If you have been following our blog for some time now, you probably have read one or more posts about my group fitness classes. I am BodyPump, BodyFlow, and BodyCombat certified – and I also teach an amazing cycle fusion class at the Dover YMCA. I have been teaching for close to 3 years now. I am still not an expert by any stretch of the imagination – but I do feel a lot more comfortable leading a large group of people through a workout. Teaching all these classes does require some preparation – and I put a lot of effort into picking motivating music and moves so that my class participants have fun and want to keep coming back.
A few weeks ago, another instructor approached me about teaching at another local gym, Club Fitness. With no hesitation, I immediately said “yes”. About a week ago – that same instructor tells me they are looking for a BodyFlow sub. I check my calendar – the time slot was empty. “Ok, sign me up.” That’s when things got real. Here is a quick synopsis of the panic that immediately came after I said I would sub:
I check the Club Fitness group fitness calendar to see who I am subbing for. Oh wait, I am not subbing for BodyFlow at that time slot, I am subbing for a hot vinyasa flow yoga class?! (Heart rate quickens). Oh no, Christina is the normal instructor?!?! (Heart rate through the roof and I begin to sweat). I have taken a class with Christina and she is AMAZING. She has the perfect yoga voice, perfect yoga body, she is really bendy. She might be the polar opposite of me. There is nothing scarier than knowing you are subbing for a yoga model instructor. The class will probably be yelling, “Send in the B squad as I enter the room”. (That was a little dramatic, but you get the point).
If you are an instructor – you get it. You might have been there before. You agree to sub. You walk in the room – get your music going – and then the questions start. “Oh wait, where is so and so?” “What are we doing today?” Then, on a rare occasion you might see someone come into a room, see you, and then walk out. Then you get down on yourself. Is it me?
When I first started teaching, these little things hurt my feelings. However, I have since realized that it’s not me, per say, that people have an issue with – it’s the variance from their “normal” routine. Have you ever noticed that people like to stand in the exact same spot in class? We can’t help it, we are creatures of habit. You get used to “your instructor” and sometimes when there is a variance to the normal routine we can get a little bit thrown off.
All week I fretted about my Thursday night date at Club Fitness. Would they like me? Would anyone see me and walk out? Will anyone even show up if they know magical yoga instructor Christina won’t be there?!
Walking in to Club Fitness, I was ready! Bring it on! I set up in the yoga studio 15 minutes early. No one is there? What is going on? A few minutes later one woman shows up. She is extremely friendly and I am not as nervous. I begin to think it might just be the two of us and then a few more people start trickling in. After a quick poll – about half the class had never taken yoga before. (This is very good as they will have absolutely no idea that BodyFlow is not exactly a hot vinyasa flow class. And as the old saying goes – what you don’t know can’t hurt you!)
It ended up being a great BodyFlow class. Everyone was friendly and several people came up to me after class and told me they really enjoyed the class. In fact, one gentleman requested that I be added to the Club Fitness schedule on a regular basis- the ultimate instructor compliment!
As we start a new year, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. For me, this meant teaching at a new gym where I didn’t know anyone. No familiar faces in class, no familiar waves from the staff at the front desk, no idea where anything was! Club Fitness was nothing but strangers to me at first. But now, I know a handful of great people who (I hope) will be back next time they see I am subbing.
If you just started going to the gym – don’t be intimidated. Check out the group fitness classes! Come to class early and introduce yourself to the instructor. Let them know of any medical issues you might have so they can provide modifications. And just remember, no matter how nervous you might be – think about how nervous instructors can get. We are the ones with the microphone. If you already work out regularly, try a new and different class. Maybe try a different instructor. We all like to add our own “flavor” to our fitness classes. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone – 2016 is going to the year of the best you!
How are you planning to step out of your comfort zone? Let me know!