1. SAY NO
To the class we don't want to take on , to the crap rates from some facilities, to the person who gave a positive PAR-Q and we don't think we are insured to teach, we constantly feel under pressure to say yes. I think it's a general human quality that is magnified because we feel genuinely lucky to be doing a job we love. The thing is, it is still a job which pays our bills and hopefully affords us a social life with the people that we love. If it's not worth prepping the class, driving to the venue, teaching the class and then driving home all for £20 then it's not worth it end of. And as for the PAR-Qs..... I know we want to be inclusive and I know we hate turning people away, but if you're not insured and you're not comfortable then youre going to have to get used to it. It is just part and parcel of the job.
2. CUT CLASSES WITHOUT BEATING MYSELF UP FOR 3 MONTHS BEFOREHAND
We all know this one right.... a year ago this was the busiest class on our timetable, now no-one wants to know. It's a tough one to get our heads around but we have to learn to do it and move on. Yes some of our participants will be sad but it's weighing up how much you are prepared to let that affect your income, your self confidence and your love for the job.
3. HOW TO DEAL WITH OCCASIONAL ASSHOLE/6 FOOT HUMAN THAT INSISTS ON STANDS INFRONT OF YOU EVERY CLASS
This is the kind of situation that everyone develops a different coping strategy for... there is no right or wrong. For me it's forceful banter.... after all it's my class and I'm the boss right?
A few years ago I turned up to cover Zumba in a posh area now I hate covering, in fact to the point I no longer do it unless it's for an absolute best friend. This woman came up to me and actually snarled 'Well I hope you're good, Mary is amazing'. Now I was outraged that anyone could go out of their way to try
to make someone feel small so I smiled at her with eyes like death and I said 'Lucky for you I'm fucking awesome' and I walked off to set my music up. Some people are just c#nts for fun, don't let them get to you. Also I think for me I don't give a f#ck if I piss off a group ex manager or not, I try hard to be good at my job, I'm polite to people even if I want to choke them with their 0.5kg dumbbell, but if they're actually rude they can sit and swivel as far as I'm concerned. That's how I am in life so I don't see why it should be any different for work.
4. HOW TO UNLEASH MY INNER PERSONALITY INFRONT OF A ROOMFUL OF PEOPLE I BARELY KNOW
Now I really think this is down to committing to the moment. Stop worrying about whether you know the choreo, whether Betty in the front row thinks you're a twat or whether you might have just peed yourself a bit on that tuck jump. Live in the moment, be 75% of the person you are with your best people and have a ball. What goes down in the studio stays in the studio..... it's your stage and you are there to make them feel like it's their stage too.... if you can't lose yourself in the music how can you expect them to! It takes ages for some of us. To stop pretending to do it like other people.... and just be happy with the goober that we are. But we all get there eventually. And if you don't, try imagining it's 11pm and you're a bottle of prosecco down. That might help!
5. RELAXING ON THE PREP
Each class doesn't have the content of a Broadway musical or a bodybuilding.com program. As long as your people are getting a good workout, learning a little something new every week or getting better at what they do know then your job is done. The aim of the game isn't to wow the fitness world with your prowess, it's get your bodies the results they are after. Simples! And if you're not, get your head in some books.... upskilling is the route to avoiding getting stuck in a rut when it comes to class content and current training protocols!
All in all you guys do a fab job so cut yourself some slack. You've got this shit!
Anna is a qualified Personal Trainer, experienced Group Exercise instructor and a Master-Trainer for an international fitness brand. Owner of Vital Signz Dance. Creator of 14 Day Fix home workout program, Rave Tone, Hype Dance Fit & BASSBox. .