You want to get in better shape? Return your post-menopause weight to pre-menopause levels? Have you heard the oh-so-true true rumors that strength training is very important especially for women over 50? Maybe you’re ready to get going with a new resistance routine. But dang if that weight training equipment out on the gym floor looks intimidating and perhaps a little confusing.
What to do? What to do? Why, get into strength training classes led by a qualified group fitness instructor.
But first let’s cover what NOT to do: imitate the moves you see other people doing out on the gym floor. We have seen some seriously crazy stuff and wacky technique performed by exercisers on their own. Even if the moves you see around you are done safely and make sense for THAT exerciser, they may not be right for YOU.Strength exercises you see others do may not be right for YOU. How can you choose the right strength moves? Click To Tweet
Let’s also take a moment to wave good-bye to the exercises you may be digging up from school PE class memory. Odds are good those exercises need to be left back there. (No Mr. Hammond, duck walks across the playground do not strengthen the lower body. I don’t care how many 5th graders you quack and bark at).
Why go it alone when trying to figure out which exercises are best for you to increase your strength? IF you want to embark on a weight training program that will:
THEN go with the pros. In strength training classes. Where you reap the benefits of moves led by a professional.
Think of group strength training classes as a place to draft off the instructor’s knowledge and skills. You can then take that information and experience and apply it to your solo workouts outside the class environment.
If you have a qualified instructor, you can trust the exercises s/he is demonstrating. You get moves that offer a stamp of approval. Listen for comments from the instructor that tell you the how, why, what, and how much for each exercise. Take mental notes so you have a toolbox to pull from when on your own.
Even the best strength move offers little benefit if it’s not executed well. A class setting with a good teacher offers something no solo workout can — external feedback and correction. Learn what to do in step one; Improve on how with this step.New to strength training? Get into a class led by a qualified fitness teacher before going solo. Click To Tweet
Why did or didn’t you feel an exercise as expected? How can you adapt a move to your particular condition? What’s another option with the same goal? Most group fitness teachers are happy to give a few minutes of their time and expertise after class.
Especially for beginning weight trainers (like yourself, perhaps?), a class can be a welcoming place with like-minded people. If you’re like many of our past participants, you want to hide when first starting a new program. It’s easier to blend in within a class than to face the intimidation of the machines and rows of free weights outside the classroom doors.
Maybe you’ll enjoy your class and new strength so much you’ll decide to train forever and ever in a group setting. But if not, you now have a community to venture onto the gym floor “armed” and ready!
When you come to Santa Barbara, my sister and I invite you to come to our classes! We promise to load you up with weights and good ideas! If you aren’t sure whether group fitness classes are for you, read this and be prepped for happiness and success: All Sizes Welcome: Fitness Pros Want You! /Now get out there and resist, resist, resist!
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Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
In deference to your career (or hobby) musings. we thought we’d share some of the reasons you should consider becoming an instructor (definition: person who puts on music and a microphone and leads a group of people in movement).
1. You get paid to work out – Yup, every time you teach, you get money. Sa-weeet deal. This would probably not be a good time to mention that some places do not actually pay as they firmly believe you should teach for the love of it. Don’t fall for that trap – if you want to do something unpaid “just for the love of it,” become a parent. We do encourage a certain level of volunteering, but not in this way.
2. You get to meet lots and lots and lots of new people – And 99% of them are really kind and fun. Great news for extroverts, kinda scary for introverts. But even introverts can find a way to let their inner diva out. We’ve seen some kick-ass introverted indoor cycle instructors. If you do a good job, these people you meet will bring their friends to your class and you will become massively popular.
3. You can share your love of music and movement – All those dance and gymnastics lessons can be put to use, as you choreograph the freshest, finest dance-delicious classes ever known to the world of exercise. But don’t sing along on the microphone unless you have a tolerable voice. High kicks cannot save you if you make dogs cry.
4. You get personal satisfaction out of helping people improve their lives – This one is a big deal and supersedes all the other reasons. If you feel good when your students feel good, that’s good! Just ask James Brown ; he was a famous fitness instructor!
5. You will become a very consistent exerciser – You know, assuming you show up for your own classes on a regular basis. Subbing out a lot is lame. Getting paid is cool, but having a healthy, fit body is even cooler. And you’ll look hot. Cool and hot together.
6. You become a role model – Bonus points if you have children.
7. You get lots of positive attention – Yup, it’s all about YOU as long as you make it all about THEM! In other words, learn their names, know their goals, help them modify for their needs, be compassionate, be sincere, earn their respect and trust, give good advice that’s within your scope of practice, and interact. You can also stare in the mirror a lot if you like that kind of positive attention, as long as that mirror is at home in your bathroom.
8. Your social life will improve – Whether you’re single or partnered up, just take our word on this one. Can you say “flexible?”
9. You know the teacher is good – If you like people, enjoy leading, performing and educating, have essential knowledge of how the body works, hear the musical beat (for most formats), and have the ability to design an effective class, you are probably in good hands with yourself in charge!
10. It’s fun
What do you think? Are you ready to become an instructor? One place to start is with here: The American Council on Exercise, aka ACE.
Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Alexandra: Did you know that 73% of all patients who chew gum prefer…oh wait, wrong statistic. (Reads note on hand)…Seventy-three percent of US consumers believe that it’s important to be physically fit as part of being “well.” With obesity rates expected to climb to 42% by 2050, that is a LOT of people who will be looking in the mirror for wellness services.
Kymberly: If you are asking yourself, “why should I care about the IHRSA club trends?” give yourself 10 guest passes, then allow us to ask you the following: Do you have a goal to improve your health? to reduce fat? to receive more services and professional expertise from your club? Then ride this trend train to your workout station, as you will be the one to benefit from increased partnerships between clubs and local health care providers, nutrition coaching, personal training for special medical populations, and workplace wellness facilities (excerpted from the IHRSA Press Release “List of Trends for Fitness Clubs”).
A: I know I love teaching group exercise, precisely because of all the people! It’s almost as much fun as disco-dancing. Although…it’s entirely possible that someone will add disco dancing to a group exercise program sometime soon. Sign me up! Socially based exercise is on the rise, including dance and nightclub-inspired workouts. Hmm, might be time to rename the studio Club 54!
K: Why not name it “Studio Get More” cuz’ that’s what’s in store: more classes, more variety in class types, more people taking part in group workouts, from the club to beach; from gym basement to corporate offices. Y’all must have been busy, because survey results show increases in all sorts of group exercise get togethers. Boot camp, kickboxing, step, yoga, Latin dance-based, nightclub-inspired classes (yeah, I think that is a euphemism for “pole dancing and strip tease exercise), are all on the rise. Oops, double entendre there.
A: Wowzer. Since 1999, the number of Americans working with a personal trainer has gone from 4 million to 6.5 million. Hmm, I wonder if it counts if I train myself? That is about as personal as it gets. And now I’m curious about those 2.5 million – what were they doing between 1999 and now? Attending Prince concerts? Elementary school?
K: More than 90% of clubs offer some type of personal training. That’s larger than Donald Trump’s ego. If you still find one-on-one training too rich for your
fat blood, then no worries. You can still be super trendy and save money by taking advantage of small-group and semi-private training sessions. Trainers are tuned into their clients and future clients (you?) and finding ways to meet your training and budget needs.
So many trends, so much good health. Whether it’s in a group exercise class, one-on-a few with a trainer, or in a corporate wellness setting, we are still holding out for our turn on DWTS: The Disco Years! Say, is it possible to start a trend? Dancing, dancing, dancing. She’s a dancing machine!
Photo credits: Creative Commons