Posted on

The Best Motivational Workout Songs & Prompts to Push Yourself Harder

Motivational Workout Songs

I see you looking for motivational workout songs. You’re trying to find something that is going to inspire you to put on your fitness clothes and get moving. Well, the time is now. Go put on that spandex. I’ll wait. When you’re ready, come back and follow one of my seven exercise playlists and motivational prompts below. 

These prompts will help you take your workout from average to exceptional. You’re already halfway there—finding motivational workout songs is a huge piece of getting inspired. The second half is to tap into your mental toughness. You’re fully capable of pushing yourself to do your best with this workout, and these prompts will help you. 

How does it work? 

Simple. Read the prompt and take a moment to think about how you can apply it to your workout. Then, throughout the exercises, come back to the prompt and use it as motivation to increase your intensity level. 


Playlist #1: Traditional Motivational Workout Songs

You can find these songs all across the internet, but for good reason: they work. These are songs meant to inspire you to work harder, lift heavier, and run farther. 

Prompt: What’s your fitness mantra? 

A mantra is a word or phrase you can easily repeat to help you concentrate and focus your mind. Think of a simple mantra related to your fitness goal(s) that you can repeat to yourself throughout your workout to help you work harder towards achieving your goals. 

Some examples: 

  • One word: faster
  • Longer than yesterday
  • My best
  • A long, happy life 
  • Booty, booty, booty rockin’ everywhere (Can a mantra also be a song lyric??) 

The Motivational Workout Songs for Playlist #1

  1. “Lose Yourself,” Eminem
  2. “Till I Collapse,” Eminem, Nate Dogg
  3. “Love Myself,” Hailee Steinfeld
  4. “Messiah – Dirty South Remix,” I See MONSTAS, Dirty South
  5. “Thunder,” Imagine Dragons
  6. “Jungle,” X Ambassadors, Jamie N Commons
  7. “The Champion,” Carrie Underwood, Ludacris
  8. “Out Here Grindin’,” DJ Khaled
  9. “Numb / Encore,” JAY-Z, Linkin Park
  10. “Turn Down for What,” DJ Snake, Lil Jon
  11. “She’s Kinda Hot,” 5 Seconds of Summer
  12. “Sweat – Remix,” Snoop Dogg, David Guetta
  13. “Remember the Name,” Fort Minor, Styles of Beyond
  14. “Lose My Breath,” Destiny’s Child
  15. “Way Down We Go,” KALEO
  16. “Go Hard or Go Home,” Wiz Khalifa, Iggy Azalea
  17. “You Shook Me All Night Long,” AC/DC
  18. “Shots,” LMFAO, Lil Jon
  19. “The Other Side,” Jason Derulo
  20. “Whatever It Takes,” Imagine Dragons
  21. “We Are the Champions

Catch the full playlist on Spotify here, or listen here: 

Playlist #2: Motivational Workout Songs That Build Community

If these past few years have taught me anything, it’s that community is so critical to our well being and happiness. For most of us, community is something that we need to work hard to build each and every day—it doesn’t come easily. This is a great prompt for helping build your own sense of community and give back to the greater good in a small way. 

Prompt: Dedicate your workout to someone else. 

Think about the folks in your life that may need some good energy sent their way. Maybe it’s someone that’s struggling with an illness, a challenging job, or a difficult relationship. Maybe it’s a friend that you have been meaning to text and just haven’t found the time—but, dang it, you hope they’re crushing life. 

Pick one person and mentally dedicate your workout to them. Maybe they don’t have the time to workout, but you can workout for them. You can give it your all in your workout as a way to send positive vibes, healing energy, and well wishes their way. 

