Is freestyle coming back?

When I first started in the fitness industry I was an aerobics instructor. Yes, I learned how to teach an aerobics class, which required music, space and my mind, to create an exercise experience. There was no equipment other than the humble mat and sometimes we used light dumbbells.

How long ago was this? This was the early nineties and since then, the diversification of the group exercise format is beyond anything anyone could have imagined. Formats vary from equipment based to pre-choreographed and licenced programs, mind/body formats to HIIT, dance to athletic, there is something for everyone looking to train in a group environment.

One of the biggest changes to impact the group exercise revolution was the concept of pre-choreography, which in some countries like Australia, replaced the classes that were entirely instructor created. It provided a consistency and reliability of workout that many enjoyed delivering and participating in. Freestyle (in which the instructor created the workout themselves) slowly became harder to find on schedules.

As a freestyle instructor and course provider, I was amazed that so many of my talented colleagues decided to teach only pre-choreography. I was often the subject of jokes that I was a ‘dinosaur’ and still teaching ‘that 80’s stuff’. And yet, when I tried to teach a pre-choreographed program for 8 years, I struggled to remember the choreography and create the same experience that I would have when delivering my own material.

I have realised that there are three different mindsets.

  1. Those who are happy teaching pre-choreographed programs
  2. Those who desire to deliver their own material
  3. Instructors who enjoy doing both

The freestyle format has now come back in vogue, as consumers are constantly requesting variety and now we are back to creating a unique experience. Social media has played a big part here, with instructors demonstrating their individual skill set and formats.

So, how do you do that if you have never been taught how to teach? Basically, what is required is a freestyle course that will provide the education to understand music, choreography, class design, teaching strategies and how to deliver choreography.

Education in Australia for these skills has changed considerably over the years and currently the Cert III in Exercise to Music is difficult to find, or has an emphasis on circuit (which is not a freestyle teaching format). Realising that there was a growing need to teach potential instructors how to teach, spurred Maria Teresa Stone and myself to create an online platform to do just that- teach the individual the skill of effective class creation and delivery. MY GROUP MOVE was officially created in 2017 and now we are looking forward to launching the online education this year! Our goal is to help people who want to learn skills to empower them to create their own workouts for groups of people. Keep watching this space as we launch the first offering Move to the Beat– being able to listen to music, understand it’s structure and then move to it like a pro.