Thursday, March 28, 2019

Teach Your Fitness Passion at a Resort! Take a Teaching Trip!

Spring Break is right around the corner for our school district, and I am getting ready to pack my bags again for the third time and to go on what is known as a "Teaching Exchange".  A teaching exchange is where Fitness Professionals work through a Teaching Vacation Organization to get placed to teach a variety of fitness classes at magical all-inclusive resorts in the Bahamas, Mexico, Jamaica and many other Caribbean locations in exchange for a hotel room, food, beverages and onsite entertainment for the week. YEEEEEEEEES, the week!

I must admit, I was always curious why a company would pay for me and my family to go away for a week, and all I had to do was " teach classes". I teach classes anyway while I am at home. I always wondered "what the catch was". I saw posts on Facebook, in chat groups, and I even heard about this opportunity during my Zumba® training, but I always thought it either sounded "too good to be  true" OR "I clearly had to be missing something". Three years ago I decided to just go for it. I convinced my family (that wasn't hard), I signed up through the company I chose to host me, I picked a resort, chose a week, a match was made, and off I went. I have to be honest, the first year standing in the airport waiting to depart I was VERY nervous. Several things ran through my head:
  • What if this is a hoax and I show up for the week and they aren't expecting me?
  • What if I actually have to pay for my family of 5 to be there? 
  • What if there are no rooms available?
  • What if my van doesn't show up to get me to the resort? 
  • What if? What if? What if? What if?
There are a handful of reputable agencies to work through, my experience happens to be with Fit Bodies, Inc. In my experience, Fit Bodies provides excellent customer service, and clear communication on what to expect in terms of what I needed to do before my trip as well as during the trip. 

Here are a few key take-a-ways:
  • It is Legit: It is NOT a scam. If you always wanted to go, but had reservations about it; TAKE THE PLUNGE! It will be worth it.  
  • Where Can I go?: You choose where you want to travel and when you want to go. As a member of Fit Bodies Inc, you pay a nominal yearly fee to get access to teaching opportunities. You can go to the online portal anytime the travel urge hits to find out if resorts are looking for instructors to teach. If their needs match with your desired location and date requests, then it is a match! Fit Bodies will work on confirming your stay with the resort. You literally don't have to do anything! 
  • How Much Does it Cost? Each location is different, and each company is different. From my experience, here is what you need to know. You will pay:
    • A small yearly administrative fee to be a member of Fit Bodies Inc.  
    • Up to $450-$500 for the week to Fit Bodies Inc which isn't bad considering some places charge $300/$400 per night per person.
    • A gift fund to the resort not to exceed $150 either in gift items or cash.
    • Your travel accomodations (flight/train/car).
    • Any resort upgrades you want including adding extra people or securing a larger room.   
  • What Can I Expect?:  When you log into the portal to research your teaching opportunities, you choose what you are looking for. 
    • Read the fine print for every resort in terms of travel. In my experience, you have to arrive on a Sunday and depart on a Sunday. You will never teach on your travel day which means NO classes on Sundays. You will most likely teach one or more classes Monday-Friday, and in some cases on Saturday as well. 
    • If you are looking for a family-oriented location there are plenty of options. (Note: Most places allow for 2 adults and 2 kids under the age of 12 included "Free". If you have a third child, there is  small upgrade fee. Depending on the resort, you can either get one room, or upgrade for a larger family. Read the fine print)!
    •  If you are looking for a couples getaway, there are couples/adult only locations that are magical and quiet and inclusive only for adults. 
    • TRAVEL is NOT included, so book early so you can keep your eyes on flights. In many cases, it may be difficult to get to where you want to go, so book early and stay on-top of all the travel sites by setting alerts for airline price thresholds.  
    • You need to be FLEXIBLE! That is basically the #1 requirement. If you aren't a "wait and see" kind of person, this trip is not for you. When you sign up for the trip you denote the platform you teach, you will never be asked to teach something you are not certified to teach, but your specific schedule will be defined once you get there. Fit Bodies Inc does a great job outlining a tentative schedule in terms of resort requirements, but that can change. You won't confirm exactly what you are doing until you get there.
    • Once you arrive, you check in to the resort. Unpack your bags, take a look around the resort, grab a frosty beverage and find the activities director.  He/she is expecting you and together you will discuss your teaching schedule, timing and they will coordinate who will be with you (you will either be alone, or with the entertainment staff which is a BLAST), and they will let you know who is in charge of the music/equipment, etc.
    • It's True! You just Need to Teach: Once you confirm your schedule, you can set up activities for the rest of the week. You can choose to relax by the pool, take advantage of resort activities or sign up for excursions IF it works with your teaching schedule. Remember, YOU ARE THERE TO TEACH, so that is your #1 priority. However, once you fulfill your priority of teaching; you are free to have fun. And let me tell you, it is fun for everyone in the family! 
    • Classes are Different: Remember, people that come to "your classes" are on vacation! They are not your "peeps" or your "front row divas". They don't know your moves, and they don't want to kill themselves. SO MAKE IT FUN! Be flexible. Be amenable to changing your setlist on the fly and engage people. If you are teaching Zumba®, you will most likely be on a beach, or near a beach. Make accommodations for people who show up barefoot. If you are teaching Aqua, make sure people put their drinks down ;). It doesn't matter what platform you teach, have fun and make people want to come to your party! 
Those are all of the tidbits I could think of. Please feel free to comment here, FB me, or email me if you want to know more about my personal experience. All I can say is every year I go I have fun. Each experience is different. Each week is tiring but fun. You will create memories, expand your teaching horizon and get to see fantastic places. Happy Traveling