The Motivational Workout Songs for Playlist #2

  1. “Came Here for Love,” Sigala, Ella Eyre
  2. “Happier,” Marshmello, Bastille
  3. “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” Lenny Kravitz
  4. “Mama,” Jonas Blue, William Singe
  5. “Rise Up,” Andra Day
  6. “You Make My Dreams (Come True),” Daryl Hall & John Oates
  7. “Don’t Let Me Down,” The Chainsmokers, Daya
  8. “I’ll Be There for You,” The Rembrandts
  9. “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” Guns N’ Roses
  10. “Never Let You Go,” Third Eye Blind
  11. “Worth It,” Fifth Harmony, Kid Ink
  12. “I Want You,” Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  13. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” Whitney Houston 
  14. “Buy My Mom a House,” Carolina Rial
  15. “Me & U,” Cassie
  16. “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” Drake, Majid Jordan
  17. “Feels Like Home,” Sigala, Fuse ODG, Sean Paul, Kent Jones
  18. “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” Bon Jovi, Jennifer Nettles
  19. “Home,” Phillip Phillips
  20. “Got My Mind Set On You,” George Harrison
  21. “Together Again,” Janet Jackson
  22. “Love Will Keep Us Together,” Captain & Tennille
  23. “We are Family,” Sister Sledge
  24. “Family Affair,” Mary J. Blige
  25. “Better Together,” Jack Johnson
  26. “Lean on Me,” Bill Withers
  27. “Come Together,” The Beatles
  28. “We’re All In This Together,” High School Musical Cast, Disney
  29. “I Won’t Give Up,” Jason Mraz
  30. “A Thousand Miles,” Vanessa Carlton
  31. “You Are Not Alone,” Michael Jackson
  32. “She Will Be Loved,” Maroon 5 
  33. “Cheetah Sisters,” The Cheetah Girls
  34. “I’ll Be Missing You,” Diddy, Faith Evans, 112

Catch the full playlist on Spotify here, or listen here: 

Playlist #3: Motivational Workout Songs Inspired By Your Haters

I have some of my best workouts when I channel my anger into my exercises. We’ve all had moments where we were overlooked for a job or opportunity, ignored by someone we admire, or felt like we didn’t quite get what we deserved. Those are great moments to use for motivation when you work out. 

Prompt: What past rejection or failure can you use for today’s motivation? 

Here’s one of mine: at my big girl job (read: not fitness related), I used to work for a company that insisted that I did not deserve a promotion no matter how hard I worked or what my results showed. Fast forward two years, I’m now even a step above that desired promotion and leading a small team. 

I love to use that initial rejection as motivation. Channeling that memory makes me work harder in my workout—and, frankly, in my life. 

Find a memory that really grinds your gears and use it as motivation to push yourself harder. 

The Motivational Workout Songs for Playlist #3

  1. “Sk8er Boi,” Avril Lavigne
  2. “So What,” P!nk
  3. “Thnks fr th Mmrs,” Fall Out Boy
  4. “Gives You Hell,” The All-American Rejects
  5. “I Hate Everything About You,” Three Days Grace
  6. “Here I Go Again,” Whitesnake
  7. “My Own Worst Enemy,” Lit
  8. “You Broke Up With Me,” Walker Hayes
  9. “Another One Bites The Dust,” Queen
  10. “Bye Bye Bye,” *NSYNC
  11. “Problem,” Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea
  12. “Freaks,” Timmy Trumpet, Savage
  13. “Love Myself,” Hailee Steinfeld
  14. “Attention,” Charlie Puth
  15. “Miss Independent,” Kelly Clarkson
  16. “Heartbreaker,” Pat Benatar
  17. “The Only Good Thing (You Ever Said Was Goodbye),” Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  18. “Run-Around,” Blues Traveler
  19. “Leave It All Behind,” Cult to Follow
  20. “Don’t Cha,” The Pussycat Dolls, Busta Rhymes
  21. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” Pat Benatar
  22. “Ain’t Your Mama,” Jennifer Lopez
  23. “Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift
  24. “Since U Been Gone,” Kelly Clarkson
  25. “What Have You Done For Me Lately,” Janet Jackson
  26. “Sorry Not Sorry,” Demi Lovato
  27. “Independence Day,” 5 Seconds of Summer
  28. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor Swift
  29. “Mama Said Knock You Out,” LL COOL J
  30. “Fighter,” Christina Aguilera
  31. “Bad Blood,” Taylor Swift
  32. “Best Days of Your Life,” Kellie Pickler
  33. “Forget You,” CeeLo Green
  34. “Survivor,” Destiny’s Child

Catch the full playlist on Spotify here, or listen here: 

Posted on

We All Judge a Book By its Cover

Fitness class laying on balls

“Are you from Canada?” a fellow participant asked me on my first day of yoga teacher training. Sure, I love my pancakes drizzled in maple syrup and a good hockey game, but I most certainly am not from Canada. So, why did she think I was? I looked down at my favorite, comfy long-sleeve shirt to see “Canada” emblazoned on the front. Duh.

