. Having an energized, dedicated instructor can help members get excited for group X classes and keep them coming back.
According to Sharon Allen, the fitness and corporate wellness director of the Southeast Family YMCA, a branch of the Heart of the Valley YMCA, there are five essential traits to look for in group X instructors:
- They are confident.
“They come in, get the music cued, go in front of the class, introduce themselves, give eye contact and smile,” said Allen. “This may seem like a trivial characteristic, but the way an instructor starts the class sets the tone for the entire workout. If they seem rushed, disinterested, nervous, flustered or anything other than confident, participants know it and it immediately sets the tone.”
- They are able to give visual and verbal instructions.
“A skilled, outstanding group fitness instructor instructs people on the right muscles to use and engage such as their core,” said Allen. “There are certain factors of group fitness instruction that must be repeated like your regularly scheduled commercial break because you are always teaching them to the newcomer and reminding the person who comes regularly all the same.”
- They know how to cue.
“An outstanding instructor stays on the tempo and has the practiced skill of being able to tell participants what they are about to do before they do it,” said Allen. “So, if you want a person to do 20 jumping jacks, they know how to pump the participants up to say, ‘We are going to do 20 jumping jacks — in four, three, two, one,’ and get people excited and ready for what’s to come.”
- They create a sense of community and camaraderie within their classes.
“People feel connected to one another,” said Allen. “They may even start a phone tree or email group, and now thanks to social media, they may even form a Facebook group to keep one another encouraged and accountable. This is because outstanding group fitness instructors invest lots of time and energy into others, and most importantly, they do the same for themselves.”
- They invest in their continuing education.
“They know the importance of getting a nationally recognized certificate as an exercise instructor, in addition to trademarked specialty certifications for different formats for which they want to become highly skilled to have the licensing to teach,” said Allen. “Many even go on to pursue advanced academic study and attain degrees in the field of exercise instruction. They stay on the cutting edge of trends in the fitness industry. They are lifelong learners and exude this enthusiasm and passion for knowledge to their participants.”
Looking for these five traits when hiring group X instructors can help attract more members to attend classes and keep them coming back.