Monthly Archives: February 2012

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Have too many formats watered down the quality of Group Fitness??

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I’m thrilled to see clubs offering so many different group fitness formats these days. We’ve come a long way in the world of aerobics and I think it’s great that people have so many options these days to find a class that is fun and challenging. My pet peeve though is that many of these instructors are not qualified to be teaching in a classroom setting. For example, just because you love to Zumba and you got certified, doesn’t mean you’re qualified to teach it.
My experience in getting certified in this format a few years ago left me feeling very disappointed. I walked into a room at 8am with about 50+ other people and 1 Master instructor. Out of these 50+ people I’d say 12-15 of us were certified Group Fitness instructors through very reputable programs. The others just loved to Zumba, nothing wrong with that by the way.
My frustration here is when I see studio and gym owners hiring instructors who literally the day before walked out of this certification with a piece of paper that says “You are now a Zumba instructor, you can start teaching Monday morning”… that is hardly qualified.

I grew up dancing these rhythms and I have to say, it takes much longer than a day to understand the differences in beats and counts between salsa, merengue, cumbia, chachacha, bachata, hip hop, etc….Not all of these are danced on an 8-count BUT when teaching in a group fitness format at your local gym, you must translate it to an 8-count in order to modify moves, prevent injuring your students and enhance their ability to expect a change in choreography and still get a great workout. Not an easy thing to teach in 1 day.
What happens to us instructors who spent hours, money and energy making sure we do get proper certifications in exercise physiology and go to fitness conferences to enhance our knowledge so we can educate our students better?? Now we’re being watered down with a new generation of instructors who don’t know the difference between a hamstring and a quadricep!

The only difference is that class sizes are a reflection of how qualified an instructor is…and even though our paychecks don’t show it…THAT is priceless!

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Do you exercise like a delicate flower or a warrior?

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Last week I was on the treadmill with my Ipod and a lady climbed on the machine next to me. She plugged her earphones into the video monitor and started watching a popular morning show and within minutes she was walking at my exact same pace and incline.

I noticed our calorie counters were clicking away in sync but as I watched her I asked myself, “If calories are a measure of energy, are we truly exerting the same energy??” I started taking notes and comparing the differences in our form and technique.

I was 100% focused on my breathing, squeezing my abs and glutes, shoulders back, swinging my arms back and forth like a power walker, walking briskly heel to toe, heel to toe, heel to toe. Meanwhile, she was leaning back, holding on to the rails, plopping her wobbly feet on the belt, giggling at the screen and completely mesmerized by the talk show host.
There was no way in hell she was expending as much energy as I was! Even if these machines ask for your height and weight, they are not considering heart rate and intensity.

Let’s face it, intensity plays a huge role on calorie exertion.
Intensity is mental and physical strength. I visualize being a warrior when I workout. Doesn’t matter if I’m out on a walk, lifting in the weight room or teaching a class. A warrior is the embodiment of intensity, power, energy, focus, determination and passion.
You must train your brain like you train your body and in order to see results you must demonstrate purposefulness, power and focus.
So next time you exercise ask yourself, “Who am I?” Or better yet, tell yourself who and what you are…let it run through your veins and use it to strengthen your body, mind and spirit.