What you need to do to become a good fitness instructor

Melbourne is awash with personal trainers, group fitness classes, gyms and boot camps. So if you’re considering getting into this industry, be prepared to work hard to define yourself and stand out from the multitude of fitness professionals.

Your approach to learning

Despite what advertising materials may suggest, being a good trainer isn’t solely about which fitness instructor course you complete in Melbourne. It’s about how much work you put into your education yourself. Attending an average course may leave you at a disadvantage initially, but use work placement experiences across different facilities as an opportunity to compare examples of best practice in the fitness industry. Once you graduate this will assist you in defining the type of trainer you do NOT want to be, which will also help you decide what type of career to pursue.

Another tip is to be someone who has either trained a good subsection of the population (i.e. different ages, fitness levels and health goals) or someone who is truly specialised in training for a specific population and sticks to that niche. In some instances, students undertaking fitness courses already have a clear passion or experience in a type of fitness which they are seeking to teach. If you’re one of these, use the expertise of your trainers to help you learn as much about your target area as possible. If you’re still unsure, it’s perfectly acceptable to start general and then specialise at a later date or remain a general fitness guru. There is demand across the industry for both types of trainers, but being an excellent communicator is less common. Thus, aside from your technical expertise, invest time in learning how to teach, as pedagogy is neglected in some fitness courses.

Therefore, the best fitness instructors are also the ones that are passionate about continued education. They continue their registration out of genuine interest in the latest knowledge about fitness rather than needing to maintain professional points.This of course, may mean that you do courses, read articles or attend seminars that don’t provide you with points but broaden your professional horizons and provide a wider context to your understanding of fitness.Additionally, you’ll want to consider joining relevant professional bodies specific to your area of fitness. A general trainer would probably want to start with a Fitness Australia membership and registration, for example, and this provides a lot of industry support and contacts which are invaluable when you’re starting out in particular. For a more specialized type of fitness, a good place to start is to do some research on people currently in the field that you admire and see if you can uncover their networks and affiliations.

Following on from networks and continued education, head online and become a part of the thousands of communities that are available concerning fitness. Only rely on reputable sources if you’re gaining specific advice, but it’s also useful to have a broad understanding of the latest trends and fads in the fitness world, even if slightly ridiculous. This is another valuable source of research as you can learn what potential future clients are getting excited about, or seeking out, in terms of fitness services. Of course, once you get into the field, social media and a digital presence is almost essential in this day and age to establish yourself in the industry.

On the floor

A good instructor will be able to manage the room deftly so everyone gets an amount of one-on-one time if required. Instructors that are in demand are those which are especially good at balancing the needs of multiple skill levels and energies that people bring to group fitness sessions, which can change from workout to workout. This is a technique that you’ll develop over time with experience,but while you learn, get to a bunch of random classes of any type to experience different coaching styles and try them out yourself. You’ll most likely seemoreteaching diversity if you experience classes aimed at different demographics. For example, daytime tai chi will give you exposure to an older population and 6.00am spin class will have a hardcore base of clients.Keep in mind that as you get to know clients, it will be easier to discover what motivates them best. However, being human, even this is subject to change based on their lives. Training with a hangover, recent bad news or even just running late will invariably effect your clients, so endeavour to balance empathy with a good work out for them.

Unless you have deliberately marketed yourself as providing a traditional military style work out, a good instructor will be able to motivate without humiliating, something which many instructors inadvertently do when they are genuinely trying to get someone excited about exercise. Again, this can be a learned skill, but the best way to gauge how your client is tracking is to monitor their body language especially in-between exercises. Some clients are fine with corrections called out from across the roombut others will prefer you to approach them more quietly, even if you verbally communicate exactly the same thing. You will develop your own personal teaching style or perhaps already have one, but be on the lookout for subtle cues from your client in order to fine tune how you interact with them.Correspondingly, you really should learn your client’s names! In small group and one on one training this is a straightforward task, but in a larger group fitness or gym situationthis is more of a challenge. There are a number of memory improving techniques such as using mnemonic devices, taking notes or doing a quick round the room introduction for a few classes. Whatever you use, it will make a difference in how you can connect with your clients, especially in the face of the many mass market fitness classes available today. This is also a step towards creating a supportive fitness environment thatwill help you retain clients in the longer term.

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