It’s sooooo close to Thanksgiving. After having a bit of the doldrums, I’m ready to suck the marrow out of the holidays. I mean it. I am going to clean my teeth with the marrow-less bones of the holidays after I suck them dry, so Scrooges and Grinches are warned!
I am pretending the booger emails in my inbox do not exist.
Ho ho ho.
So the last few days I’ve been sharing some teaching tips I’ve picked up from various programs and instructors. Before I go further, I should say that the most beneficial (and challenging) program I have ever taken as an instructor is the Powder Blue All Star Presenter Camp. It was a weekend of extremely useful coaching. If you’re in New England, I know Joie Walsh has a training coming up in the new year. Give her a shout, make it happen!
Something that really resonated with me at my camp is the idea that when you’re teaching, you’re not working out. This isn’t your workout, it’s your students‘ workout. Which means that your energy and enthusiasm should be high. Super high. Not “ugh, I’m going to the gym” high. But… HOORAY! I GET TO SEE ALL MY FRIENDS AGAIN AND DANCE AND JUMP AND HOOT AND HOLLER high.
Little kids running off to recess after math class high.
Will Ferrell in Elf high.
It also means like maybe you dress like you’re doing something special, even though, yeah, you’re just gonna sweat all over it. Chalene told us during our TurboKick training that instructors are really entertainers. People can work out at home, you know. They can work out on the treadmill. They come to group ex not because it’s the only way to get fit, but because it’s more fun.
So you gotta make it fun. It doesn’t just naturally happen. You gotta make it a performance. That doesn’t mean that teaching is about you showing off — no performance is. Think about the last musical or play you saw. The costumes, skill and energy of the actors and dancers were there for the audience‘s entertainment, not so they could strut their stuff.
This is why I stopped always wearing my hair slapped up in a ponytail. Yeah, it looks like hell after class when I leave it down. But who has ever gone dancing with their hair looking a mess simply because at the end of the night it was going to look awful anyway?
No one, right? And if our Zumba classes or Hustle classes are supposed to be parties, then we should do the same thing.
It’s also why I started wearing color when I teach. And big sparkley jewelry. And glitter. Yep, it’s messy, yep it takes some time to get it slapped on before I head out. There’s nothing like a little glitter to make a workout feel like a party. I might trademark that phrase!
I remember thinking Chalene was CRAZY because she wears makeup to teach. Like, full makeup. Even mascara and eyeshadow (if you’ve seen me sweat, you know why I think this is bizarre). She put it this way: Your students probably wear makeup to work. So should you.
That’s such a great perspective. Teaching group ex is the most funnest, most awesomest, most bestest job you will ever have in your life. But it is a job. Which means that you have to bring a level of professional commitment to your class. That might mean wearing a “uniform” that you wouldn’t wear in real life or seeking out professional development opportunities (like master classes or All Star Camp).
Sometimes you may attend a training with a presenter who feels that she does not have to put on a performance for other instructors. I’ve been to one where the presenter literally looked like she wore her pajamas to the certification (and didn’t comb her hair). I understand that — I don’t think Broadway dancers show up to their classes in full makeup and costumes (a Powder Blue presenter would never do this, by the way).
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that because fitness professionals may relax amongst themselves that you should relax your standards around your students.
So I shared my tips for making a class a performance — super duper high energy, colors, jewelry and grooming that are party-appropriate. Do you have any tips to share?