I have learned, over time, that all group fitness instructors are different, which is not necessarily a bad thing. We see things differently, we plan differently, we have different goals for ourselves and our classes.
I personally am a planner, especially when it comes to my spinning / indoor cycling classes. I like to have goals and purposes with every class I teach and, taking it a bit further, I like to let the people know what we are working towards each class and during the current period. I believe that when people understand the ‘method to the madness’ they will focus in a bit closer.
Now what do these plans have to include? Again, this is where everyone is different. You can micro-manage down to every move in a class or you can just give a general objective instead.
Let’s look at an example..
Let’s say I’m teaching a weights class today. I could approach it one of a few ways:
1. I could say we are going to use weights and walk into class and teach freestyle as I go (assuming I am experienced enough to pull this off, of course). The pros? Less time planning. The cons? You may not be prepared for the full class worth of work or the class may not flow as smoothly.
2. I could make a plan saying that well start with legs, then back, then chest work, and so on .. walk into class and determine the moves based on my ‘outline.’ The pros? Not too much time planning. The cons? Maybe the class flow would be affected here as well but at least you know where you are going.
3. I could outline my class and also list the moves I want to do… so maybe for legs we’ll work on squats, then dead rows and lifts for back, and so on. The pros? You’ll walk in with a good teaching base. The cons? A bit more planning is involved and you’ll still need to fill in the gaps while teaching some.
4. I could outline the class, list the moves, and specify how many of each I’ll do. Example… for legs it could be squats with XX number of single counts, maybe XX squat pulses, and so on. The pros? You’ll have it all laid out for you. The cons? Lots of planning involved.
There are really no wrong answers to this, to be honest. Sometimes as well we have been teaching for so long that our ‘go to’ class formats are something we even have memorized. Another nice trick is to keep a copy of your class layouts, especially the ones you like, so you can grab and reuse them down the road on the fly.
For me, I’m #3. I like to outline the muscle focus and the moves I want to incorporate but I will typically let the music and the workout intensity determine the reps, the length, etc of everything I teach in class.
Anyway, just a few thoughts on the matter. I definitely believe it’s worth trying all the different approaches, and others that I may not have mentioned, to find what works for you!
Happy day and thanks for reading!
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