Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fitness Instructor Musts and WIAW

Today's adventures began with a boot camp class at the gym. My mom and I took a different boot camp class on Monday, and unfortunately today's just wasn't quite as good. I thought the workout itself felt just as challenging as the one on Monday, but it lacked the energy and fun I enjoyed on Monday.

The difference between the two classes--and the fact that I almost never take fitness classes since I don't belong to a gym--made me wonder about what makes an instructor awesome. Here's my list:
  • Well-planned and thoughtfully set up classes. Equipment should be ready to go when the class starts (get the participants to help if they've arrived early and are willing), and participants shouldn't have to step over each other to get to the next station, if applicable. Essentially, the setup should make sense for how the class will proceed. I love it when yoga teachers help make sure everyone has enough room around their mat.
  • An awesome workout. I guess this part's obvious, but the instructor should know what he or she is doing in terms of the actual workout. Whether it's yoga or Zumba or a circuit class, the best classes (in my experience) are the ones that work the body in a balanced way, employ a variety of exercises to engage a range of muscles, and don't make me feel bored!
  • Solid flow. Moving from the warm up to the meat of the workout to the cool down should feel natural and should be very clear. I love when instructors announce what's happening next so I can mentally prepare for it. Also, we shouldn't have a ton of lag time between workouts, except during rests.
  • Clear communication. My favorite instructors are the ones who explain what body parts we should be working, give cues on form, discuss the length of each set (we're doing 50-second intervals with 30 seconds of rest, or we're doing 10 reps here). In other words, how should I be feeling and how long will I be feeling it? :-) Also, providing modifications is key!
  • Great energy. Between music, enthusiastic encouragement, and terrific exercises, instructors use all types of methods of boosting the energy in the room. To be fair, the participants can (and should!) respond back with more energy, but it all starts with the teacher!
That list aligns almost exactly with what I believe it takes to be a good (classroom) teacher. Shocking, right? A good lesson plan, solid prep, clear instructions, moving seamlessly from one activity to the next, and the teacher setting a good tone for the class. Hopefully if I become a fitness instructor someday I can incorporate all these qualities!

(I tried to find a fun fitness meme to throw in luck. They're all pretty bad. Let me know if you see any good ones.)

And now for today's meals. I've been at my parents' house this week, so I have access to some foods I don't normally buy while also trying to introduce some of "my" foods to my parents.

Breakfast: Honey Nut Cheerios, honey dew melon, raspberries, and tea

Lunch: whole wheat pita "sandwich" with hummus, cucumber, avocado, and Havarti cheese

Evening snack: A handful or two of popcorn and wine

Dinner: spinach salad with bacon, mushrooms, cranberries, and poppyseed dressing

My contribution to the meal: an eggplant and zucchini "lasagna" with a side of whole wheat spaghetti, enjoyed with another glass of wine :-) 

And for dessert: chocolate coconut milk ice cream while playing Scattergories! 

Off to bed; tomorrow's a busy one. Hope you had a wonderful Wednesday!

What qualities make a terrific fitness instructor?

1 comment:

  1. I think your list sums up what I look for and instructor along with them being motivational! There's nothing worse than an instructor who doesn't have a plan though.