Monday, April 8, 2019

Fitness Class Professionals: To Sub or Not to Sub?

To Sub or Not to Sub “Uh oh!” “There it is...” “What do I do...?” “Let me see if someone responds first...” We’ve ALL been there. We’ve ALL received it. And, at some time or another, have sent one. What am I talking about? THE SUBSTITUTE REQUEST. No one wants to sub out their class and many of us do not want to sub all the time. So, when the email/request hits YOUR inbox, what should you do? There are lots of options here, but I’ll cover a few reasons why subbing is a GOOD thing

NEW INSTRUCTORS: For new instructors (whether you are a newly certified instructor or new to a gym/studio), you can use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself to members and other instructors. Since members are not familiar with you or your teaching style, it’s an excellent chance to try out new choreography or a new music style; after all, they won’t have any basis for comparison. So, why not take a chance?!?! 

REGULAR INSTRUCTORS: For those instructors who teach regular classes at a gym/studio, what’s the benefit of subbing for you? LOTS! Subbing shows you are team-oriented and, remember, we cannot have “group fitness” without a “group”, right? Additionally, a willingness to cover other classes can go a long way in the eyes of not only your colleagues, but your students as well. When you sub a class (and know in advance), be sure to announce it during your regular classes—participants who may not typically attend that instructors class are more likely to show up (sometimes they may not be aware there is a class at that time because they might only attend YOUR class). Lastly, this is a good marketing opportunity for you as a regular instructor. Perhaps you want to build your class size? You can use this time to let the class know what times/days/formats you teach and invite them to your class. Oftentimes, all it takes is an invite and the likelihood of them attending your class increases by leaps and bounds. 

When subbing (for new and regular instructors): 
  • ALWAYS be sure to get to class a little earlier than you may normally do. It gives you time to meet/greet members who are unfamiliar with you and spend a little more time with those who do
  • ANNOUNCE yourself and let members know when/where to find YOUR classes and ENCOURAGE them to join you on their fitness journey
  • GIVE A SHOUT-OUT to the regular instructor whose class you are substituting. Members want to know their regular instructor isn’t being replaced by you (we all know how much our students love us and the classes we teach). It doesn’t hurt to say, “John will return as scheduled next week” or “Maria will be back after her honeymoon”. 
Some other thoughts about subbing, be careful not to request subs too much. (What’s too much? That depends and is a story for another day.) We do not want to request substitute teachers every other week as it can severely cause a drop in our class numbers. Also, we do not want to take advantage of other instructors availability; just because they aren't teaching, doesn’t mean they are available on a whim. 

As instructors, we’ve made a decision to present each time, every time. So, be mindful of multiple requests (life happens, just be mindful). Another thought in regard to sub requests, think about building a small team of instructors who teach the same format(s)—this is especially helpful with daytime vs. nighttime instructors. If you teach in the morning, you’re more likely to get a reply from another available daytime instructor as opposed to an instructor who teaches evening classes (and vice versa). (It is okay to cast your net wide since you never really know when someone will be available.) 

So, to answer the question, to sub or not to sub? Well, the answer is ultimately your own. Based on your availability, you may or not be able to be there; keep in mind, it’s an opportunity for you to connect with more people and for them to connect with you. Accepting a sub request: helps out an instructor in need, keeps the schedule running, pays it forward (so, you’ll have subs when you need one), and, most of all, KEEPS OUR STUDENTS HAPPY!

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