By Jennifer Lintz, RD, LD and ICI/PRO Contributor


I”™ll be the first to admit that my self-confidence as an instructor is a work in progress. There are days when I start class without a worry in the world; I feel good about my plan for ride and trust that the right words will come out of my mouth. Other times, I would rather sit in the back corner of the room than have to be the one with the microphone. At the end of the day, I know the cornerstone to feeling more comfortable as an instructor is believing in myself.

So, how does one build confidence in a group fitness setting?

A quick Google search led me to an excellent article on this topic from Amanda Vogel, M.A., on ACE”™s web site.  In a nutshell, she suggests the following:

  1. Be prepared
  2. Anticipate “bumps” in the road
  3. Develop your “Leader Persona”
  4. Identify your allies
  5. Accept that some people won”™t like you
  6. Command attention
  7. Consider your “visual brand”
  8. Manage first impressions
  9. Love what you teach
  10. “Fake it” when necessary

Check out her post if you”™d like more details on any of these tips; she did an awesome job with the article.

Even though I've been teaching since '08, my teaching style continues to evolve. In some ways you could say I'm "Under Construction," but aren't we all, in a way? These are the areas I've been focusing on as of late. I would love to hear yours, too.

Being prepared. I find there is less room for self-doubt and more room for confidence when I walk in with a plan. Typically, this means creating a new profile and, potentially, even taking it for a test run. Sure, there are times when starting from scratch is not an option. In that case, I make sure I know which ride I plan to recycle. Whether new or old; having an idea of the agenda gives me a sense of calm as well as a reminder that "I am ready" and "I can do this" in the minutes before class.

Being authentic. Where I teach, I could rattle off a list of awesome qualities about every single instructor; I truly am part of a top-notch team. Sometimes, though, I catch myself comparing: "Gosh, they are so good at X, Y, and Z. I should try to be more like that." Then, I remember (but not always as quickly as I should) ... "that's not me."  To keep myself from falling into the comparison trap, I am making a point to focus on my strong points - things that I like about myself - and showing up to teach with them; nothing else. We all are a heck of a lot better at being ourselves than we are at being anyone else.

Focusing on the students. When I take my mind off of me and shift it to my participants, I'm convinced that my teaching improves by leaps and bounds. Why? Instead of thinking about how I might be coming off, I'm focusing on what my students need to hear. Yes, our students probably do come to see us, but I think there are reasons that rank higher. Whether its to have an escape from a stressful day or to reach a new personal best, our students are coming for an experience. For me, shifting the focus off of myself and onto the students in the room immediately changes the way I think allows me to focus on what really matters: the people who showed up for class.

If you feel like sharing your confidence-building strategies or have anything to add, please comment.

Originally posted 2013-12-09 04:00:31.

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