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Here’s Recent Constructive Feedback from One of My Group X Participants

Group Exercise Instructor Implementing Feedback

It’s very rare for me to get feedback in my Group X classes. Usually most participants will leave with a smile and simply say, “thank you”. To tell if they like the class, I wait to see if they show up again, and most do! But, I never get to hear if they like the intervals or a certain song. Once you’ve taught the same group of folks for a while, you can start to recognize participants’ demeanor and get familiar with how they act when they like something, but other than that, specific, useful feedback is far and few between.

So, I was so appreciative when a participant came up to me after class one day to share a suggestion. Here was the feedback:

“Make sure the effort and pace match the beat of the song, especially at the very end of the song.”

I am guilty of listening to songs for just the first 30 seconds or so, and if I like the beat, I’ll add it to the queue. But, there have been numerous times where the song will end in a weird way, either by cutting out early, audience applause or just a slow, drawn out finish. In the past, I’ve told participants to, “go faster than the beat,” but this person explained that it wasn’t enjoyable to do that.

Lucky for me, there is such an easy fix. Now, I make sure to listen to the end of the song — each and every week — as a reminder of how it ends. Sometimes I’ll write notes to myself to point out when I should do the intervals to make sure I’m doing them when the beat is most intense and upbeat.

Something to think about in your classes, as well. If you think your participants don’t notice when you’re slacking off, think again. Also, it’s a good idea to ask for feedback every once in a while, especially if you’re first starting with a new class or have been teaching the same class for a while. And, of course, listen to all of the song at least once right before you teach it — always.

For more tips, check out the group exercise ideas page.

And, let’s connect on Twitter @GroupXMich.

 

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Group Fitness Instructor Tips for Small Class Sizes

Group fitness instructor teaching a small class

Sometimes beyond all of our control, we show up to teach our group fitness class only to find just a couple participants ready to join in. I know firsthand that this can feel embarrassing and stressful. But, when there are holidays like Presidents’ Day, or it’s the first beautiful sunshine-y Saturday after months of gloomy weather, it’s hard to fault your regulars that decide to skip class. Here are a few group fitness instructor tips for making the most of smaller class sizes.

  1. Do not focus on what (or who) is missing.

A natural reaction to walking into a seemingly empty room is to ask, “Where is everyone?” However, you do not want to call attention to the fact that your class is small today. If you focus on what’s missing, you make it seem like the participants that did show up are not important. Why give any extra energy or attention to the folks that aren’t there when you could be instead focusing on giving the ones that did show up the best workout of their lives?

  1. Frame the small group fitness class size as a positive.

What can you do with this group of people that you couldn’t do with a larger group? Can you play that song that you love that one of your no-show regulars always complains about? Can you do those leg exercises that you normally can’t do because they take up too much room? Is there any equipment you can dust off because there’s now enough to go around?

Take advantage of the smaller class size to do some of the things you normally can’t do.

  1. Throw in some of those all-time favorite exercises.

If folks usually love the arm exercise routine you do, then use it as an opportunity to please the participants that showed up. Crowd favorites are my go-to on days where the class size is smaller or I’m feeling off for some reason.

  1. Above all else, give the class a challenging workout.

Participants are willing to overlook a lot as long as they get a good workout. Maybe they are the only ones who showed up, or maybe you led the same routine you did last week with the same playlist, but as long as they leave feeling like they got the workout they wanted, it’s all good.

It can be unnerving to walk into an almost empty group fitness class. As long as you try to spin it as a positive, and focus on giving the folks that did show up the workout they want, everyone will be happy. It also makes me feel better to think that most people probably won’t remember this class in a couple months, maybe even weeks, and we still get paid no matter how many people show up.

For more tips and tricks, check out the group exercise ideas page.