What makes a good fitness instructor?

What makes a good fitness instructor?

What makes one gym different from another? The machines found in gyms are often the same wherever you go. Many workouts are trademarked and standardised. The big difference is ‘the people’.

Every staff member at a gym matters. However it is mainly the fitness instructors who make all the difference between an enjoyable workout and a chore.

Fitness has long been a real profession, with recognised qualifications and standards. Fitness instructors have to take training courses, have first aid skills and keep up to date with the latest trends. The nature of the profession means that it is dominated by young people, but there is plenty of scope for older instructors. In fact many clients prefer someone more mature – someone of the same age makes an excellent role model.

Regardless of age, what are the top three qualities of a good fitness instructor?

  • They put the customer first – this means keeping to time, looking after the whole class (not just the ones at the front) and always being seen as friendly and happy. Unhappy instructors should neither be seen nor heard at the gym!
  • They empathise – a good instructor will adapt their workout and approach for their audience of the day. The instructor should also have a repertoire of tricks and tips for making exercises easier for beginners. This builds motivation and brings people back for more.
  • They are professional – teaching a favourite class to a group of friends is easy. The best instructors will be just as enthusiastic and positive when teaching a workout that they don’t enjoy. No-one should be able to tell which workout is which.

Expect no less. If your instructor doesn't do all this, try out a new gym and find one that does!

 

Comments

Trevor D.
22 March 2014

Trevor D.

it is definitely about the empathy - this is where older instructors win out. They know that older joints and muscles need to be treated differently, and also make much more realistic role models.

Tanya M.
18 March 2014

Tanya M.

My personal trainer has a very gentle approach which has proved hugely successful. Yes she pushes me and her other clients but she knows when we're ready to step it up and doesn't force us through plateau's we're not ready to conquer. She is incredibly supportive during bad weeks and this empathy is really important too.

Derek B.
18 March 2014

Derek B.

What makes a good fitness instructor? Proper professional training! There are so many cowboys out there - they might be very friendy and get you motivated, but if they don't know their stuff you're risking a lot of effort for no gain and possibly even injury. Go for an instructor you like by all means, but make sure you check out their qualifications too.

Sasha B.
17 March 2014

Sasha B.

I would also add that good instructors are able to motivate and encourage you when you feel lacking in confidence. They can also give you good ideas about challenges to take on to motivate you. I am consdering doing tough mudder thanks to one of the fab instructors at my gym.

Tanith A.
16 March 2014

Tanith A.

Couldn't agree more. When you're doing something as important as looking after your health, you need to be able to trust the people involved.

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