Reinventing Yourself Again...and again

Tuesday, July 02 2019

Reigniting your Passion for Teaching in 2015

It’s a New Year and my internal dialogue is telling me that it is time to shake off the sloth and turn my attention to areas of my life that have been neglected. Where to begin? Let’s start with my classes. Like years past, I am resolving to dust the cobwebs off my classes and spit and polish them with some fresh ideas.

January 2002

Edited excerpt from my article “Reinventing Yourself” There is obviously something about the New Year that creates a desire for a fresh start. For fitness instructors, this fresh start may translate into, “Dear God, please help me think of a new routine before I get booed out of class.”

January 2004

Edited excerpt from my article “The Perfect Class” Another stinker routine, which means it’s back to the lab again. We construct, create and perfect, waiting for that elusive bolt of lighting to strike. Why do some classes feel perfect, and others far from perfect?

January 2009

Edited excerpt from my article “Reinventing Yourself Again” Anyone who has ever read any of my articles is probably sick of my use of the word “reinvent.” Truthfully, I cannot think of a better word to describe the shared experience of all fitness instructors in their quest to renew their passion for teaching and their endless efforts to recreate excitement in their classes.

January 2015

"I would rather get a sub than teach that routine again," I think to myself as I leave the club. Once again I have neglected my classes for far too long. It wasn’t my intention but you know the drill. You tell yourself that you are going to work on a new routine the day before your class. Then evening rolls around and you are too tired to bother with it. And so you wake up the next morning and cringe because once again you have nothing new to teach. During the drive to the club, instead of concentrating on driving you rack your brains for something new to do in your classes. As you perform the "death march" through the club parking lot you instead turn your attention to music. A good playlist will surely save the day. However, as you scroll through your playlists you recall the catatonic expressions on the student’s faces over the last few weeks regardless of the music you selected. Music isn’t going to fix this problem. As you enter the club, the crazy voice in your head offers possible solutions. "Maybe there will be a thunder storm or a power outage.” “Maybe a ‘diaper issue’ will close the pool." "Maybe I can pretend to suddenly get sick."

And then your responsible voice kicks in. “Or Mark...maybe it is time to stop making excuses and spend time working on new programming.” And so you make it through one more class determined that next week you will unleash shock and awe with an amazing new routine.

But where do you start? In previous articles, you may recall my advice for keeping your classes fresh, engaging and exciting.

  • Go to workshops or conferences. Attending workshops provides you with new material and it also allows you to study the effective (and not effective) traits of industry leaders.
  • Watch videos. I have a box filled with fitness DVDs and old VHS tapes. There were many times that a DVD came just in the knick of time to rescue my classes from infernal boredom.
  • Go to other instructor’s classes. And hope they are good. And in case they aren’t, inform the instructor that you may have to leave class early in case your knee acts up. If the class is awful, wave bye bye and “limp” back to the locker room.
  • Teach a new format. By 1997 I was teaching 12 step aerobic classes and seriously burning out. Then I started teaching kickboxing...and then stability ball...shallow water...deep water...Gliding...Pilates...and more. I didn’t stick with all these, but learning and teaching new formats kept my passion ignited.
  • New equipment. Similar to teaching new formats, having new equipment to use in your classes will also reignite your enthusiasm for teaching.
  • Document your routines. By creating files of class routines, you can go back and quickly copy and paste up a new routine of "old" moves that you have not used in awhile.

All instructors need resources to keep their classes fresh and exciting. Over the past 12 years, I have been honored to serve as a resource with my workshops and DVDS. In 2014, I enhanced the resources I offer by putting videos, choreography notes, CEC quizzes and audio workouts directly on my website. Scary as it was, I chose to take this leap in technology as a means of making education more accessible. Over the last decade, I have received many emails from instructors telling me that their students loved my choreography and that their classes were growing in size thanks to my DVDs. And more importantly, these instructors said they were more excited about teaching.

And THIS is what it is all about. It is about teaching classes that are fun, exciting and deliver results. It is about getting more people in the pool. The population is aging and aquatic exercise is a solution for staying active, healthy and independent. If we keep our classes engaging and challenging, people will keep coming. If they keep coming to class we can make a difference in their lives.

If you are looking for some reinvention for your classes, let me help you.

  • Need choreography ideas? Check out all the videos that are currently playing on the Fitmotivation website. And more will keep posting every month.
  • Ready to add some Tabata and HIIT in your classes? Watch Pool Jogging & Tabata and Sha-Deep.
  • Looking for an ab routine for the noodle? Watch Aqua Ab Noodle and earn 2.0 AEA CECs by taking the online quiz.
  • Need some new core moves? Watch Cool Core Choreography and take away a vertical core routine that can serve as a class cool down.
  • Bored of the stretch routine you do in class? On January 12, Aqua Yoga Stretch will be posting to the Fitmotivation website. Reinvent your stretch with yoga flow and earn 2.0 AEA Online CECs.
  • Big class and lacking pool space? Learn how to teach to both shallow and deep simultaneously? Watch Sha-Deep and Deep Triads. Aqua 2 for 1 will be posting on January 5.
  • Ready to drop a few pounds? Download the Pool Jogging & Tabata audio workout and get in the pool!

January 2002

Edited Excerpt from the article “Reinventing Yourself” Clearly, there are many ways to reinvent yourself and bring a fresh and innovative approach to your classes. Personally, I have found the greatest source of renewal to be from my students and my commitment to them. Our best hope for reinvention is our own passion for teaching and for making a difference.

January 2004

Edited excerpt from my article “The Perfect Class” I have learned that the perfect class is neither myth nor reality, but rather a manifestation of my own thoughts and perceptions. If I focus more on moving people, rather than focusing on the moves, my classes can be made more perfect.

January 2009

Edited excerpt from my article “Reinventing Yourself Again” We can continuously recreate the excitement in our classes with all of the tips mentioned above, but to renew our passion for teaching we must be able to look into the eyes of our students and realize that this is as good as it gets. Right here, right now, the passion is all about being blessed with the honor to serve and the opportunity to inspire others to greater health and a more joyful life.

January 2015

In 2015 I will celebrate my 20th year in fitness. In 1995, I made a complete career change because I wanted a career that was meaningful. I wanted to help people lose weight, feel better, get healthy and gain hope.

Nothing has changed except for the fact that I discovered aquatic fitness along the way. And now I am on a mission to lead others to the pool where I know they will lose weight, feel better, get healthy and gain hope – in a safer and more compassionate way.

Let’s get people in the pool and help them feel better and be better in 2015. Happy New Year!

Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.