Hey Fitties! I hope you enjoyed Michelle’s guest post yesterday.  She’s offering her insight after her first few months of teaching Zumba and it’s wonderful wisdom she’s sharing. Remember, fitness and group exercise is really just a metaphor. These principles can be applied to any area in your life where you’re pushing yourself but are uncertain of your abilities. Once again, if you’d like to check out Michelle’s blog, she blogs at Michelle Mason Fitness.  Take it away Michelle!

I would also say that another crucial thing that I’ve learned thus far as a newbie instructor is that it’s important to cut yourself a little bit of slack. I can be a little hard on myself in general, and tackling the fine art of group exercise instruction was no exception. I took a lot of other instructors’ classes in the weeks before I started teaching just so I could see how they conducted their classes and cued steps. Doing this can be helpful, but with a caveat: remember first and foremost to be true to yourself, your style, and understand that your teaching abilities will grow over time – with lots and lots of practice. I found that I was getting a little frustrated with myself for not being able to cue as effortlessly or choreograph my own dances as well as some other, way more experienced instructors.

I had to stop doubting myself for what I couldn’t do as well as I thought I should be able to, and instead I focused on what I could do well: make people who were possibly trying Zumba for the first time, or were intimidated by exercise in general, to feel comfortable. At the beginning of my first class I said, “Raise your hand if this is your first time taking Zumba. Now raise your hand if this is your first time teaching Zumba,” to which I raised my hand. It made everyone laugh and put them at ease, and I think knowing that I was brand-new allowed them to cut me a bit of slack, too. I also always tell my classes not to worry about messing up, and to just keep moving and having fun no matter what, so it helped to take my own advice here.

I have already found in my limited experience that you cannot be let down when people do not come back to your class. I’ve only had one walkout so far, but I’ve had probably close to a dozen who have come to one class and then haven’t returned. It’s hard not to take this personally; I put so much time and effort into my classes because I want people to have FUN, and clearly if someone leaves during class, or doesn’t come back, then they probably weren’t having a good time. But I’ve learned that if you are going to teach group exercise, then you are going to have to get over this pretty quickly. It’s not always about you, but sometimes it is, and you have to accept that not everyone’s going to like you. It happens, and it’s best to just move on.

Michelle will have some concluding advice tomorrow and I will see you Fitties later on today!