I have the distinct pleasure of teaching many different types of classes. Within each of these group fitness classes, I have students with varying abilities.
My biggest class follows an Interval Aerobic format, where I get between 50 and 55 students. The second most popular, is a Chair Muscle Conditioning and Stretch class of 45 clients. My Level 2 Line Dance has approximately 35-40 participants and the rest of my classes average between 20 and 30 students. It’s my job to evaluate the needs of each class as a whole.
I know that I want everyone to feel welcome and successful. This can be quite hard when the more seasoned client is looking to be challenged and the newest student is simply looking to survive! Even among the seasoned participants there are differences. Some want to progress quickly while others are happy remaining at a certain level and don’t welcome change at all.
In most cases, I have one hour to both motivate and challenge all of my clients while taking into account these differences. This is why I keep routines and exercises the same for four weeks. After this time period, I then introduce small variances that build on prior learning. Once we have mastered those new challenges, I introduce new ones. This way everyone gets a chance to feel successful.
Some clients may feel frustrated by the seemingly slow progress while others are panicked by the changes. People often make suggestions because they want to advance more quickly, while others corner me and beg me to slow down. In dance class, some people learn by lots of repetition without the music, while others prefer to muddle through with the song. Everyone learns differently. In Yoga Stretch, some students have asked for more intensity but I know that I have several participants with injuries in the room, so I try my best to vary poses based on the needs of everyone in attendance.
“How do I keep all levels of students happy within one setting?”
I want you to know that while I welcome suggestions and carefully consider any that come my way, I may not always agree because I have the bigger picture in mind.
For example, some clients want the door shut during yoga while others are purposely close to the exit because of claustrophobia or because they desire fresh air etc. Some clients want the music loud as it motivates them to work harder, while others have left my class altogether because the noise of the crowd, plus the music, is simply too much for them to bare. Some students cannot stand it when another one enters the class ten minutes late but I know that that person has to bring their husband, who has Alzheimer’s, to a care center in order to be able to get some much needed exercise.
Not only do I have all of this in mind, I also have to monitor the health and safety of each person in attendance and adjust on the spot if I feel someone is at risk. If I see that someone is close to tripping on their shoelace, I have been known to tie it! If I notice that someone has a candy or gum in their mouth I insist that it be removed. This is a choking hazard. If I see that a client is looking pale and weak, I have to address that in the most discreet manner possible. The list goes on and on.
I just wanted to give you a glimpse into my world to avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings.
For the record, I love my job and all of the responsibility that goes along with helping you to enjoy your fitness experience. My hope is that I make fitness fun.
See you soon,