The term “introvert” has many meanings. Depending on who you talk to, you’ll hear a variety of definitions for the term. To me, there’s no negative connotation attached to being an introvert. I am a self-proclaimed introvert. I like to have alone time to recharge and can come across as shy due to my quietness in certain occasions.
So, you may wonder… “how do you lead a large group of people in a class and talk to so many individuals on a daily basis if you feel uncomfortable talking to new people?” It takes effort…I will tell you that.
Being able to help people take care of their health through fitness is a very rewarding job. This fact makes going outside of my comfort zone worth it.
Teaching group fitness has also helped me open up to new people. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to keep to yourself but, I used to get uncomfortable in large group settings – slight social anxiety if you will. Putting myself in situations where I am consistently in front of large amounts of people made me feel more comfortable talking to people I don’t know.
This has not by any means turned me into an extrovert; however, it has increased my ability to be outgoing, and built my interpersonal communication skills. Not all fitness professionals and group exercise instructors are required to have an overly bubbly personality but, being personable will help your classes and business grow.
Here are a few ways group fitness helped me overcome some of my awkward introvert qualities I felt needed to be improved upon. Hopefully you can relate and make them work for you.
1. Eye Contact
In order to connect with my students to ensure their safety and success, I catch their gaze (just for a brief moment) to make sure they know I am paying attention and that I am there for them. It creates a more open relationship with my participants.
This translates into feeling more at ease with looking people in the eyes in all conversations.
2. Presentation Skills
As an instructor, it is our jobs to present the material to our students in a way that they can follow and engage in safely. This means demonstrating the moves and also providing verbal cues so they can catch on. I know this sounds easy but, it’s more challenging than you think.
For example, cueing someone to do a proper squat in Body Pump includes a lot of cues. Some students may not understand the first way you phrase one of the instructions but, rather you have to say it in a different way so they can follow and perform the squat correctly.
This carries over into having more tools to present material to any population albeit in work or personal setting.
Putting yourself in front of a group of people who are there to learn from you is a daunting task. Especially for someone like myself, who overthinks and can care about what people think a tad too much. You would think that it would get exhausting to have a mindset like that when you are an instructor but, it turns out it had the opposite effect on me. Teaching on a regular basis taught me how to get over what I thought other people were thinking and to have more confidence in myself. I also kept improving and saw myself becoming a better instructor, which made me feel proud to know what I was doing was helping myself and my students.
This allows you to have confidence in pretty much anything else. If you can put yourself out there to the masses and still rock it, then you should feel good about yourself in other spheres.
If you’re more of an extroverted person reading this, I still challenge you to find ways that teaching group fitness helps you.
So, don’t worry about teaching your classes even if you start out as a shy introvert like me. Get past the intimidation of the task and you’ll come out of your shell and grow and become an awesome instructor.