Teaching fitness classes is not a job for the weak or lazy. You have many spinning plates during class and you not only have to speak to a room full of people (one of American’s top fears) but you have to tell them what to do. So, even if you’re confident and outgoing, there’s a good chance you still get butterflies before a class or event now and then. I’m, of course, assuming here that you have the proper training to teach and that your students or class will be safe in your hands (i.e. you give safe instruction, know your cpr, etc.).
If you get nervous before an event that’s brand new to you or a class with an unusually high number of students, that is completely normal. Give yourself a pep talk, remind yourself that you wanted this and teach to your best ability! (If you’re a new instructor, this previous post might help you learn how to increase your confidence.)
If you get a few tiny butterflies before every class and it’s simply because you care, no big deal. I’ve heard so many instructors and even fitness conference presenters say they get a little nervous before each class. It’s honestly probably a mix of excitement and nerves and there can be a fine line between the two.
Now, if these feelings start to shift into anxious thoughts or you actually feel like you are an impostor, here are some things you can do in the moment:
- You are an expert simply because you’ve decided you are and you have the experience to back it up.
- Some say that if you have something useful to share and you don’t, you’re actually being selfish so feel good about sharing your knowledge with others.
- Go back to your ‘why.’ Why did you start in the fitness industry to begin with? I’m guessing it was something to the effect of ‘I want to help others get fit and improve their lives while having fun!’
- If you’re wondering ‘Why me?’ simply change that to ‘Why not me?’ and think of all of the reasons you are qualified to be where you are right now.
To try and prevent future encounters with impostor syndrome, use visualization. Visualize yourself teaching that big class or giving a lecture at a fitness conference or being a group fitness manager or reading your article in your favorite magazine. Get very specific about all of your senses in this moment. It may sound silly but both professional athletes and extremely successful business men and women use this technique all the time. It prepares you for what you want, allows you to flush out any negative feelings or nerves, and almost works like practice for the big day, event, class or accomplishment!