By Nikki McCardle, Drummond Education Exercise to Music tutor

Don’t rush, take some time to consider what sort of class you might teach.

There are many different styles of class from freestyle, pre-choreographed, HIIT, conditioning and circuits. If you use music in your class and work to the structure of that music, it is exercise to music.

If you are concerned you may never have the confidence to deliver a freestyle class but want to, don’t be too quick to invest further funds into pre choreographed training (unless of course your desire is to teach pre-choreographed programmes) to try to solve the problem. Try a simple class structure that allows you to build your confidence without over worrying about choreography. Interested? Read more!

So many instructors when they first qualify panic at the thought of freestyle teaching; actually, I think it’s easier to teach freestyle than pre choreographed as the only person that knows you’ve made a mistake with choreography is you! In freestyle classes you are only limited by your imagination. You can sit at home and decide what to put in your class and then practice and plan your teaching at home. A simple class plan is the key to a good class.

Take time to find your feet and gain confidence in your abilities to deliver the style of class that suits you!

Circuits and conditioning classes are a good way to start.

Create a session plan for both ready to seize any cover opportunities out there. Do as much cover as possible to gain experience and get your name out there.

If you’re struggling to think of exercises, go to other people’s classes; look out for local workshops and Google for ideas.

Here is an example of a simple circuit class:

5min warm up: walking around the room and simple moves to raise the pulse and mobilise.

Round 1

12x 1 min work stations with 15 secs rest, Alternating muscle conditioning (MC) exercises (working all major muscles groups) and cardio (CC) whole body exercises.

  • Weighted squats (MC)
  • Shuttle run (CC)
  • Weighted lunges
  • Skipping (CC)
  • Bicep curls
  • Burpees (CC)
  • Tricep dips
  • Jumping jacks (CC)
  • Press ups
  • Speed skater (CC)
  • Deadlift
  • Bunny hop (CC)

After the 1st round bring everyone into the middle of the room for 1 minute each or 45 secs each of plyometric lunges, high knees and mountain climbers. Or just time this as one track if you prefer. You can play with this section and add any exercises you would like.

Round 2 of circuits 30 seconds each station and run around the room once to get to the next station. As the time is shorter, aim this at more power on each exercise and less pacing.

5 mins cool down: walking and stretching, finish with 5 mins core work.

Use motivating music with a good beat 135 (for the warm up) to 145 bpm

Other points to consider to build up your confidence and experience:

  1. Give your contact details (plus a copy of your ETM certificate and insurance) to club studio co-ordinators in your area. Do the leg work, they don’t know you are out there waiting unless you go and tell them.
  2. Ask other instructors how they get cover. Perhaps there are local Facebook cover groups you can join.

Don’t be disillusion if you do cover classes if everyone looks a bit put out when you first enter. It can be tricky covering a class as clients often love their usual instructors. So go in with a positive attitude and be as friendly and approachable as possible. Win them over by arriving in plenty of time to introduce yourself to the participants. Find out their favourite exercises and what they usually do. This will help you to build a rapport and guide you on what level to pitch the class at.

They might forgive a few mistakes, but they won’t forgive you if you don’t work them out!  That’s what they come for. Keep it simple in structure is the key.

Always ask for feedback at the end of the session plus do a self-evaluation. Not every class will go perfectly, so take on board feedback and learn from your mistakes.

Even after 23 years of teaching, I still self-evaluate after every class and whilst I congratulate myself on doing well, I am also always looking for ways to improve!

Finally be yourself, love what you do and inspire others to love it too, good luck!