‘The best way to predict the future is to create it‘ a quote by Peter Drucker, whom is one of the best-known and most widely influential thinkers and writers on the subject of management theory and practice. His quote is something that struck a powerful chord with me years ago, that I have applied in many circumstances. I do believe that you create outcomes.
The beginning of a group exercise class can be viewed in a similar way. This is known as the warm up and it is common knowledge that it is important physiologically, as it will prepare the body for the workout and assist in avoiding injuries. Psychologically, the start of a workout can set expectations. These expectations can be of the workout ahead, but more importantly, the confidence that a participant has in the instructor. Will this be a good class? Will I enjoy this workout? Is this what I signed up for regarding level of intensity? Is the instructor competent? Will this instructor encourage and inspire me when I am feeling fatigued? These questions are answered within the first 5 to 10 minutes of the warm up.
With so much at stake, with the safe preparation of the body for the workout and meeting participants expectations, how much planning do you do for your warm up? Is it something that you consider after you planned the rest of the class? Do you feel it is a necessary, but boring part of the class that you need to get through to get to the best part of the workout?
Going back to Drucker’s quote, the best way to predict a great workout experience is to start creating it from the beginning of the class. Your warm up needs to be like the opening of a movie or concert. It needs to capture people’s attention and create enthusiasm. It is about whetting an appetite for the main course, with the entrée. If you went to a restaurant and your entrée was disappointing, you would be crossing your fingers that the rest of the meal would be better. But if instead, your entrée was excellent, you would be waiting in anticipation for what was to come afterwards.
The Art of the Start is a course that Maria Teresa Stone and I have created to help inspire and show how to make your warm up in any group exercise class simple yet effective, to achieve the physiological and psychological goals. Not often are group exercise instructors taught how to make their warm ups enticing and interesting and The Art of the Start fills this gap. This unique course not only shows how to take simple moves that can be adapted for warms ups for three different class styles (cardiovascular, martial arts and dance) but also how to create the sparkle that each participant needs to ensure that they want to stay to the end and to savour every part.