I’m not a big fan of appearances. It goes against my inner being to feel like someone is going to judge me based on how I look instead of how hard I work or how I treat others. Unfortunately, everyone–yes, including me–makes first impressions and gut assumptions based on a person’s appearance

It’s human nature. We instinctively make critical decisions about a situation based on how it looks. Is this space safe? Is this person friendly? Can I trust him or her? Our brain decides all of these things within a few seconds of meeting someone.

Do you know who else is making assumptions about us? Our students.

When we walk into class, our students are sizing us up. They’re curious about us and are wondering if we’ll be good instructors. So, what we wear and how we present ourselves matters.

Here are a few things to consider to make a good first impression as a group fitness instructor.

Take Care Picking Your Clothes

Be thoughtful about the clothes you choose. Different formats will require different clothes. For example, yoga instructors have a looser, comfier style since movements are slow and controlled, while HIIT instructors wear form-fitting clothes to be able to jump and do high-impact exercises without injury.

Practice Good Hygiene

If you feel like a mess, chances are you look like a mess. I’m all for rolling out of bed and heading straight to the grocery store in my sweatpants. But, there are times and places where you unfortunately have to clean up a bit. If you want your class to take you seriously, you have to be clean and groomed.

Come Prepared

Your class will not be impressed if you rush into the room late with three bags slung over your shoulder, bobby pins flying out of your hair and bits of paper falling on the floor–I could go on, but you get the idea. You have to take a few moments the night before or the morning of to get your lesson plan together and organize your gym bag. Even before you leave your car, make sure all of your belongings are in their place and you can walk into that gym like you own the place.

I think appearances and first impressions are a very sensitive subject. Who am I to judge how you want to dress and carry yourself throughout the day? Like the saying goes, you do you, boo! No matter how you choose to dress or groom, it’s important to keep in mind that your students are watching. From there, it’s up to you to decide what feels authentic to your teaching style and personality.

In case you were wondering: why do I have a shirt that says Canada? It’s a souvenir and reminder of my first (and only) international solo trip–I went to Niagara Falls!

Posted on

How to Give Feedback That’s Useful in Your Fitness Class

Fitness instructor learning how to give feedback

Sometimes my fitness class is in the middle of an intense interval, where everyone’s out of breath (including myself), and the only thing I can think to say is, “awesome work.” Sure, I say it with as much enthusiasm as I can muster, but those words usually feel like they simply fall flat. We tend to use the word “awesome” so often that it loses its meaning after a while. And, it comes off as generic and disengaged. So, how do we give feedback to our participants in a way that sets us apart from all the bland jargon that we hear in our everyday lives?

How to Give Feedback Advice #1: Be as specific as possible.

Instead of saying, “good job,” or, “keep it up,” pick out one thing your class is doing particularly well and bring attention to it. You could say, “I love that you are all doing pushups on your toes! You’ve come such a long way, and I’m proud of you for challenging your body.”

Sometimes it may feel like you’re pointing out something obvious, but that’s okay. People love to get compliments, even if they’ve heard it before. “Per usual, you all are giving your maximum effort,” you might say. “I see you sweating, and I appreciate your hard work.”

How to Give Feedback Advice #2: Use unique, quirky language.

We hear the same words over and over again, so I’m sure your class won’t miss words like awesome, good and great.

Instead, spend some time reading fitness, self-help and motivational articles. Circle the words that catch your attention, especially the ones that you rarely use. This could be something like, “impressive effort,” or, “love your gumption.”

When we use rare words it makes our brain work a little bit harder to comprehend and follow along, and so participants will be more focused on you, your class and your workout.

