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26 Things from a Group X Instructor

26 Things from a Group X Instructor

I turned 26 earlier this month, and between a birthday and the holidays, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting. I compared myself at this year’s company holiday party to the person I was at last year’s, and in those moments, it doesn’t feel like much has changed — I work with mostly the same people at my day job, teach the same Group X classes and am part of the same communities. But, when I think back on all that’s happened this last year, a lot has changed in ways that have helped me grow, learn and deepen my relationships and roots here. To look at the facts: I bought a house, started this blog, became a manager and got engaged.

Yet, those facts don’t tell the whole story. So, here are 26 reflections, lessons and goals — 13 things I learned this year, and 13 things I want to work towards.

The Things I Learned at 25 as a Group X Instructor

  1. The need for self-compassion. I’ve always been really hard on myself. I tend to dwell on the things I’ve done wrong or said in just the wrong way. But, I’m learning that we’re all just trying our best, and we need to nicer to each other, and also ourselves.
  2. More high-intensity intervals doesn’t equal a harder workout. I used to think that if you wanted a tougher workout, you just needed to add more intervals. But, really it’s about optimizing the intervals you do, so people push themselves to work at their max.
  3. The world doesn’t stop spinning when you ask for a sub. I have a hard time asking for subs, because it makes me feel like I’m doing something bad or that I’m neglecting my participants. But, I’ve started to learn that life goes on, and everyone needs rest now and again. Just make sure that when you do find a sub, you reciprocate sometime down the road.
  4. Nobody likes it when you’re easy on them. Whether it’s in a Group X class or working on a professional team, nobody likes to be coddled. We want to be challenged, find our limits and push past them. So, I’m going to embrace those difficult conversations and the stuff we’re not so good at, so we can continue to improve.
  5. Assumptions are bad. I’ve learned that you can’t assume other people know what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling. On the flip side, you can’t assume you know how others are feeling or thinking. Instead, ask questions and be honest. Always come from a place of kindness and compassion.
  6. Gliders are the best. My favorite core exercise is to do a “bootcamp crawl”. Put your feet on the gliders, and come into a plank on your elbows. While keeping your hips down, crawl on your elbows forward and backward. I’d recommend doing this on a mat to make it easier on your elbows. My participants love this exercise.
  7. Music is No. 1. Most people I’ve talked to go to Group X classes for the music. If you’re going to spend extra time preparing for your class, spend it on choosing music that is upbeat, entertaining and flows well together.
  8. Your community is larger and stronger than you think. I saw others raise their hand this year in need, and their community stepped right up to the plate to help out. It may sometimes feel like you’re going at it alone, but if you give others the ability to help you, they will do so without hesitation.
  9. First really is the worst, and second really is the best. Instead of spending hours and hours trying to get the first time perfect, let the first time be just okay. Then, promise to learn from the first time, and do better the second. This is true for your first Group X class — that first time never goes quite how you want it to. And, it’s also true for personal projects, like writing, planning and even cooking.
  10. The hardest battles to win will be the most rewarding. This year, I had to fight tooth and nail to prove to myself and my manager that I was capable of writing for a new technical client. That effort and determination was able to make me so much better at the task, and also helped make achieving the task feel so wonderful. I may not always reach my goal, but I want to make sure I always give it my all.
  11. Don’t offer unsolicited feedback in the Group X classes you take. How many times have you gone to a group fitness class as a participant and wanted to share your thoughts with the instructor? Well, I recently offered my perspective to the instructor teaching, and it was not appreciated. Instead, I’ll keep my comments to myself, unless the instructor specifically asks for it, because I’ve started to understand that you have to be in the right mindset for critique.
  12. Always mix it up. Many of my participants love classic rock songs, so I started playing a lot more to appeal to their taste. Then I realized that other members were starting to get tired of the heavy emphasis on classic rock. To please the most members, you’ll always want to have some variety, and try to add some fresh songs as often as you can.
  13. Herbal tea and honey are so soothing for a sore voice. I have had a love-hate relationship with the mics in my classroom, and have gone to work the next day sounding like I was sick. I’ve started drinking more tea to help soothe my scratchy vocal cords after a day of what I like to call “Boot Camp Michelle” voice.

My Goals for 26 as a Group X Instructor

  1. Continue to build and improve this blog.
  2. Travel! My fiancé and I have already started planning our European honeymoon. 🙂
  3. Help those I mentor grow and develop.
  4. Learn from Arianna Huffington, and get a solid bed time routine.
  5. Spend lots of time with friends and family.
  6. Learn basic WordPress developing skills.
  7. Be the kind of friend/colleague/sister/partner that people want to have around.
  8. Write, write, write.
  9. Bring more hype to my spin class playlists.
  10. Go to the SCW Fitness Convention in the Bay Area.
  11. Start phasing out crunches from my core class.
  12. Get better at having difficult conversations (in classroom, at work, etc.)
  13. Take some time for self-care during wedding planning.

This next year is going to be one for the books, and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow in so many aspects of my life.