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Fitness Instructors: Up Your Game

Fitness instructors, the time has come for you to get it together. Gone are the days when this was a nice little side earner for you. So too, are they times you thought this was an easy qualification to get in lieu of ‘getting a proper job’. See, the fitness landscape has changed and I don’t see many fitness instructors even acknowledging that, let alone changing the way they work to accommodate it.

If you show up to just clock your hours, collect your pay cheque and leave, you should probably stand down. This thing is bigger than that now.

What you do is important. Like, seriously important. You do actually have to give a shit. You have to give a shit for all kinds of reasons. You have to give a shit on a large scale, for the wellness of society as a whole and on a smaller scale, that your client can trust you to meet their needs.

You’re dealing with people’s bodies, sure, but in case you’ve missed it, fitness has become much more about the mind now. And nope, it’s not an industry trend. It’s a reflection of the stresses of current society. People are using various forms of exercise now to sweat out their stresses, insecurities, depression, anxiety. Of course, that was always a part of working out, but only now, it seems, is that taking precedence over washboard abs.

So just showing up and droning on about going ‘beast mode’ is no longer enough.

You’ve gotta have more colours in your crayon box than that.

Can we be expected to be people’s therapists and counsellors? Maybe not, but we’re pretty damn close. It’s our responsibility to guide them through a work out that’ll conquer whatever demons they’re fighting that day. Just putting on some banging tracks and shouting out the names of exercises isn’t enough.

You do actually have to have a personality. You do actually have to inject who you are into what you do. Screw what you think – this is a creative field. It saddens me that I can really only think of two fitness instructors who have really inspired me, who have actually lifted my spirits during a workout and made me feel like I can conquer the world, or just plain made me laugh – made my workout into an experience, one I’d like to have again.

When people come to my spin classes, I want them to know that in my studio, for that 45 minutes, it’s their safe space. They can be whoever the hell they want to be, and I’ll be right there, as their personal cheerleader, helping them get there. I want them to laugh, cry, sing, whoop – whatever they want and need to do. I want them to set their spirit free, free of everything and everyone who’s held them down that day. I want them to sweat, work their muscles, get a good cardio session in, all that good stuff too obviously, but I want them leaving that room feeling like a super hero.

If I’m not hitting that mark or coming extremely close to it every damn time I go in that studio, I’m not doing my job.

It’s not about you. It’s about them. Screw your social media following and trying to be the next big thing in fitness. Take your ego out of it and actually do your job. Understand that job has changed.

It’s about more than sweat and muscles and reps and pace. You need to inspire, uplift, support, encourage, befriend, listen, cheerlead and most importantly, give a shit.

So here’s to the new breed of fitness instructors. Those who wish to half ass it, need not apply.