The Group Exercise Monster

You are ready to exercise. How do you begin? Who do you talk to about making changes? How do you know what to pick? When you have made the decision to try something new, how do you go about the leap of faith and attend a class for the first time? In my world the Group Exercise Monster is a mean thing. The monster can terrify new potential customers and destroy life long exercisers. 

There are many of us in the fitness industry who are working tirelessly to change perceptions of group exercise as it is known to be bitchy and those within it perky, perfect and tiny.  We are surrounded by media telling us to be thin, make massive sacrifice at the expense of friends and family to hit your performance goals. There is so much more than thin these days, being well, being whole and healthy is the message, HONESTLY.

But what about the less confident person? The one who just wants to improve her health after childbirth? The fella who wants to make a difference for his new girlfriend? The overweight teenager? The injured senior?

I was recently at an event where local fitness companies showcased their products and to be honest the events values were fabulous and inspiring but underneath there was an undercurrent of nasty behaviours that remind me that I must stay on track and keep trying to change perceptions, and not give up.

We all heard it..."That was mediocre...We won that round" came the bellow from someone from a different fitness company to my own. That hurts! Not me. I am used to having a tough time, but my clients. They worked hard, they made a fantastic effort and of their own free will and time decided to flaunt their moves in public in front of strangers and competitors. The brief was keep it simple and have fun. What gives someone the right to be hurtful? That is the Group Exercise Monster. Surely it's about just moving?

Peer pressure can be a negative thing and competition can be so fierce that even if someone wanted to change providers fear will prevent that change. 

If I were Tesco, I wouldn't make my customers develop hideous hatred towards Sainsburys! Yes competition is impressive and often good, but there is a line that shouldn't be crossed.

The Fitness Professional is like a sponge and has a constant thirst for new moves, trends and influences. Don't lose sight of why you were inspired into working in the industry.  Don't become the group exercise monster and for the love of god, try not to have baby monsters and make your public feel the same as you. Belittling and sarcastic comments are hurtful across all businesses. Push back, be vocal and avoid!

Read the health pages of the BBC. Listen to the world talking about our health and our disease. See the growing waistlines and the ageing population. Our health is suffering. Fitpro's and participants of sports and fitness this is your time to spread the love and encourage others without fear to get your bodies moving. 

So what do you look out for when choosing you teacher:-

Are they are qualified in what they are teaching you?

Are they are insured for your safety and protection?

How did they find you? You find them? If they are sweeping through social media then be cautious of their values.

Have you filled out appropriate paperwork? Do they know your health?

Do you feel comfortable and made to feel welcome? This is key to your retention.

Think about your best experience in attending a class and those are the qualities you look for each and every time. 

The less confident person needs love and kindness, support and encouragement. There is no cost for eye contact and a smile. Sometimes The Instructor forgets the reasons for wanting to share their love of movement and exercise and becomes the Monster. 

Be kind. Be mindful.

Be supportive