Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What motivates you?

I can't tell you what got me thinking about this... maybe it's having taken a break from teaching over the last few weeks that got me reflecting about my role as a group fitness instructor. But, I've been thinking about the differentthings that motivate people to teach group exercise classes. This kind of reflecting is helping me figure out what kind of instructor I am and what kind I might want to be, so I thought I would share.

Motivation #1: You enjoy exercising and teaching.
This one seems the most obvious - it's great to find a job (be it full-time or part-time) that you actually enjoy. This is probably the easiest motivation to identify because you actively experience the pleasure of teaching on a regular basis. As long as your students are also enjoying themselves, it's all good.

Motivation #2: You want to stay in shape.
Ain't nothing wrong with this one, and we all know teaching group exercise classes can be a great workout (especially when you have to give 150% to get any sort of movement out of your students!). This is a critical motivation to recognize if it applies to you, as it can easily cause you to become complacent in your teaching or miss cues from your students about whether they're getting what they should from your class (in terms of a good workout as well as emotional support).

Motivation #3: You want to inspire others to stay in shape.
A noble motivation for sure, if this sounds like you you're likely giving out regular praise and motivation during your class. Something to keep in mind: while most students appreciate being pushed to be their best, some students do not want to be singled out in class, even if it's for something positive. It's important to be mindful of the words you use and assumptions you might make about why everyone is in your class.

Motivation #4: You want a flexible career.
I know many instructors who may have gotten started for one of the reasons above, but stick with teaching because it affords them flexibility to be home with their kids or to pursue other interests on a non-traditional work schedule. I've also seen several of these folks burn out because they take on too many classes to make ends meet. If flexibility is what you're after, you have to be sure you've done your cost/benefit analysis and continue to check in with yourself to make sure your schedule isn't more trouble than it's worth.

Which motivation keeps you in the studio? What pitfalls do you have to look out for?

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