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A few weeks ago, I attended a BANG mixed fitness certification.  I have been in the group exercise industry for over 25 years and I’ve attended many, many trainings.  I was looking for something to add to my current schedule, but I wasn’t quite sure what. Then I found BANG! The more I researched, the more curious I was….hip hop, boxing (I LOVE BOXING), cardio……I was intrigued. I checked it out online and contacted a friend who teaches it. I thought I’d take a chance and sign up for the training.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve made.  Here’s a breakdown of the certification process and my weekend.  Once signed up, I received an email with my music, videos and my track assignment (you present this track throughout the weekend) about 2 weeks prior to training.  I downloaded it and started to learn!  I teach Les Mills classes, so I’m used to the pre-choreographed formats and have a system of how to learn new releases.   

Day 1! 
I was excited – and a little anxious.  I didn’t know what to expect, as I hadn’t ever taken a whole class! We started at 10:00 with a master class from the trainer.  It was awesome!  The music, the energy – the BOXING!!!  After the master class, we had a few minutes before we got down to business.  After a busy day of going through the technique, breaking down each track (song) and presenting, we finished at about 5:00!  We had a 30 minute lunch break, but that was really about it….it was physically and mentally demanding. 

Day 2!
Knowing what to expect, and a little sore 😉, I was excited to go back!  We started with another master class and this time we each got up to lead our track.  Our group was small and everyone was so supportive.  We spent the day talking a little more about education and learned about ourselves as
instructors. We presented two more times.  After another 7 hour day, we were done!  Two days later, I received an email saying I passed the weekend training.  Now, to video tape a live class. You have to video tape a live class and submit within 90 days of the training to be fully certified.  Full disclosure, I taped once already – but was not happy with it, so I’ll be doing another taping this weekend!! 

About the class….
As mentioned earlier, BANG is a mixed fitness class that incorporates hip-hop, boxing, cardio, and body weight training. There are 3 levels – participants can 1) follow and stay with low impact moves, 2) do everything instructor is doing, or   3) do everything instructor is doing while wearing weighted gloves (1/2 lb each).  Moves can be “undanced” for those who feel they aren’t coordinated enough (but we all know everyone can dance!)  I love that I can be a diva getting my groove on during one song, and then switch into a fierce boxer in another, and then hit a high intensity cardio track that gets my heart racing  (think 80’s aerobics throwback)!  It’s great for every fitness level and I look forward to adding this class to my schedule!!  

Stay Fit, stay healthy, and stay with me! Kia Kaha! Lisa 😊
Twitter: Fit4Urocks

Monday, March 18, 2019

What Makes a Successful Class?

  • Is it having a regular class on the schedule? 
  • Is it teaching your favorite format? 
  • Is it successful only if the room is packed wall-to-wall? 
  • Rave reviews by members or the public? 
  • Or, maybe getting paid to do something you enjoy?
Well, it can by any, or all, of these things. It may be some things not on this short list. However, at the end of the day, the question still remains: what makes a successful class? A successful class is one that participants enjoy from START to FINISH. A successful class is one that is taught safely and effectively. A successful class is one that remains participant-focused. As instructors, we sometime lose sight of the importance of keeping our classes focused on our students. Perhaps we’ve had a rough day at work. Maybe our child is sick. We could become more focused on our own performance in the class than our students. Or, maybe, we just don’t want to be there that day. 