Do you remember going to your favorite instructor’s class each week, and he would deliver the exact same intro day in and day out? As time went on, you started to tune it out and think about your to-do list, because it was all too familiar.

Don’t let your motivational cues and feedback get too familiar. And, don’t be boring.

How to Give Feedback Advice #3: Have some fun with it.

Whenever I feel like I need to liven up my class, I’ll start to share random, bizarre cues and metaphors for feedback. For example, I’ve used the example of being in a toaster and not wanting to touch the sides for fear of getting burned. This one helps participants move on one plane and keep their limbs from flailing. I’ve also compared exercises to chores, like dusting dirty tables.

The really wacky ones usually get a chuckle from participants. If not, I’ll usually razz them a bit to make sure they’re awake, because chances are, if class is getting too familiar, they may have started to zone out.

Above all else, you want to make sure your feedback and communication feels authentic and genuine. If you don’t like cracking jokes, don’t do it. Although some words may feel a little foreign coming out of your mouth, I think it’s okay because that awkwardness will make folks pay attention. Use it to your advantage.

For more communication tips, check out the fitness motivation and cueing page.

And, let’s connect on Twitter @GroupXMich!




Posted on

My Favorite Group Fitness Motivational Cues from SCW Mania

Group Fitness Motivational Cues from Mindy Mylrea

Tired, depleted and inspired. That’s how we all want our group fitness participants to feel when they leave our cardio classes. And, that’s how I feel today as I head home from the SCW Mania convention in Burlingame, Calif. this weekend. I spent the last three days in lectures, workouts, surrounded by non-stop energy and enthusiasm. I learned so much, and I encourage you all to consider attending if it comes to a city near you.

One of my favorite parts of the convention is the part of the workshops when presenters would lead us through a sample workout, because you could see them put in action everything they just taught us. On top of that, you get to also experience their group fitness motivational cues firsthand, and think through how you respond to each cue. Does it make you work harder or give more effort? If so, you can consider weaving in some of those cues into your own arsenal.

Here are some of the most memorable group fitness motivational cues from SCW California Mania.

  • “Not because I’m telling you, but because you CAN.” – Jeffrey Scott, Schwinn Cycling, Session: There’s an App for That
  • “Get to the wall of breathless, and just give it a kiss.” – Alex Mclean, Schwinn Cycling, Session: The “HARD” Conversation
  • “If you’re looking for that one person to change your life, look in the mirror.” – Irene Lewis-McCormick, Keynote presentation
  • “I don’t have a PhD, but I arm myself with information and education.” – Jeffrey Scott, Schwinn Cycling, Session: Teaching Tips from TED®
  • “Flexbility is a byproduct of flexibility of your mind and flexibility of your approach” – Manuel Velasquez, PT/Small Group, Session: No Equipment, No Problem
  • “With change, you get change.” – Jeff Howard, HIIT/Group Training, Session: Don’t Step on It
  • “It is now. Create this moment.” – Mindy Mylrea, Session: Tabata Bootcamp Express Workout
  • “If I told you that you have 30 more seconds, would you be happy?” – Doris Thews, Schwinn Cycling, Session: C3 Content, Connection and Charisma

Can’t wait to go back next year! For more tips, check out my fitness motivation and cueing page.

And, let’s connect on Twitter @GroupXMich!

Posted on

Stop Using Food as a Fitness Instructor Motivational Cue

Don't use food as a group fitness instructor motivational cue

When participants leave a group exercise class, they should be absolutely glowing. As a fitness instructor with a unique personal style, this may not be your goal exactly, but the effect is still the same: participants should leave feeling like your class was a positive and valuable part of their day. Unfortunately, fitness and body image are such sensitive topics that participants may encounter a group fitness instructor motivational cue that ends up damaging their experience. Have you ever been to a class where the instructor said something that rubbed you the wrong way? I know I have.

This puts a lot of pressure on us as instructors to say the right things at the right time. While we can’t be perfect, we can make sure we’re practicing our motivational cues, talking to fellow instructors and continuing our education in order to provide the best experience for our class.

