The fitness industry is plagued with a body image problem. Skinny is in, strong is sexy, big is beautiful, any body is a bikini body — it’s enough to make your head spin. With so many conflicting opinions circulating the web, your group fitness participants are likely feeling torn (and confused!) between feeling confident in their current skin and wanting to work to better themselves. This places a lot of responsibility on Group X instructors’ shoulders to use the right motivational cues for group fitness while avoiding phrases that may trigger more confusion and uncertainty.
Yes, it’s quite a challenge! But I know this is one of the reasons you and I are in this business: to inspire and help others find the joy in working out.
When looking for motivational cues for group fitness classes, I like to steer clear of body image conversations. Instead, I look at recent trends and timely events for inspiration. A new year has many people already feeling inspired and reinvigorated about their fitness routine. So, it only makes sense to use motivational cues for group fitness classes that tap into those existing feelings of potential and excitement. Without wasting too much time on your cues, here’s a look at three motivational cues to try in your group fitness classes in the new year.
Motivational Cue #1: Encourage Thankfulness
Studies show that folks who practice gratitude have a more positive outlook on life, exercise more and report fewer physical problems. There’s a wide-range of health factors that improve when you practice gratitude. You can start or end your group fitness class with a moment of thanks. I’d recommend cueing it when participants are still, possibly during an end-of-class plank or child’s pose. You can start by thanking them for coming, then offering them a moment to think about what they’re thankful for. It can go something like,
“Thank you so much for coming today. I’m thankful that you showed up, gave it your all, and that you took time out of your day for yourself. If you’d like, take a moment to remember what you’re thankful for. We sometimes rush through our day, and now’s a great time to stop and collect your thoughts.”
Motivational Cue #2: Tapping into New Year’s Resolutions
In spin class, I love to channel participants’ motivation for their goals in their life. It doesn’t have to be fitness related. Rather, just asking participants to think about a goal or resolution they have, and then give that their attention as they ride. It can sound like,
“I want you to think about a goal you have — it can be fitness related, but doesn’t have to be. Now, coming up we’re going to do a breathless sprint. I want you to picture yourself striving towards your goal. Focus your energy and your effort for this sprint on achieving that one thing.”
Motivational Cue #3: Use the New Year to Show Some Self Compassion
People are really hard on themselves when it comes to their fitness regimens. They miss a workout or indulge during a diet, and can start to feel down. I like to use the new year as an opportunity for a fresh start. It’s a chance for us to forgive ourselves for any time we weren’t perfect, and wipe our slate clean for a new year of hard work, passion and a full life. At the very end of the workout, here’s what I would say,
“It’s a new year, which means we can finally close the chapter that is 2016. As we turn this page, I want you to say goodbye to whatever was holding you back last year. This is our fresh start, our opportunity to do and become whatever we want. So, as we go through this last song, I want you to leave all the bad 2016 juju on the floor, and leave here today feeling lighter and brighter. 2017 is our year, let’s do it!”
People come to group fitness classes for the social motivation. We do have a lot of responsibility to motivate our participants in a safe, supportive environment. The ideas above are a great way to tap into the new year to provide some fresh fitness motivation.
For more motivational cues for group fitness, check out the fitness motivation and cueing page.