What Makes A “Good” or “Great” Instructor?

Happy, happy, happy Friday!! I hope you’ve all had a good week and have exciting plans this weekend!

Today, I wanted to discuss something I’ve been thinking about since I got a super sweet compliment from a member after class:

What makes a good instructor

What makes a good instructor? What makes a great instructor? What makes people keep coming back to some classes, but not others?

As I stated in my status, one of the most important things for me is the instructors personality and energy. I know some people may prefer the quieter/more subdued instructors, but me? Nahhh. I’m all about the energy, the jumping around, the “yipping” and “yooing” (anyone who comes to my classes knows I LIVE for that!) and anything that gets people to smile and maybe even laugh.

Here are some others… in no particular order!

… Uses good music. I’m a fan of the mixes I buy from 32mix.com, but even if you prefer to make your own mixes,  think about your classes and participants when making them. What gets people going? What makes people want to move?

… Makes the workouts creative! Someone who always does this is Athena. I haven’t been able to go to her class in years, but I see the workouts she posts and am always inspired to change up my formats after I read them.

… Is encouraging. It’s so important to make people feel like they can do anything! You want to respect their physical abilities and/or limitations, but if you can tell someone is holding back because they don’t think they can do something, it’s important to give them encouraging tips and instructions that will help push themselves out of their comfort zone and to the next level.

… Is passionate about what they do. That type of energy is contagious!

… Is there for the members’ workout, not their own workout. As an instructor, our job during that hour (or two) we are teaching is to TEACH and give the members a great workout. It’s not to kick our own butts, although that is an added bonus. This may mean we don’t get to do all the reps or really “feel that burn”, but that’s ok!

… On the other hand, I hate when an instructor just stands at the front of the room and yells out what he/she wants us to do. They don’t need to do the whole workout, but I like to see them doing about 75% of it. I want to see them sweating and huffing and puffing and struggling… like I hopefully am 😉

… Able to make the exercises adaptable to all levels in the room: lower intensity, average and higher intensity. There will never be a class where everyone is at the same level, so it’s important to show levels so everyone feels like they can do the exercises and be a part of the class.

… Knows peoples’ names and acknowledging them by name. I didn’t even think I told the Pure Barre instructor my name last weekend, yet she somehow knew it and used it out of no where. I loved it! I learned a tip from a veteran instructor: write names down in a notebook (or in my “notes” on my phone) with a description of that person that will help you remember their name. This has helped tremendously!

… Makes you want to be there, makes you want to keep coming back and makes you want to push your boundaries by becoming stronger, becoming faster, having better endurance, etc. I know it’s hard for us fitness junkies to think that someone might -gasp- not enjoy working out, but the truth is, there are more people who don’t like working out than there are people who do like working out. Some people do it out of necessity, so if an instructor makes them feel good and makes the workout less miserable for that person, then I think that’s a wonderful thing.

Your turn! What is a quality an instructor has that you think makes them a good or great instructor? What makes you go back to classes- the instructor, the format (spin, BodyPump, UXF Burn, yoga, etc.), something else?

PS- I want to wish my mom’s friend, Jean, a very happy birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day!


7 thoughts on “What Makes A “Good” or “Great” Instructor?

  1. Fiona MacDonald says:

    I love when instructors are engaging yet always give modifications AND when they are breathing just as hard as I am! That way I know that if the workout is challenging for them, it will be challenging for me! Upbeat Music is ALWAYS key!

  2. Jen Ryder says:

    I agree on all of the above! I like to see an instructor with high energy and tons of enthusiasm. If they are up there “just going through the motions” I feel like I don’t push myself as hard. Adding tidbits like “C’mon only 20 more seconds/This is why you got up early/You can do anything for a minute” really helps me to push myself further and rev up my workout.

    • Burpees to Bubbly says:

      I totally agree, Jen. As an instructor, if I’m modifying for a reason (not feeling well, injured, etc.), I feel like my members don’t push themselves as hard as they do when I’m feeling and performing my best! I like those tidbits, too- definitely helps push you through!

  3. suzanne gagnon says:

    Hi Nick, Great question!!! For someone with my profile(age 61, very short, a little bit “chubby”, but has always done some sort of exercise, and has good rhythm), my rubric might look very different from a young, fit person. What I feel is important is an instructor who is friendly, caring, has lots of energy, has GREAT music, and shows modifications for those of us who can do the exercise, but maybe without the intensity of some of the other members. Naturally, I think you meet all of the standards, but I’m a little bit prejudiced! Mom

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