To start, I’d like to point out one particularly harmful fitness instructor motivational cue that I hear on the regular: food as a reward or punishment.

For example, I’ve witnessed an instructor shuffle on up to the stereo and say, “hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend, now time to work off that extra BBQ!” Or, I’ve heard, “if you do one more plank, you can have an extra glass of wine this weekend.”

Here’s the problem: talking like this in your group fitness classes creates a reward and punishment relationship between food and exercise. If you eat too much, you need to punish yourself with exercise. If you work out, you can reward yourself with food. It makes it seem like we must always be suffering for either food or exercise.

I understand this is complicated. Food and exercise are intertwined, and we’re all familiar with the “calories in, calories out” equation. But, unless you’re a registered dietician, I’d argue that food has no place in your group exercise studio. Instead, I challenge you to up-level your motivational cues. Find ways to inspire your participants that don’t leave them feeling chained to their kitchen table and guilty for what they ate yesterday.

Am I saying you should never eat that extra burger at the BBQ? Absolutely not. If you want to have two burgers, have two burgers! What I am saying is we need to stop feeling guilty for what we are eating. Even more so, we as instructors need to stop making our participants feel guilty for what they are or are not eating.

So what fitness instructor motivational cue can you use instead?

  1. Explain how these exercises are benefitting their bodies.

Exercise is so good for us. It helps us think better, move better and live better. Talk through the healthy advantages of working out.

  1. Make a goal for the class, and work towards it.

It can be as simple as how you feel afterward. You want to feel like you gave it your all, and have nothing left to give by the end. Or, you want to feel refreshed and ready to start your day.

  1. Express gratitude.

Studies show that there are positive benefits to thankfulness. Thank you participants for coming, and also encourage them to be thankful for everything their body can do today. Did ya’ll just do 10 push-ups on your toes, something you couldn’t do five weeks ago? That’s something to take pride in, and be thankful for.

  1. Do the same ‘ol thing you always do, without the food talk.

Some of these motivational cues may not be a fit for your teaching style. All good with me. Just stick with the style participants have come to love, and hold back on the food comments.

I know finding the perfect group fitness instructor motivational cue is incredibly challenging, and it’s okay if we mess up now and again. There are plenty of times where I’ve said something and immediately regretted it, sometimes even before I finished saying it! Oops. But, that’s where self-compassion comes in and we remind ourselves that we’re doing our very best.

For more tips and tricks, you might also like my Top 5 tips for cueing group fitness classes. You can also check out all of my fitness motivation and cueing advice here.

Posted on

My Top 5 Tips for Cueing Group Fitness Exercises Effectively

Group X Instructor cueing group fitness exercises

One of the hardest parts of being a fitness instructor is cueing group fitness exercises effectively. Self-doubt always used to creep into my head as I explained technique. Am I talking too much or not enough? Are folks understanding what I’m saying? Are they even listening? It’s a delicate balance to find, and unfortunately, you won’t always get a lot of feedback from participants mid-activity. At first, it’s normal if cueing group fitness exercises sometimes feels like a shot in the dark whether it resonates with participants. But, I promise fitness instructor cues will come more naturally over time, and it’s definitely something you can learn to master.

Here are my tips to help you sound like a pro when cueing group fitness classes.

  1. Practice cueing group fitness exercises. ALL. THE. TIME.

The first time you ever use a cue, it usually comes out awkward and long-winded. Practice saying your cues often, so you can say them quickly and efficiently. You can practice this while you’re doing other stuff — taking a shower or driving in the car. Think about an exercise you want to do in your next class, and go through the cues you’ll use.

I strongly encourage you to practice saying your cues out loud. It makes such a difference to say it instead of think it. If you can, also practice your cues to the music you’re going to use. That way, you’ll get used to how much time you have to get through all the instruction you want.

It may feel silly, but it’ll save you from feeling uncomfortable in front of a class full of participants. Trust me, my boyfriend would walk in on me sitting on the couch with my headphones on saying, “Alright, ladies! Time for another hill!” He teased me about it for weeks, but my class went off without a hitch.

