It’s been 3 years since I got certified in the program I trained for in the gym (It’s called Retropop. See class description below.) and after two years of actively teaching it, here’s a list of things I learned as inspired by this post.
Maintain a Quality Playlist
It’s quite common for Group Exercise instructors (GX/ GXI as what we call it) to fall into the trap of using the same and same set of songs every week and as you would have guessed, attendees don’t like it. It’s a good thing that I’m fond of rotation but I learned that there must also be a balance of making sure that the students get well-acquainted with the choreo of a newly introduced track (especially a complicated one) before removing it temporarily in the weekly playlist. Having said that, what I love most about this job is that I get to be the DJ of my own class. I can spin out some clubby music on a Friday night if I wanted to so attendees don’t feel like missing out on gigs or whatever. Last Feb, I also enjoyed making a “bitter playlist” (think: Single Ladies, Womanizer, Shoutout to my Ex etc.) on the 13th for us single women in the class and countered that with an “in love” (Heaven’s What I Feel, Best of My Love, Love You Like A Love) Songplaylist on the next day. Haha.
There’s Nothing Like Getting A Woo Back
Oh yes! There’s really quite nothing like getting a woo back from an attendee to know that they’re into your workout. When I was still an attendee myself back in Fitness First Manila, I would thoroughly enjoy it whenever I hear Tita Janet (hi Tita if you’re reading ) make this loud WOO sound (not a BOO!) during the class. Imagine how much more this means to the instructor. My AF Makati attendees are as of this stage still tamed ones (I do get the occasional woos though) but I want them to develop this rowdy (yes, rowdy!) culture of FF Retropop during the class. The more you holla, the more it’s motivating for me actually.
Being Peppy Is Part of the Job
Trust me; I once received this feedback that I am too energetic on the stage. But is there such a thing as too energetic? Again, when I was a student myself, I like having energetic instructors coz it is contagious. Most of the time I teach after my day job and there are times when I have to rely on caffeine or sweets to pump me up for an hour of dancing after work. Aside from memorizing choreography of 14-16 songs for the class, I need to cue and shout on stage, make funny antics to keep my students entertained (but actually because I’m really wacky just like that, lol!) and keep tabs if they are following all while dancing. If you ask me, that’s a lotta work not to have excessive energy on. How do I rub off the energy to them if I don’t have excess one myself? Hmmm.
Not Everyone Will Like You (And I’m Okay With It)
I believe this is more of a women’s group exercise instructor problem than say, straight men or gay gym instructors, no? When I developed my passion for the program, I must say it’s not because of the instructors per se but rather, the music, the choreography and the energy of the class so it doesn’t matter to me if say, somebody fills in temporarily when the instructor is out. When I was a student myself, I believe that I was fair enough to give new/ cover instructors a chance regardless of what program I’m joining in. But then again, if the instructor isn’t motivating enough after giving them enough chance, then maybe it’s not doing your workout any good. People respond differently to things. I just hope that group ex classes here in Manila would be advanced enough to have say, an online review system like in the US where constructive feedback can be collected so there is a chance for improvement for the GX instructors instead of getting hearsays. 🙂
Continue to Pick-up Skills
Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. Two years of teaching is not enough. I’m still trying to pick-up new skills. Recently, I find myself getting the hang of mirror/ shadow thing (you know dancing infront or in line with the students). It’s cool coz it’s something I thought I’d never learn. It’s like being ambidextrous in dancing. Lol. Honestly, I never had any formal dance lessons. I just have my 8 yr (what?!) dancing experience in the gym and I was advised that taking a jazz class would be really helpful when it comes to grace and execution so if time permits, I would like to learn that.
Don’t Get Too Attached
I never learn, lol. This happened a lot when I was an online English tutor to my Japanese students before. Conditions change (people move out of their jobs, group class schedules change, etc) so attendees don’t stay in class forever, Cassey. Lels. It still makes me sad that when a regular attendee leaves the class because of work but I just hope that somehow they would still love the program and find chance to join the class when they’re free.
If you’re an attendee and reached up to this point reading this, do you have any feedback for me? Haha.
What is Retropop
Is a cardio dance workout that is from the name itself a fusion of retro and contemporary hits with choreography that is a combination of different dance styles (freestyle, jazz and hiphop among others). The 60-min class can contain an eclectic mix of up to 16 songs each of which are speeded up for more challenge and sweat.