5 Ways to Avoid Burnout as a Group Fitness Instructor

Rachel Tonick
03/07/2012

As a group exercise instructor, you get to share your passion and knowledge of fitness every time you stand up in the front of a class. It’s great knowing that you are helping others reach their fitness goals, but sometimes it can be easy to lose track of your own needs.

To continue doing what you love, keep your body and mind in great shape, and stay creative, check out these five tips that will help you avoid burnout and stay on track:

 1. Prioritize your own training goals

 It's physically and mentally tough to make sure that everyone in your classes is safely and effectively performing the workout and having fun, but make sure you give yourself training goals that keep you motivated as well. Sometimes external sources of motivation can really help keep you focused. For example, you could train for a marathon, get a training partner, take other instructors’ classes, train outdoors, or work out to a different playlist than what you play during your group sessions.

 2. Listen to your body

 If you are constantly aching, injured, sick or sleep-deprived, it’s time to rest. A couple of options to consider:

Decrease your activity in class. Coach more, do less. Taking on a coaching role allows you to roam the room and be more interaction and hands-on with participants. Don't strain your voice, and use a mic if you've got access to it.

Take full days off from instructing. Use these off-days to take care of your muscle soreness and help to prevent it by stretching and foam rolling.

 3. Maintain proper nutrition and hydration

 Food is fuel, so don't try to function with a calorie deficit. Plan ahead, pre-cook your meals the night before and pack snacks. Hydrate throughout the day, and drink hot tea and suck on throat lozenges between classes.

 4. Don’t lose your groove

 When you’re on top of your game, group exercise participants keep coming back to your classes because they feed off of your energy, dig your style and get results from your routines.  When burnout is threatening your groove, you run the risk of losing those same participants. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and pressured to come up with completely new routines all the time,  try these ideas to get you moving in the right direction:

  • Remember, it's OK to repeat exercises. Take the exercises you've got and think about how you can take them and switch up the rep scheme, tempo, direction, or swap around equipment. Switch up the sequencing and give different cues.
  • Make a new music playlist. Swap out the songs you are sick of and ask for requests.
  • Be sure to check out MGF for new choreography and hot music to get creative ideas flowing. Take it, own it and make it your own!

Be aware of the signs and symptoms of overtraining and overteaching and try to avoid slipping into those patterns.

If you are already at that point, take a breath and make some time for YOU so that YOU can continue to change the lives of others one class at a time.

Once you lose your momentum, you lose your class.

5. Connect with other group exercise instructors.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the MGF community for even more motivation tips, recovery techniques, nutrition tidbits and choreography and music!

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