In emailing with two of my students yesterday, each of them referred to themselves as part of the “oldies” club. One of the students is 63 and the other I am guessing is a bit older than that but to be honest, all of my students are in such good shape that I often cannot tell how old they are.
I remember last Spring one woman said her age out loud during a conversation in a class that had 45 people in it and the collective gasp was audible as everyone thought she was much much younger. Turns out she is 80 years young. Then everyone broke into applause! I love these moments.
Many things can make us feel old and because I am in the fitness world, I know that one of these things can be trying a new class. Learning new moves with a different teacher can be challenging.
I rarely get any time to try other classes. I am so busy teaching my own that I often hear how fabulous or challenging other teachers are but unfortunately I am not able to experience it myself.
One thing that I am extremely proud of is my ability to work with the 50 + crowd. Not many people know that I am trained to be an Older Adult Specialist along with all of my other certifications. I do not know anyone in my immediate circle, who has taken this training and I will say that it has made all of the difference in how I approach my students.
Instead of simply arriving in a class to “torture” my students so that they remember my name tomorrow morning, I arrive ready to take them along on a journey.
This journey is totally geared toward their success. I make sure that everyone in the class can follow each move, as this builds confidence and ultimately the students will get better and stronger. I set a choreography for the 10-12 week session and they know that they will get to keep practicing the moves. I also change the muscular conditioning exercises that we do every 4 weeks so that during that time they can see and feel the muscles getting stronger and the movements getting easier. Then we switch it up and pick a whole new set of muscles to work on with different exercises. I refuse to change this component every single class as the student does not reap the reward of regular exercise if they are constantly being asked to do new things.
I received the best complements after teaching my two yoga classes back to back last Friday. In the first hour a woman in her mid to late fifties, told me how much she enjoys my class because I really explain how to do the poses. Then in the second hour a much younger lady came up to me and said how grateful she is that I give students enough time in the poses, to actually get something out of them! She said that my class was the best yoga class she had taken. This made my day!
To me, it is not only about age but about learning. As a teacher I hate to be the only one up front doing the moves. It is not supposed to be my workout, it is supposed to be all about the students. I hate watching my clients struggle and stumble. When I see that I have chosen to do something that sends my clients off balance in a bad way, then I stop and switch gears immediately. Yes, it is a bit embarrassing but my job is to make sure that my clients come back. If it were me stumbling around the class, I would not come back, so I always try to put myself in my clients shoes. When I have to shift gears or change my plans, we all laugh at my mistake and we move on…it happens.
I do not consider any of my students to be old. I see no age. I only see bodies full of potential. If you come away from my class feeling defeated and old, than I have not done my job correctly.
Thanks for sharing your experiences with me.
See you soon,