  1. Start from head to toe (or vice versa).

If you’re ever in doubt about what cues to share, think of the body like a checklist. Tick through the cue for each body part starting at the top and working your way down (or vice versa). For example, where should you be looking, at your feet or straight ahead? Is the neck in line with the spine? You can think of a cue to share for just about every body part. Even if some feel obvious, it’s nice to use as a reminder or clarification for the class.

  1. Scan the room, but don’t stare as you cue.

If you’ve ever taken a Group X class, you know that every cue the fitness instructor shares feels like it’s directed specifically at you. It’s mission critical that the instructor is scanning the room and sharing cues based on what participants are doing. Those cues are going to prevent injury and make sure everyone is getting a good workout. But, you don’t want to make anyone feel bad by staring at someone or pointing anyone out for doing the exercise wrong.

  1. Share both positive and negative feedback.

Sometimes we’re so busy sharing cues to correct form that we forget to acknowledge all of the good stuff our participants are doing. Have their push-ups gotten so much better in the past few weeks? Is their plank form on point? Tell them! It feels amazing to hear your Group X instructor tell you that you’re doing something well.

  1. Don’t be afraid of silence.

You don’t need to talk all the time, nor do you need to feel guilty about talking a lot. You’ll find your sweet spot between periods of silence and cueing. Especially in the warm-up and class intros, you can (and should!) talk a lot. The rest is up to you.

As you build your confidence in cueing group fitness exercises, you’ll be able to start having fun with it. Participants will come to your class each week because they like your personality. Start to personalize the cues you use and your style to really make your Group X classes your own.

For more cueing tips, check out the fitness motivation and cueing page.

Posted on

3 New Year’s Motivational Cues for Group Fitness

Motivational Cues for Group Fitness

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.


Posted on

3 Fitness Quotes to Motivate Your Group X Class (Part II)

Fitness quotes by Michael Boyle, “Most people give up right before the big break comes—don’t let that person be you.”

Motivation is one of the most fascinating parts of the fitness industry. Muscle movement and exercise physiology has became almost an exact science. Burn more calories than you consume. Increase your weight or your reps, etc. But, there’s so much about psychology that’s still unknown. A lot of it is trial and error — or finding what works for you. So, you may say ten different fitness quotes in your class, but only one will resonate with each participant. Even more interesting is that each participant may latch on to a different fitness motivation.

As fitness instructors, it’s important to mix up the motivational techniques in class to make sure that each person hears or feels the motivation they need to push themselves. I shared three fitness quotes in Monday’s post, and here are three more different quotes to introduce in your fitness classes.

  1. “If you ain’t pissed off for greatness, that just means you’re okay with being mediocre,” said Ray Lewis.

Fitness quotes by Ray Lewis, “If you ain’t pissed off for greatness, that just means you’re okay with being mediocre.”

I personally find it very motivating to acknowledge the status quo and question whether that’s good enough for me. It helps me recognize that I’m comfortable in my current situation and can push myself further than this.

  1. “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway,” said Earl Nightingale.

Fitness quotes by Earl Nightingale, "Never give up on a dream..."

This is a great one, because it helps participants think big. No goal is too big, because we have so much time (long-term) to devote to it. This may not be a great one for busy participants, like working moms or the 6 a.m. participants that squeeze in a 45-minute workout on the way to their day job. If folks don’t have much time, this quote might have them questioning why they’re spending their precious time at the gym.

  1. “Most people give up right before the big break comes — don’t let that person be you,” said Michael Boyle.

Fitness quotes by Michael Boyle, “Most people give up right before the big break comes—don’t let that person be you.”

This one is such a no-brainer for a fitness class. This fits perfectly at the end of an interval or set, when participants are going to want to start falling off.

With these fitness quotes, you’ll have a new arsenal of motivational topics to share with your Group X classes.

For more ideas, check out the fitness motivation and cueing page.

Posted on

3 Fitness Quotes to Motivate Your Group X Class (Part I)

Fitness quotes by Einstein, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

When I ask someone why they go to Group X classes, folks will more often than not tell me fitness classes motivate them to work harder than they would on their own. I’m quick to agree, having wasted hours at the gym by myself. As fitness instructors, it’s important to keep that in mind when planning your classes. It’s not just about the exercises, but also about what you will say to convince participants to work harder. Great instructors will use a mix of motivational techniques, including personal anecdotes, visualization and fitness quotes.

