Tips for Increasing Confidence as a Group Fitness Instructor

Hiii everyone!

Baby L met a new little friend yesterday while I babysat my friend’s newborn.


Hilarious. Oh, and she tried to eat the little one’s binkie. Yikes!

It was oddly funny to watch her be a bit like “ummm mom what about me?!” when I was holding and caring for my friend’s baby.

Tips for Increasing Confidence as a Group Fitness Instructor

Most of you know this, but for those who are new (welcome!), I am a part-time group fitness instructor. And I LOVE what I do.

Which is probably why you’re rolling your eyes and thinking “another post about fitness instructors?!” Hah. Yep. (See all posts about it here) It is a part of my passion, so it’s on the blog on the reg. I do hope it helps those of you who are instructors already, and encourages others of you to go for it and become an instructor too. 😉

I came across an article 10 Tips for Increasing Your Confidence as a Group Fitness Instructor, and I really liked it. So read it!

Today I will share a few points from it, as well as some of my own points and thoughts.

First of all, being a group fitness instructor is awesome (!!), but there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work. And, those instructors you love? They have probably practiced, taught, and honed their skills for years. So don’t be discouraged if your confidence isn’t at that level yet. When I first started mine wasn’t either, but with time and practice (and living some of these tips), my confidence has hugely increased. I rarely anymore go into a class nervous about leading the class and being in front of a bunch of people.

Secondly, being an instructor comes with a price, but I think the benefits far outweigh the price. If you really love it, these tips will make you excited.

Lastly, this is all from my point of view, which is not omniscient (I know, right?!), so take it, apply it, and come up with some of your own tips and ideas too! (Also if you have some more ideas, share them in the comments!)

1. Be prepared

This one was cited in the article, and it’s first there too…because this is KEY! If you aren’t prepared (know the choreo, have the music chosen, know what to do with the mic & stereo, etc.), your confidence will plummet before you even begin the class.

“Knowing the how’s and why’s behind what you teach automatically makes you feel more secure in your abilities. And stepping into a class or boot camp with a blueprint of how you want the workout to play out helps quell any jitters about making sure the class runs smoothly.” {source}

practice choreo fitness instructor confidence

If you want a job and you go into the job interview unprepared, your confidence will not be there and the interviewer will feel that. Same with a group fitness class. People can tell if you’re unprepared….so do yourself a favor and practice, prepare, and practice some more!

2. Teach what you are passionate about

There are SO many group fitness classes out there –and for good reason, most people love that atmosphere. Gyms offer a huge variety of classes, so you DO have a choice about which classes you teach.

You will be much more confident teaching a class that you LOVE to take or teach, than if you are on the schedule just because you want extra money or another class.

For example, I could easily go get certified in Spin , but I don’t love spin, so if I were to teach it, I’d feel anxious and unexcited when teaching, and thus my confidence would plummet. It is okay if I don’t want to teach that class! There are other teachers out there who love it–let them rock it, and you do your thing.

And of course, on the flip side, when you teach classes you are passionate about, people feel the confidence oozing out. And so they want to come back for more! WIN-WIN!

3. Learn to teach mirroring the class

Meaning, learn to teach facing the class! I can’t tell you how much better it is as an instructor and a participant to actually see the instructor’s face (or to see your members’ faces). It is so much more fun, motivating, and exciting that way.

confidence fitness instructor

just practice taking selfies in the mirror, and then you got it. 😉

Now, in a dance class, like Zumba for example, you should learn how to teach BOTH ways. When I teach Zumba I show it facing away from them (so they can know the steps exactly) first, and then switch to face them during the song once they are more confident in the steps. It is fun that way because then you can dance up next to them, smile at them, use facial expressions to call their attention to something, and actually have a fun time with the class.

As a Les Mills instructor, you are required to teach facing the class. Just a heads up!

4. Command attention

This one is HUGE!

You have to be okay with wanting attention and commanding it. You have to get a class moving….so practice your commanding voice, try out different cues to get people to do things, and ask for feedback.

