When you arrive at your next group fitness class and see your favourite instructor standing at the front of the room with a bright smile and inviting eyes, do you ever think to yourself, “I could never do that?! They are made for this! They are so outgoing, so energetic, so fun, sooo not introverted, like me!”
If you are wondering, “how can this be?” I will ask you to trust me and know that I am speaking from experience as a living, breathing, introverted group fitness instructor of over 13 years.
It is not only possible but if you hone your unique qualities as an introvert, you can use those to your advantage and be at the top of your fitness instructor game.
Strategies for Thriving as An Introvert
Take these three introverted qualities:
- Planning and order
Along with these three self-care tips:
- Extrovert affirmations
- Start small
And flourish as an instructor!
As a GFI, having creativity and imagination is a huge asset. Using this introverted quality to your advantage will have you creating fun playlists, creating unique class choreography, and the ability to make each class feel new and fresh. These small details create an environment that participants are drawn to and will have them returning to class, wondering what fun new creative things you have in store!
This might also give you direction about the types of classes you would be interested in or enjoy teaching. Freestyle classes where you are in charge of your choreography or a spin class where you get a creative license to make a new playlist each week might hit the spot to a more introverted personality.
Planning and Order:
This introverted quality is vital as a GFI. When it comes to movement prep or the body of the workout, participants will know when they come to your class that you have done your homework. You have taken the time to create intention and purpose behind the scene, which means more than likely, your classes will feel organized, smooth, and balanced.
Those class traits are the underlying magic of a great workout that participants can feel in a class but can’t quite put their finger on when they talk about their favourite instructors! But you know, it is the planning and order paying off.
Introverts tend to be honest and loyal friends. This will play to your advantage when you create a community in your classes. The genuine feeling of friendship will permeate, and participants will return where they feel welcome.
Loyalty goes a long way in the friendship department and as an employee or an instructor applying for a job. This quality is something managers and directors look for in terms of instructors they hire or want on their team. Knowing you will show up for your classes and be a team player will have this introverted quality making you a Rockstar!
It is a common myth that introverts hate socializing. More accurately, an introvert can feel drained by social encounters, and energy levels are brought back up by recharging with some alone time. This is a huge self-care tip! If you know you need alone time after class, plan it, schedule it, and honour it.
This could look like taking the scenic route home to recharge on the drive before you enter a different world of perhaps family and relationships. Maybe it is having the bath salts ready and a block of time scheduled for a bath after class or even just taking a few moments to deep breath alone in the parking lot before you are on to your next adventure. Whatever it is, honour that recharge time and find a way to fit it in.
As a Group Fitness Instructor, it is good to remember why you are teaching in the first place. Even when it can sometimes feel uncomfortable, creating an extroverted affirmation to say before class or as you are walking in can give you that boost of confidence and excitement, you need to start class. And the cool part about affirmations is that you may not believe the words at first but the more you say them, you will be surprised at how quickly they begin to feel true!
Examples could be “I am a Rockstar, and this class is my stage!” or “I am so excited to teach!” also, “I am confident, fun, and gosh darn it these people know it!!” It can be whatever you want! You get to decide what kind of energy you need that day for class, but whatever it is, state it, repeat it, believe it!
Do not let the social aspect of group fitness overwhelm you. You do not need to know every person’s name in the first class you teach, but you could learn one. Start small and think of little ways to help build the community vibe you desire but not feel like it is a bombarding task.
Doing small things like giving a thumbs up to the new guy who walked into the class or asking if there are any song requests for the spin playlist next week. It could even be sharing that you are an introvert with your class and letting those that feel the same know they still belong!
The great thing about group fitness is that there is room for everybody and every personality. Now take those introverted qualities and rock your next class!! Just make sure to have some alone time when you are done!