Sometimes tried and true motivational strategies will start to feel stale or overused. If that’s the case, you’ll want to pack away the phrases used too often and replace them with something new.

Here’s a look at three fitness quotes you can introduce to your Group X classes to power them through the next challenge.

  1. “I will sacrifice whatever’s necessary to be the best,” said J.J. Watts.

Fitness quotes by J.J. Watts, “I will sacrifice whatever is necessary to be the best.”

This is one of my favorite quotes, because I like to change my mindset from what do I have to do to achieve the next level to what do I have to sacrifice. Play into this question of how much participants are willing to sacrifice to make a difference in their bodies by equating that uncomfortable feeling of working out with sacrifice.

  1. “The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone who is not a champion,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Fitness quotes by Arnold, “The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion.”

This is a great one to try when you’re teaching a particularly long set of exercises. Especially when you finish a set with an isometric hold or small pulse that leaves little room for distraction. It’s also easy to slot in, because you have to say it right before the end of a set when participants start to drop their weights.

  1. “Insanity: doing something over and over again and expecting different results,” said Albert Einstein.

Fitness quotes by Einstein, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

This is one of those fitness quotes that’s a bit tricky for me, because I don’t want participants to think they’re doing something wrong by coming to class each week. So, make sure to focus this one on the fact that members have to continue to challenge themselves with their exercises. Doing the drills that challenged them a year ago won’t help them continue to make progress.

These fitness quotes will help to bring fresh motivation to get Group X participants to take their effort level up a notch.

For more ideas, check out the fitness motivation and cueing page.

Posted on

How to Provide Group Exercise Cues That Stick with Members

Fitness instructor sharing group exercise cues that stick

As a fitness instructor, are you ever worried that you sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown when you share group exercise cues with your class? While you’re up in front of the members teaching each exercise, do they only hear “wah wah”? It can be tricky to teach the workout using correct information without feeling like you’re spouting off jargon. One way that I’ve been able to keep members engaged is to connect my cues with everyday activities they can relate to in a creative or quirky way.

Here are three of examples of fun, out-of-the-box group exercise cues that are relatable to most members.

“The toaster oven”

Sometimes I’ll use the imagery of an oven to help explain form to participants. For example, we’ll do an abdominal and shoulder exercise where we lay on our backs holding a dumbbell in each hand, with all of our limbs are pulled in tight like a bug on its back. Then, we’ll press our arms and legs away from each other, arms coming up overhead and legs extending out low to the floor. To explain that I want this to be a pressing motion instead of a lower and lift, I’ll say the following,

“Bring your arms and legs in tight like a ball and then push your arms and legs away from each, extending into a shallow V. Pretend you’re in a toaster oven on your back and you don’t want to burn your arms or legs, so keep them low.”

“Dusting tables”

After doing some challenging back work with weights, I’ll sometimes have the class do another set of back without weights just to add a little more oomph to the workout. I’ll ask participants to bend at the hips, so they’re in position to do bent over rows, but I’ll ask them to extend their arms to the sides in the shape of a capital “T”, using just their bodyweight to challenge them. Then, we’ll go through a series of small movements, for example,

“Move your hands so that they’re parallel and facing the floor. From here, I want you to move your hands a few inches forward and a few inches back, like as if you were trying to dust two tables at once. I’m sure if you could be anywhere else right now, it would be cleaning your house.”

“Competing with your best friend”

We all have that one friend, sibling or coworker that bring out our competitive nature. Right before a cardio interval, I’ll tell the class something like this,

“Picture your best friend right beside you, egging you on. You’re going to race them through this interval. Don’t let them beat you!”

These group exercise cues will usually get a few smiles or chuckles in class. Of course, you’ll want to use cues that feel natural to you and your teaching style. But, you’ll want to make sure your cues are engaging and entertaining for participants.

For more tips, check out the fitness motivation and cueing page.