When you are able to get a class moving super effectively, your confidence will increase exponentially!

from the article:

“Here are three key techniques for commanding attention as a group fitness instructor, whether you teach boot camps or traditional group exercise:

  • Use animated body movements and gestures to show participants what you want them to do and/or which direction you want them to go. Make arm movements strong and precise all the way to your hands and fingertips.
  • Your facial expressions can create a powerful impression about your level of confidence. New group fitness instructors sometimes forget to smile because they’re nervous or preoccupied with teaching the exercises. Make it a point to smile often at participants. It helps put them—and you—at ease.
  • Speak audibly (without yelling), using a friendly but commanding voice. To help engage the entire group, address the people at the back of the crowd, not just those who are directly in front of you. ” {source}

fitness instructor confidence

Or just wear super bright colors. That works too. 😉

As an instructor, when you own the room (and own your choices of music, choreo, etc.), people will respond. And yes, sometimes you can own it by your bright wardrobe choices. 😉

5. Accept that some people won’t like you/your teaching style

This is a tip I wish I had known early on! I like to make people happy, so it was hard for me when I began teaching when a person didn’t come back to my class. Often it was because of a schedule change, a move, or a dislike of the actual format, but sometimes it was because they just didn’t jive with my teaching style.

And you know what? That is OKAY. Once you recognize that not everyone is going to love everything you do, you can let go of pleasing people, be who you are, and go confidently on with your teaching.

confidence fitness instructor

The article says, to this point:

“The sooner you let go of trying to please everyone, the more confidence you’ll gain.”


6. Make your class YOURS

And on the flip-side of the previous tip, don’t back down from who YOU ARE ever.

Your class will be unique because YOU are the instructor. Once you love that and live that, you will be a super confident instructor. Be the instructor people talk about and are like “go to her class she will push you to work harder” or be the one members say “go to her class she is super fun” or “she has really good form-you’ll learn tons by watching her.” etc.

What makes you unique? Use that in your teaching style and you’ll teach a class with a ton of confidence.


Thankful Thursday

  1.  I am grateful for a baby who seems to love me unconditionally-faults and all! 😉
  2. I am thankful for beautiful weather. Man, it makes me happy.
  3. I am grateful for cheese—it brightens my day like whoah.

Have a WONDERFUL day!! <3

Favorite group exercise class?? If YOU are an instructor–what tips would YOU add??! If YOU attend classes regularly, what tips would YOU like to see implemented???! What are YOU thankful for today??! 

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  1. such great tips, obviously super relevant right now as I begin training for body pump. my class intensive is next weekend and then the gym’s group fitness manager is interviewing me the week after. I will be using these tips for sure!
    Alex @ therunwithin recently posted…End of an Era.My Profile

  2. I want to take one of your Zumba classes one day 😉 While I’m not an instructor, as someone that participates in group fitness classes I can definitely agree with the last point – there are some instructors at my gym that are great at what they do, but I don’t take their classes because their style doesn’t mesh with me. For example, I love boxing, but I’ll only take it from a certain instructor because I don’t like any of the other instructor’s styles! And nothing wrong with that – for every person that doesn’t like your teaching style, they’ll be a lot more than love it!
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…5 Tips for Working At Home.My Profile

  3. I love posts about group fitness, naturally.

    I’d also add that you should make eye contact with people during class. Go early to class and talk to the members, stay after class and talk to the members. Interaction and building relationships is just as important in helping members feel a part of the group experience, so they are committed. And they will appreciate your efforts. And you will feel more comfortable in front of people that you “know.”
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West recently posted…BODYATTACK overview and first-timer tipsMy Profile

  4. i can speak from experience – annette is the BEST group fitness instructor ever!! now if only she would move back to st louis… 😉
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted…Urban Maternity Photo ShootMy Profile

  5. I always love group fitness posts. :)

    From the article (SO great – thanks for linking), I love #4. It kind of goes off Ashley’s comment above – knowing your members/regulars. I noticed a huge shift in my own confidence when I moved gyms earlier this year. A lot of my regulars also made the switch, but I had to make that switch as seeing them as my allies/friends, not just familiar faces, to find that same confidence in a new location. I think it also helps new people to see how you interact with your regulars – really giving off that perception that you care (you do!) and want to know them (you do!). :)

    Also from the article, #2 super hit home for me today. I subbed last night and noticed as I was in my intro that a pregnant woman had just come into class. I was instantly running through my brain with “ah! what are my pregnancy cues?!” She said I did well (and as it turns out she’s a regular in that class – and 38 weeks! Go mama go!), but my confidence was definitely not where it was before I saw her because I didn’t feel as prepared for that literal “bump” in the road.
    Breanne recently posted…Sneak Peek: Sweet Lil Pumpkin [Newborn]My Profile

