I frequently blog on techniques to improve motivation, such as goal-setting, finding like-minded people to train with, keeping a fitness journal, etc. It is often difficult to stick to a regular exercise routine and all too easy to blame the demands of our jobs, the kids, our spouses, etc., for our lack of exercise. However, today I am going to offer up a motivational technique that you may not have considered…
Become an Instructor
This is not as far-fetched as it may sound. When I took my first personal trainer class a couple years ago, I discovered that many of my classmates had enrolled in the class in order to motivate themselves to get into shape and to live a healthier lifestyle.
There are many obvious reasons that one might consider becoming a fitness instructor, but you may not have considered them all. First of all, we learn best through teaching others. While we only retain 10% of what we read and 50% of what we see and hear, we retain 95% of what we teach to others. The more senses (verbal, auditory, visual, and kinesthetic) that we engage, the higher the probability of retaining that knowledge. Being the teacher (rather than the student) forces us to really understand the subject matter. Thus, the first reason to become an instructor is to really know how to exercise. An equally good reason to become an instructor is that it puts you on a regular schedule (forces you into a routine). If you teach yoga or Pilates every Tuesday and Thursday night, you have to actually show up for it!
Other benefits of being a fitness instructor include: a small paycheck (I won’t lie to you—it really is quite small!), free club membership and other perks that might include discounts on other club services, more time at the club, respect of your fellow athletes and improved self esteem, continual learning, and continual positive reinforcement. You will want to become the best person that you can be.
And finally, I find it incredibly rewarding to help other people. It is really not about these other perks as much as it is about knowing that you have helped someone else improve their quality of life by reducing their risk for obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain cancers, and premature death.
How easy is it to become an instructor? Well, first you need to consider what you like to do and where your innate talents lie. If you have never participated in yoga and you have poor flexibility, then maybe yoga is not what you should teach. However, if you are a brown belt in martial arts, it might be time to consider teaching your own class. Likewise, if you enjoy riding your bike and enjoy an occasional spin class, you should consider becoming a spin instructor. Or if you say, “Oh my gosh. I’m sixty years old. I could never teach a class!” Well, maybe you should consider teaching older adults in a group fitness class. No matter what excuse you come up with, I will find a counterargument!
There are many, many classes that require group or individual instruction and I will give you a short list here to ignite your thinking process: group exercise, spin (cycling) class, adult fitness, martial arts, Pilates, yoga, Zumba, Jazzercise, kettlebells, weight training, dance, BOSU (balance) training, strength and stretch class, and step class. It usually requires certification to teach most of these classes and that information can be readily obtained online or by talking to a current instructor.
I’d like to finish up this piece by stating that fitness is a lifestyle. Incorporate it into your life every day beginning today. Once you do, you will begin to see a snowball effect of improved health, improved sense of well-being, and the energy to complete all of those other activities that place demands on your time.
~Dotso, CPT, CPFT, PES, BA, MS
President, DotsoFit, LLC
Copyright © 2012