Recently I got my first pay cheque from my fitness instructor job. It was for $20 less tax, EI, and Canadian pension.
It was a happy moment for me. This is the first job that I actually had a passion for BEFORE I started doing it. That’s a wonderful thing. It’s also the first job that I have had that I thought that I couldn’t do. Instructing is a skill that I have never had before so it’s completely new to me. I have been a personal trainer, war canoe coach and manager before, but these things are unique and different from instructing.
The hardest part with instructing, at least for me, is modeling proper form on the bike. When I race, I tend to get into whatever position I need to to get the bike moving quickly. Sometimes the back is rounded, sometimes my knees are pointing in, sometimes my head is down looking only a few inches in front of my wheel. This form doesn’t cut it with instructing because when you are leading a class, you can count on some of the participants copying and exaggerating you positioning and habits. My bad habits become the things that injure participants and that isn’t good for anyone.
I also passed my video which means I’m almost a certified RPM instructor. There is some paper work to complete and then it is done. I’m really happy about this because the feedback I got from the reviewer was mostly positive. As far as positioning goes, the only bad tendency I had on the video was a little upper body bouncing on the seated climb; the video was taped at the end of April and I have been working on this flaw since I noticed it. She also mentioned that I need to connect with the participants more and modulate my voice during some of the tracks; both things I am aware of and have been trying to address.
The positive feedback addressed my physical strength on the bike, my high level of fitness and my knowledge of the choreography. I was very pleased with the choreography comment because this was the first time I had ever learned anything like this so I’m still able to learn new skills.
My class this Tuesday night was my best yet. The participants are getting used to my coaching style and they seem to follow the cues I give them. I heard a lot of gasping at the end of track 5 and 7, which is what the choreography calls for and there were a few smiles during tracks 4 and 6. It is a fantastic feeling when it all comes together.
I still need to work on connecting with the class a little more, but the fact that they are following my coaching and positional cuing means I’m getting some of it right. Is it the world class experience that they are hoping to get out of it? Yes for some, not yet for others. But given that it has been 4 months since I took the training, I’m really happy with the progress.
Oh, and the $20 less deductions went to gas for my car.