Marietta Mehanni

3 Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of Teaching Group Fitness Classes

Group Fitness Workouts Instructors overcoming fear of teaching blog marietta mehanni

Written by Marietta

March 14, 2022

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

I have been in the industry for a long time, and I know how scary it is to start teaching group fitness classes!

The fear comes from so many places and takes many forms. Some people are afraid they will be uncomfortable, some are afraid that they don’t have the confidence needed, and some are afraid of what their friends will think. Whatever your fears and reasons for holding yourself back might be – I want you to know that you’re not alone. We all experience fear and apprehension when we consider an out-of-our-comfort-zone career move.

I hope the ideas presented here today will help ease some of your concerns about teaching group exercise classes.

1. Fear that comes from not being qualified enough 

Are you considering a career in group fitness? Or are you a professional instructor who wants to continue growing in the industry? Either way, it’s essential to understand how the fear of not being qualified enough can affect you if you don’t change your mindset. 

So often, our independent judgement about what is good enough gets clouded by someone else’s judgements and opinions. That’s where the real problem lies. We begin to doubt our sense of self-worth, especially when new to something. All of us have self-doubt. We think we’re not good enough, smart enough or strong enough. And when we think about our dream jobs and how far away they seem, we can get overwhelmed by the fear of what we need to do to get there.

When I was first starting out

I had no idea what it meant to be qualified to teach group fitness. All I knew was that I had been exercising independently for years and decided to share my passion with others. So, I did what any other newbie would do: I searched the web for information on how I could become a group fitness instructor. Unfortunately, whenever I came across a site discussing qualifications, job descriptions, and licensures, I felt more confused. It seemed like there was a different list of prerequisites for every certification out there. 

I discovered that I needed to speak to a group fitness instructor, someone who had been in the trenches before me and knew the landscape and what ‘you really needed to know’ to teach a class. So often, courses are full of information that is ‘good to know’ but not crucial for teaching a class. Once I knew the basic necessary skills I would need to learn, it became easier to overcome the feeling that I didn’t know enough.

2. Fear that comes from the responsibilities of teaching a class 

As a beginner, feeling scared and intimidated by the teaching responsibilities can be overwhelming. After all, you’re talking about people’s bodies and health in a class environment. Unfortunately, the fact is that every new instructor experiences a level of fear. That’s why experienced group fitness instructors have been so helpful in providing advice for new instructors.

Whether you’re starting with indoor group exercise classes or outdoor boot camp-style classes, My Group Move can help you prepare for your first class, including:

  • Knowing the fundamentals of group fitness.
  • Understanding the basics of how to teach an effective workout.
  • Having the confidence to follow through with what you’ve planned.
  • How to organise and plan your workouts so that you don’t have to keep coming up with new class plans.

3. Fear of the unknown

Teaching a class for the first time is nerve-racking and stressful.

There are so many things you must remember, you probably can’t sleep the night before, and there’s bound to be someone in the crowd who will be unsure of your ability to deliver. The good news is that the more classes you teach, the easier it gets!

Here are some tips to make your first few classes a success: 

  • Warm up the room with movements that will be like the workout you plan to do but with less intensity. Getting the heart rate up is vital before starting any group exercise class. For example, if you are going to do a standard floor-based workout, then perform some of the exercises you will be doing in the main body of the class so that the participants become familiar with the movement patterns. This also saves you from having to devise a separate set of exercises. 
  • Cover your material thoroughly and ensure it’s appropriate for the level of your class participants. For example, if you’re teaching a high-level boot camp class, you’ll need to be much more specific about the exercises you’re demonstrating to ensure everyone understands what you’re doing. Also, make sure you know what form and function each exercise is supposed to be achieved so that everyone can get the most out of their workout.
  • Plan your stretch and class ending, as this is often part of the class that most instructors neglect but the part that participants remember the most. Even if your class did not go exactly to plan, a well-planned stretch sequence could salvage your confidence in how you delivered the workout. 

I’m not sure if all new group fitness instructors endure the fears described above, but it is something that I have witnessed first-hand.

As someone who loves group fitness and happens to be a My Group Move group instructor trainer, I often hear stories of self-doubt from people interested in pursuing this career path. The fear of teaching group fitness is real. To minimise those fears and the mental anguish they cause, prospective group fitness instructors must consider why they love working out and what inspires them to help others do the same.

If you’re a long-term group fitness instructor or someone starting in the industry looking to improve and feel more confident in your teaching abilities, the MGM Instructor Pathway is the perfect course for you. This implementation program is designed to show you exactly how to create and deliver freestyle group fitness classes like a pro! Enrollments are now open for the next course starting Monda,y 9th October 2023.

Our program gives you everything you need to reach your goals, including:

  • A step-by-step process for becoming a certified group fitness instructor
  • A community of people who will support and encourage you every step of the way (no matter where they are in their journey)
  • Access to resources from industry experts who have already walked in your shoes
  • Complete course guide with everything you need to know about becoming a certified group fitness instructor

Learn more and register here

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  1. Thank you for your words of wisdom Marietta which have evolved from your long experience in the fitness industry. I agree with everything you say. I have always told others who work in fitness with me that if you always adhere to the 4 letter word CARE and you really care about your class participants you will become a good, capable instructor working in an industry that gives you both satisfaction and pleasure.

    • Really appreciate your feedback Carol and I absolutely agree with you have said. Thank you.


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