If there's one thing I've learned in my three years of fitness instructing, it's that anything can happen. And everything will.
I forgot my sneakers. I forgot my water. I forgot my headband. I forgot my music. My hair tie broke. My pants were inside-out. My microphone ran out of batteries. My microphone got sweat-logged. My microphone wasn't compatible with the gym's speaker system. My workout plan wasn't intense enough for my class. My workout plan was too intense for my class. Sweat got in my eyes. I lost my voice. I ran out of energy. And much, much more.
The truth is, when it comes to teaching fitness classes, everything doesn't always go as you planned. That's life. You just have to go with the flow, and be as prepared as you can be.My advice for anyone thinking of becoming a fitness instructor is simple. Preparation. Is. Key. What's in my gym bag?
What's a fitness class without music? I always make sure to bring my iPod, and a backup iPod, with prepared playlists that are specific to my classes. I switch up my playlists every month or so to keep my classes up-to-date with the hottest hits. My microphone headset and base come next. I always make sure to have a back-up pair of batteries, screaming to a class of 20 is no fun. Not to mention it's an automatic headache. Lastly, a bag of rice. After I teach, I submerge my headset in rice to soak up any sweat that may cause water damage (gross, right?). Wireless microphones are expensive, so it's important to take good care of them to keep 'em working right!
2. Class Essentials.
First off are sneakers that provide enough support for the type of class I am teaching that day. Nike Frees work great for a low-impact sculpt class. I always walk into the gym or studio with outside shoes so I don't get my sneakers wet or dirty, and I've forgotten to grab my sneakers on multiple occasions. For this reason, I keep two extra pairs in my car. Next, my workout plan. I keep a workout notebook where all my plans are written out, so if I see that one is not fit for my clients' ability levels, I can always flip back a few pages instead of having to come up with a new plan on the spot. Although, I often come up with new plans on the spot anyway. Teaching is fun. Lastly, I always keep a pen with my notebook to jot down any notes I have about my classes -- names, requests, etc.
3. Personal Essentials.
These are absolutely necessary. My classes are intense. We sweat A LOT, which is why a towel is key. I keep organic lavender yoga mat spray with me to wipe down the mats after a tough ab or floor series. My hair goes everywhere during burpees, so I keep headbands with me (colors to match my outfit, of course). The headbands also keep my microphone in place. And you can't forget about the hair ties. SNAP. I go through these things like chocolate-covered almonds, so I always keep a couple in my gym bag for when I or one of my clients needs one.
4. Energy & Hydration.
With a quick 10-minute break between classes, I need to make sure I have enough energy. If I'm feeling depleted, I'll whip out an apple and have a quick bite. The natural sugar picks me right up. And, water. Water, water, water. Because I teach a lot of hiit (high intensity interval training), hydrating is ESSENTIAL. It's so easy for me to go through a full water bottle within two rounds of tabata, so I always make sure to have an extra water bottle in my bag.
Are you thinking about becoming a fitness instructor? DO IT. It is the most gratifying and uplifting job I have ever had. I plan to keep teaching classes for as long as my body can physically handle it. Just remember -- prepare. Because anything can, and will happen.
Do you have any gym essentials that you bring with you every time you work out? I'd love to hear in the comments below!