  6. Love, love, love this! This helps me a lot! Thanks for sharing your tips and experience through what you’ve learned.

    I’m thankful for cheese too! Yum! And I’m thankful for family. It’s been a fun couple weeks with them since we’ve been here. :)
    Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted…04/17/14: Thursday ThoughtsMy Profile

  7. I love this! I have been trying improve as a group fitness instructor as I just started teaching fitness classes again less than a year ago. I have just recently started facing my classes, knowing that’s the way I will have to do it if I get to teach Bodypump. And besides that, it’s definitely so, so, so much more effective for so many reasons, I can already tell. I can see how well I am guiding the class (or not- which has been the case sometimes.) I can see how I need to cue alignment, etc. I have one tip to add to this, but it may not apply to everyone. Like, this might not be as much of an issue for Bodypump instructors since they have awesome music and tracks provided them, but with my freestyle classes, I have been keeping a record of the music I choose to use and what cardio/ muscle routines I do, so that I don’t use the same material too many times in a row. That way, I keep my material and music as fresh as possible. For freestyle classes, I think my records help a lot. It takes a little extra time and discipline to write it (type it all) down, but I think it’s definitely worth it.
    Veronica recently posted…Preparing for Bodypump- Reality CheckMy Profile

  8. This is a great post! As an instructor I am always looking for ways to improve.

    I agree with teaching classes that you are passionate about! If you love the class you are teaching it will definitely show in your energy :)
    Kelly @ The Fit Skool recently posted…Down for the countMy Profile

  9. this made me smile because i can relate so much. True passion come from within. Smile and keep inspiring, be confident
    lindsay recently posted…Spring Fitness Routines and Why I Prefer to Focus on a “Vision.”My Profile

  10. Shelli Morris says:

    I loved the part about having your own personal teaching styles. You are so right! I love your class because you make me laugh with your singing, how you give shout outs to people, how you perfect our form. I dread your class because it is challenging and kicks my butt (things I secretly love too). Although I don’t know you very well, I know you LOVE teaching this class and I think that is super important (very motivating for me).

  11. melody says:

    You are so right about keeping your own teaching style! i do BP 3 -4 x weekly and love it every single time because of EACH instructor’s personality and EACh teaching style. and there are some of the other regulars i know who will only do BP with a specific instructor and will even walk out RIGHT INFRONT of a sub because so and so sucks in their opion, but u know, each of them always manage to PACK the Group X room and even gets to the point where we run out of barbells and have to start using dumbbells…

    BTW love that back track, and the lunge track. easy to follow just with music alone.. the legs definetley BURN!! and biceps and triceps too .. ouch!

  12. These tips are really great Annette! Teaching was SO much harder than I truly thought. Now that I’ve taught classes I seriously can never judge another teacher haha. It really puts into perspective how much work it takes to teach a class! And it also taught me that fitness is not the place that I belong 😉 at least I can admit that now after experiencing it haha.
    Lisa recently posted…4 Makeup Trends To Try This SpringMy Profile

  13. I LOVE this post and totally agree with your tips – especially #1 be prepared and #2 no one can teach the class like you can!
    Katie @ running4cupcakes recently posted…Weekend Update: 4/20/14 {Easter}My Profile

  14. Angel says:

    Thank you for this post! I am a new instructor, I recently took over for a popular instructor who had been there for several years, doing the same routine without much change in routine or music. It has been a hard transition for me on a personal level. I have lost quite a few people because they wanted the same exact routine, but my style and technique are different. I have tried to maintain some of the format for the transition, but those who have left wanted it to stay the same. I still have a good amount of people attending and new people each week so that helps, however, the few people who have not been happy with the format shook my confidence a bit. I am trying to get back on my game — regain my passion, and bring my personality to the class. Your post helped me get a boost!

    • Good for you for doing what you know is best for their fitness by switching it up! It’s tough for sure, but as you continue to share your passion they will see that & be drawn to your classes. Keep being you & be authentic and they will flock to your classes! :)
      annette recently posted…Weekend Highlights {7/20/15}My Profile


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