In order to have a successful class we need to first remember WHY we do what we do. We’ve all fallen in love with certain formats and made the big leap to becoming instructors. At this point, we’ve transitioned from “participant” to “instructor”; the class is now in OUR hands and it’s success is up to us. In the trials of life, we have ups and downs. A rough day at work, that big upcoming project, a sick kid at home, our mood, or other personal concerns (and more) all can lead us to that “magical” land of DISTRACTION. We end up not focusing on our classes and the don’t receive our full attention. Our students deserve to have us at our best, especially when we are asking them to give their best selves to us

Having a packed class is certainly indicative of having a popular class, but is the class successful as well. Well, that depends. Depending on studio size, 60 may be packed, but so can 16. Also, the right format, at the right time, on the right day, can be a HUGE impact. I’ve often heard some instructors compare their class totals to other instructors. Ultimately, this can become a distraction too. Once again, this is an opportunity to refocus ourselves and focus on our students. We can do this by ensuring our classes remain fun AND fitness-based. Make certain your members are working hard—no matter how many are present. Keeping our classes focused on their fitness goals is a key to having and maintaining a successful class. 

Another key to having a successful class and keeping classes participant-focused is to remember: this workout is for our students, NOT us. Our role as instructors is to give our members the best workout of their day, EVERY day we teach. When we are focused on our squat (other than to demonstrate proper form) and not THEIR squat, we’ve shifted into being self-focused. One good way to making sure we keep our focus on our students is to FACE our students when we teach. Facing our members allows not only us to see them, but for THEM TO SEE YOU. It helps us to engage our students directly and each person in the room will feel like your smile was meant just for them. (Also, we get a better visual for any potential safety hazards that may arise and it’s easier to get the classes attention.) These are only a few things we can do for successful classes. 

However, the bottom line to being successful in your classes is simply remembering WHY you are there in the first place. It’s not to get paid (though that’s nice), it’s not because our name is on the schedule (names can be replaced), and it’s not because we need the workout (this may be true, but we need to do that before/after class). We’re there because we love sharing our fitness passions with our students. In return, they love us for being fully present and dedicated to keeping them safe while having fun! 🙂
Find Tee Online!
Move with Tee, LLC
Instagram: movewithteellc 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Happy Feet Make Happy Zumba® Instructors

Fitness is your passion, Zumba® is your love, exercise is fun. As a professional you instruct a healthy lifestyle, make fitness fun, and promote a safe environment for your participants. But what happens when you as the instructor is injured?

Many of your Zumba® classes include repetitive motions including twisting, jumping, lunges, plyometrics and squats. These motions are well known to have the propensity to cause injuries if performed frequently, without recovery and rest, and without stretching. As an instructor, it is your responsibility to create safe environment for your participants and manage your own physical well being.

Common injuries include sprains of ankle, tendonitis of the achilles tendon, plantar fasciitis, and strain to the lower leg and foot. Achilles tendon and plantar fasciitis are extremely common injuries experienced by Zumba® instructors. 

These types injuries are usually associated with overuse and typically starts as a sore muscle after an activity (commonly in the calf muscle). The injury progresses with swelling into the back of the heel and worsens causing pain during activity and rest. A hallmark symptom of Achilles tendon is the pain in the heel upon getting out of bed. Some people are even unable to bear full weight in the foot when getting out of bed. The injury progresses to plantar fasciitis causing acute pain in the arch of the foot. If left untreated the tight and inflammed gastrocnemius (calf) can tear or even rupture. The joints in the arch of the foot can also become stressed causing stress fractures. One thing is for certain, painful feet are not fun!!

Here are some helpful self management activities for calf  injuries:
1. Stretch before and after each class. Hold all stretches for 30 sec/5 reps to elongate the muscle.
2. Make sure the stretch is comfortable and is gentle no rocking or bouncing.
3. Visit the sauna after class coupled with further gentle stretches.
4. Hydrate! Hydrate Hydrate! Drink plenty of water pre-activity and post activity
5. Ice the injury after you get home on the Achilles or sore area in leg for no less than 15 minutes.
6. If your leg remains sore after a week, modify your routine and limit jumping and high intensity activities. If you are sore, most likely you are not alone.
7. Consider changing your footwear. Most shoes last approx six months commonly causing cramping and soreness in legs when the shoes near the end of their life.
8. Consult with a massage therapist for focused deep tissue work to on your legs to relieve muscle tightness and soreness.
9. If symptoms do not resolve themselves with self care consider consulting with a physical therapist or medical professional. The focus of this assessment will most likely include a comprehensive evaluation of pathology, strength deficits, biomechanical disadvantage(flat feet), and footwear evaluation. The PT or doctor could potentially make further recommendations for a consultation with a Podiatrist (foot doctor) or an Orthopedic doctor.

