Good Instructors Are Born... Great Instructors Evolve!

Whether you are a seasoned instructor or someone just starting out, developing the techniques necessary to be a great instructor are learned not inherited.
Whether you are a seasoned instructor or someone just starting out, developing the techniques necessary to be a great instructor are learned not inherited.

Teaching fitness can be hard; remembering to cue at the right time, staying on the beat and all the while instructing the participants on what to do. These skills are things that will develop. Over time, however they only make up a small percentage of a successful class.

Along with proper cueing and musicology skills, a great instructor will also understand and exude their personality, creating motivation and assertiveness in every class.

Personality Types

Your personality will reflect the type of instructor you will become.

If you are a planner, then you will need to get into the habit of writing out your choreography and preparing for your classes.

If you are someone who does everything on a whim with little preparation, then you will thrive in teaching on a last minutes notice, or creating last minute routines.

For the authoritative type, you will work best in classes such as muscle conditioning and Boot Camp, where you can have full control of the situation.

Once you have figured out your personality type you will create a better understanding of how you can develop your teaching style.

Personality Types
Psychologists divide humanity into 16 distinct personality types. Everything from the Practical and Organized to the Quiet and Reflective. Many companies insist on a personality test for new employees in order to know how best to organize a work place.

Each instructor is individual in their teaching style; however there are some commonalities among all.


    Your ability to cue your moves without losing momentum will help create a flow in the class and will allow your participants to relax and enjoy the journey.


    In order to be effective in teaching choreography, you must have a sound knowledge of music. Take time to learn the beats and phrases in the music you are using. A good instructor will know their musicology; a great instructor will know how to use their music.

The Power Of Music!
No doubt about it, music is a powerful tool and one that should be taken advantage of. At the same time, music should be used judiciously for optimal performance.
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Motivational techniques make up a huge part of your class, especially for classes such as indoor cycling. A good instructor will create rapport with the group and make sure they are having fun, while a great instructor will create the rapport, have fun and then make sure the participants return next time by engaging them with great experience.

Here are some different motivational techniques that will help you engage your participants:

Know Their Names

    When you know your participants by name it will open the door for further communication. Knowing their names will help instill trust and will enable you to utilize their skills in order to help others.

Use A Students Name To Help Build Trust

Tone & Pitch

    No more monotones please! Motivation does not just come through the words that you speak. It also comes through the way you speak.

    Using different pitches and tones in your voice (at appropriate times) will help create further motivation in your group.

Boot Camp Style

    Who is not motivated to work hard when you have an instructor in your face telling you to keep going? What a great way to motivate people.

    Be careful though - you must know your participants and only use this approach with those you know will respond well.

Quotes & Sayings

    We are all inspired by quotes and sayings, some even get goose bumps. So why not use some of your favorite quotes or sayings in your next class? For cycling instructors, this is a powerful way to keep the motivation level high.

    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. "

    Mark Twain.


Lastly, as instructors, we need to be assertive. Can you imagine attending a class and the instructor is unable to keep control? It would be chaos!

Although assertiveness is common among instructors, it is something everyone can improve on. In order to engage your participants, you need to keep control throughout the entire class. This begins with the moment you introduce yourself until the moment you say goodbye.

Assertiveness is crucial to the success of your class. With it you can control the following things (things that participants may do that will change the experience)

Is This Step Or Muscle Conditioning?

    When a participant decides that they want to do some weights right in the middle of your choreography session.

    • Solution - Have the rest of the group do an interval to keep them moving while you approach the disobeying member and kindly ask them to rejoin the group and educate them that there will be an MSE segment at the end of the class.

I Haven't Seen You in Ages! How are...

    Oh the chatty ones! We all have them, the members who come for the social aspect and talk throughout the whole class!

    • Solution - If you know their names, you can playfully remind them that if they can have a full conversation they must not be working hard enough and then suggest they try a different move in order to work harder.

    • Solution - Kindly ask the member, after class is done, to reframe from talking and educate them as to why.

    • Solution - Go next to the individual and perform your movement's right next to them. Help them refocus.

Does An Instructor Have The Right To Remove Disruptive Students From A Class?

Yes. It's Unfair To The Other Students.
No. The Instructor Must Work Out A Solution For Everyone.


Teaching fitness is a skill that many people can learn, but becoming a great instructor takes time, energy and passion. Through practice and preparation you can develop your skills and become the best you can be.