Last September, I started teaching BodyPump. I was trained and certified in 2007, but hadn’t taught a steady time slot in almost as long.
My confidence was pretty shaky last fall, so I decided to get steady with the basics first – like timing, technique, my old student weight – and build from there. I won’t lie. Teaching BodyPump is a big challenge, and definitely outside of my comfort zone! I am totally more of a BodyFlow teacher at heart.
I think I’ve made real progress in six months, though! The biggest challenge has been to find my authentic voice in the class. I’m not a yeller, and at first I felt pressure to imitate the louder Pump instructors.
Over time, I’ve come to feel the intensity in the music and the exercise, and from that place, express the essence of the program in a way that is genuine for me. It turns out a lot of people don’t like being yelled at for a whole hour, anyway – shocker! My most frequent comment has been a grateful, “You don’t yell at us like a lot of instructors do.”
That reminds me, though, an exception! One woman in the locker room once said to me. “I took your class once and thought, ‘Wow, this woman is a beast.'” I admit, that gave me a bit of an ego boost. Not a comment I get a whole lot, to be sure!
Anyway, I’ve also made a lot of progress in my stamina. I’ve begun training more consistently outside of class – both cardio and strength training – and I’ve gotten better at getting over hurdles, pushing through walls. Early in my return to BodyPump, I had a tough time with a lunge track. And by “tough time,” I mean I completely flamed out. I screwed up the timing, on both legs, and couldn’t get back on track for the life of me. I was horribly embarrassed and exhausted, and spent the evening thinking I wasn’t really cut out for teaching such a class. The next week, after lots of drilling and extra practice, I made myself teach the same track – and did fine.
It seems to be a pattern that after doing my worst, I find my best in the following weeks. Just three weeks ago, I hit a major wall during a shoulder track. I got severely dizzy and felt like I was about to pass out. I put down my weights and just motioned through for a few reps, and when that didn’t help, had to come down to one knee and talk the class through (reassuring them that I was okay). I was able to pick up the weights for the last set, but still felt really unsure about my ability to teach this class well. What kind of instructor stops? (Actually, quite a few, but I was being hard on myself that day.)
I decided to chalk it up to a bad day, to shake it off, and to keep on doing the work: Filling the form of learning my tracks, training outside of class, and showing up to teach to the best of my ability.
So, what happened?
Well, the last two weeks have been truly amazing. I’ve had really good class sizes – mostly regulars, which is good – and great energy. There were moments in the week following my faltering performance that I thought no one would ever come to my class again, but it’s been just the opposite. People have come and given it their all. It’s been a lesson. Upon reflection, I know I always have a better connection with instructors who are honest about their ability and when they have “human” moments; I don’t know why I would think I should be an exception.
No one expects me to be superhuman. That can be so easy to forget!
So, it’s taken a while, but not only has my confidence as a BodyPump instructor increased, I am actually enjoying it. I’m even planning on taking the Advanced Instructor Module in September, which just happens to be with one of our recent (and awesome!) new release presenters.
That says a lot about how much confidence I’ve gained!