A successful instructor is not measured by the number of classes taught per week, but rather by teaching a diverse fitness aerobic class in a safe manner. Your class will appreciate the variety, injury prevention tactics, and most importantly, these tips can help with your longevity as an instructor.
Dr. Danielle Johansen, PT, DPT, OCS has been practicing physical therapy for over 25 years and is a Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist. She is an adjunct professor at Shenandoah University. She is committed to providing injury care, prevention, management, and self care education. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

#TipTuesday Awesome Fitness Discounts

One of the great perks of being a Fitness Professional is the discounts at places you love to shop!  If you haven’t heard, there are several places that offer you discounts for being a fitness professional. Requirements will vary. Some will just need a photo of your license and/or certification(s), others may require full resumes.  Most are obtainable and usable online, but there are a few that require in store purchases and verification only.  These cannot be transferred, shared or used for resale purposes. 

Click on the business names below or links in the text to find out more about your great offers! 
Happy Shopping! 
This offers a 40% discount on online and in-store purchases of Victoria Secret Sport line until July 2019.  You must complete an online Application that requires an upload of a photo of your certification/license.  

This offers a 15% discount on 5 purchases.  It requires an application process, with upload of a picture of you, a photo of your certification/license and links to your social media.  

Join Lole’s Well Fitness Community to get a 30% discount.  This is a rather extensive application.  It requires social media links, personal application and a fitness resume. You can find the application HERE

Our mission is to elevate, motivate, and support women to grab life! Our vision is that women confidently and unapologetically prioritize themselves and find their happy-active.  Joining is fairly simple. Go to their Online sign up and they will contact you via email for an upload of your certification/license.  This will grant you a 25% discount on regularly priced items and tips and tricks sent via their mailing list.

Offers a 25% discount online and in FitHub Stores.

You will need to show an ID and valid certification (photo of your certification/license, or other proof of employment), you can receive 30% off any full-priced merchandise.

Your vibe attracts your tribe. Join the Yoga Ambassador Program for 40% off for life. Use this Submission form.  
You can get 30% online or in store. The first thing you need to do is register an account. You will just need to email a copy of your certification/license to Contact Sweaty Betty.  If you are in the UK or London, and some US based stores you can drop into a store and show proof of your certification for in store savings.

If you are a trainer or a professional with approved certification you can qualify for the Nike Training Club Pro. This is mainly for Personal Trainers, some yoga and Pilates instructors and some limited instructors with certifications that are approved by Nike. To see if you qualify visit this Link.  If you qualify you can get 30% off footwear and active wear.

By joining Ryka Fit you can get 20% off online only.  You will need to have a Group X or other accredited certification (ex. ACE, AFAA, NASM etc) to be approved.  You will need to have your certificate number.  You can fill out the application HERE.  They will contact you with information for the RykaFit program if you are approved via email.

Membership is open to qualified and approved athletes, outdoor professionals, employees at a current GU dealer, or individuals who work in the bike, run, tri, industries.  If you meet these requirements submit your info. You should hear back within 48 hours. 

Supporting the yoga community is what Alo Yoga is all about. And those who inspire yogis to deepen their practice hold a special place in our heart. The Alo Yoga Pro Program is our way of saying that we’re grateful for what you do.  Certified instructors who are actively teaching will be eligible to purchase Alo Yoga apparel at 30% off. To be considered, you must register an account and then fill out this form Alo Yoga Pro Link and agree to the terms.  Approval can take from 72hrs to 14 days. They will contact you via email to let you know if you have been approved.

This is for in store discount only of 15%.  Certified yoga, Pilates, fitness, dance and personal training instructors may be eligible for the Lululemon Research and Development Program discount, pending each store manager’s approval. To apply, bring your driver’s license and proof of certification (acceptable forms include a pay stub, training certificate or a business card). Once approved, your information will be filed in the store’s national database, so that you don’t have to prove eligibility each time you shop.

The KiraGrace Pro program is designed to connect fitness and yoga enthusiasts like you who embrace our core values promoting the beauty, strength and grace present in all women. Members of our KiraGrace Pro program will receive special pricing on all KiraGrace apparel and a direct line to us to share product feedback.  To apply to be a KiraGrace Pro, please fill out this Form. We also ask that you upload your teacher certificate OR provide a link to your studio's website. 

If you’re an active trainer, register an account at the website and then fill out the Online form, and once approved you will automatically receive the 40% off, free shipping and free returns in your shopping cart.  They say they will respond within 6 hours by email.

An instructor can apply via Online form for their Prana Influencer program.  Once approved you can get specialty pricing online or in their flagship stores as well as sneak peaks at upcoming designs.  

Other places that offer discounts to their members are AFAA, NASM and Zumba®️ Fitness.  You will need to log into your account and search for Fitness professional discounts or click on discounts on your earnings and perks tab on your home page.

This great list of fitness related discounts was compiled by Zumba®️ Fitness Instructor Megan Hernandez