1. Study with the best. Great instructors remain students at heart and never lose the desire to learn from the best. Develop relationships with mentors and keep up with your continuing education. Do workshops that dive deeper into a particular focus. Take fitness classes outside your niche to open your mind to different cues, stretches, and movement patterns.
2. Work on your voice. Vocal energy has a huge impact on your leadership role when teaching a class (or training one-on-one.) Think of people you greatly admire. Chances are they have great voices. At the very least make sure people can understand and hear you. Consider a local voice class as part of your continuing education or check out YouTube for vocal exercises to increase your range and protect your voice.
3. Center yourself before class (or client sessions). Power comes from being grounded. Take a few moments before teaching to get in touch with your breath and your body. Meditation is very effective too. Even a minute or two can help.
4. Know your brand and own it. Are you a boot camp drill sergeant or the next yogi master? Or do consider yourself off the traditional fitness grid? What is the takeaway you want your students to leave class with? Calories burned? Sweat? Connectedness? Get specific on the results you seek from your clients and shape your teaching style around it. For example, with my Pilates mat class, my goal is to get my students to deeply connect to core muscles, to lengthen and experience flexibility and mobility. I want my students to leave class energized, standing tall and feeling great in their bodies, but not to work the muscles to the point of failure and exhaustion. The more specific you are about who you want to be as a trainer the more likely you will attract clients who are the right fit.
5. Listen to your students. We as trainers may enter a session or class with an idea of how we want it to go, but adjusting on the fly to how your client is feeling that day goes a long way. If a new parent comes in with very little sleep the night before, mentally and energetically you need to adjust expectations. Take your client’s goals seriously and make sure they are incorporated into the workouts.
6. Teach and teach and teach. Whether or not it actually takes 10,000 hours, if you want to become an expert you have to put the time in. If you have good instincts you will be able to read clients and know how to motivate them quickly. It takes time to find the ease of words. Teach at different studios/gyms to expose yourself to different environments and different types of clients. This will also help you get clear on what type of environment you thrive in: busy gym, boutique studio, etc.
7. Work on cueing. Every student responds differently to different kinds of cues: tactile, verbal and visual. You need a repertoire of different tools at your disposal if you are not getting through to a client with your usual ones. This is the number one benefit of being in an environment where there are other great and seasoned trainers. Observe their teaching style. Is there anything you can learn from them?
8. Videotape yourself teaching. While many of us do not love watching ourselves on video, the benefit from “being your own student” is invaluable. Look for these things in the video: voice, presence in the room, cues, words, tempo and energy. What can you improve on? Try and be as objective as possible.
9. Look outside the fitness world for inspiration. Reconnect with something in your life that always gives you joy (or you something have always wanted to try.) Find the time to fit this in. If you live your life with passion and joy, it comes through your teaching, and people will want to be around that energy.
Good luck in your journey! Trust in your knowledge and have faith that if you commit to your development you will naturally evolve into a stronger teacher.
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Andrea is passionate about the ability of Pilates to change lives. Andrea has studied movement her whole life. Prior to teaching Pilates, she danced professionally in New York and South Korea and has choreographed for musical theater, music videos & feature film. Andrea’s eye for detail and precision keeps clients focused and consistently challenged while having a fun workout! Andrea lives in Santa Monica with her husband Roberto and daughter Veronica.
To connect with Andrea and take advantage of her offerings, please visit www.andreawhitepilates.com
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