First of all, I hope you and your loved ones are healthy right now. I am in Kirkland, Washington so we are right in the epicenter of the outbreak in the US and it’s been an experience to say the least! No one I know is sick as of my writing this and we’re being really careful but I have still been teaching a bit. Here are my tips for teaching fitness classes during this outbreak and, of course, all of this goes out the window if the gym or studio you teach at has to close. Fingers crossed it doesn’t get that bad! (I clearly wrote this pre-Sunday night’s news of all recreation in Washington State shutting down but I hope you can still teach if you’re elsewhere! Also, these tips can apply if we’re allowed to start teaching again before the virus is gone and, honestly, some of them can apply in our regular cold and flu season!)
- Check on your gym/studio’s extra cleaning measures. Most businesses are ahead of the game here and sending out information to all employees and anyone on their email lists. If they don’t, then ask for this info.
- Check on class size limitations. It’s very possible that classes will naturally just be smaller but, for any classes that continue to be popular, request that class size limitations go in place during the outbreak. It’s fewer people breathing the same air and allows for more space between each person.
- Encourage students to space out. Empty bikes between students in cycling, spacing out mats in yoga, etc.
- Stop use of any hard-to-clean props. This might apply mostly to yoga but avoid blankets, bolsters and any non-hard surface props that can’t be easily cleaned.
- Limit use of any props. Even easier-to-clean props should be avoided when possible. The less contact between people, the better.
- Suggest students clean props before and after use. In most classes, we expect students to clean their mat after use so we can bump that up to include all props and cleaning both before and after. Same goes for the instructor and include your phone as a class prop if you use it for music! Your phone will bring all of
- Use verbal check-ins. If you have students sign into class with a pen, have students check themselves in on a computer or if you are still using a paper punch card of sorts (yes, these still exist, haha), try verbal-only check-in’s for now.
- Prop doors open. As a former group fitness supervisor, propping doors was actually a pet peeve of mine but, right now, if it works for the studio setting, more airflow can be beneficial.
- Hands off. It probably goes without saying but we can all skip hands-on adjustments until this thing clears up.
- Stay safe and sane! Last but not least, if you feel uncomfortable in a teaching environment or if you or anyone you’ve been in contact with has had any of the COVID-19 symptoms, speak up and, if needed, sub out your class! Better safe than sorry!
I also want to add that we can all learn during an experience like this. If I were still completely dependent on my fitness teaching income right now, I would be in a panic. Next week, I will be writing about the importance of diversifying your income streams as a fitness professional and, of course, I’ll be talking about fitness writing. The virus hasn’t impacted writing much at all and, if anything, has actually helped me think of a few new article ideas. Here are some resources to learn more about freelance writing, below, and I’m wishing you health and peace!
Stay safe and happy teaching (and hopefully writing someday too!)!