It’s the end of the class. The show’s over. How’d you do?
Are you getting that curtain call or walking out disappointed with your performance? That’s what it is after all - a performance. People from all over sign up to take your class, not just anyone’s class... your class.
Remember when having a bad teacher could ruin your favorite class or subject in grade school? A similar concept goes for group fitness. One class could make or break a class-goers first impression of your studio, instructor, and class. Whatever their first experience entails is what they imagine when thinking of your class or studio.
As an avid peerfitter and Wellness Solutions Consultant, I have experience on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to class experiences. Here are three items studios and fitness instructors should be mindful of when it comes to their clients' experience and the ‘performance’ they provide.
The right playlist.
Just like in any performance, music should be the support needed to draw in the audience. Whether you’re doing sprints in spin class, box jumps in bootcamp, or inversions in yoga, the music should match the performance.
If your class requires high energy at a fast pace, your playlist should have songs with a higher beat per second (BPS) and stay away from things that are more likely to put people in a relaxed mood. You want your attendees to catch all of the right feels during their session, but not everyone is excited about doing burpees to Coldplay.
By the same token, the playlists during breathing exercises or post-workout cool downs probably wouldn’t feature top 40 club hits. Whatever mood you’re trying to set in your class, just remember a lacking playlist takes away from your performance in more ways than one. If your playlist is boring and fails to engage your audience, you’re not only going to lose them in that class, but also in return visits.
Authenticity and energy.
If you aren’t feeling the role, you aren’t going to play it very well.
Your presence makes all the difference and if you aren’t focused your class won’t be either. Your audience wants to be engaged and moved by you and you’ve got the stage to do so. Make them feel that everything you say is sincere and as real as the sweat running down their faces.
A sure fire way of achieving that level of sincerity is to get down on the mat and sweat it out right beside them. While class goers seek instruction and guidance from you, nothing helps the mentally and physically exhausted like seeing sweat dripping from the seemingly perfect fitness freak leading the class. Don’t just walk and talk, get down and give them a show.
Agility to adjust the workout.
Once you’re on the same level as the audience, really bring the show home by helping personalize their workout.
Don’t just understand how to make the workout easier, but encourage your students to challenge themselves. Plan ahead for each workout and be ready to jump in when the time calls. You’ll build confidence in all levels of attendees by having the knowledge and equipment to modify their workouts as needed.
Don’t be afraid to hand your regulars a heavier dumbbell or demonstrate easier modifications for your first-timers. Regardless of how you choose to go about modifying the workout, your audience should continue to be engaged and not allowed to switch into autopilot.
I’ll never forget the first time I did a kettlebell swing at bootcamp. My first few swings weren’t horrible, but I didn’t know any better. I’m sure I was content with finishing that way for the rest of the set had it not been for the instructor. Loud and direct, he helped adjust my form, practice the better movement, then took the opportunity to encourage me to challenge myself. Sure, I would have been happy finishing my swings exactly as I started, but he engaged me and provided sincere motivation to challenge myself and finish strong. Small action, huge impression.
There you have it - three easy ways to make sure your performance is a hit and keeps your members- both new and returning- engaged and excited to come to class. Remember, you're not just helping them get in shape, you are helping them get motivated to develop habits. So prep the playlists, get pumped up, know your lines and “break a leg”!