As fitness instructors, we work harder than anyone else in the room. Cueing, motivating, providing safety tips, demonstrating modifications, remembering choreography ... Whew, I'm sweating already!
Exercise is a mainstay in our lives. We are already hooked. We're the cheerleaders of the power and value of regular exercise. But because we are so committed to our mission, it is easy to fall into the trap of telling ourselves a few fibs.
Lie #1: I can eat whatever I want.
We reach for that nightly bowl of ice cream, or extra piece of crusty Italian bread, or a third handful of "healthy" nuts, because we've already worked out today and we've earned it, right?
I am an advocate of balance (AND treats!) but "treating yourself" should not be a function of every meal. In fact, after many years of promoting the benefits of daily exercise, I've learned that abs are actually made in the kitchen, not the gym.
Lie #2: The classes I teach are all I need.
Whether you love sweating it out in Bikram yoga, want to spin to your heart's content, or adore getting your groove on in Jazzercise, many fitness instructors tend to specialize in one area, and consequently spend the majority of their time in their sweet spot. However, variety may be what your body is really craving.
I recently took six weeks off from teaching a class that I love and taught for over 20 years. I decided to mix it up and get my workout in as many different ways as possible during that hiatus. I noticed more changes in my body in those six weeks than I had in 26 years.
Lie #3: More is better.
Several years ago, my schedule changed to teaching 12 classes a week. Secretly I was excited. I'd finally achieve those elusive six pack abs and sculpted triceps I'd been coveting and admiring on other instructors. Instead, I ended up exhausted, full of aches and pains and in worse shape than when I taught my lightest schedule of four classes per week.
Lie #4: I won't burn out, because I LOVE it!
Many of us find ourselves drawn to become teachers and leaders in the fitness field because we are truly passionate about our clients and our classes. We love what we do. It provides us with not only that exercise endorphin high, but also a special adrenaline that comes from making an immediate positive difference in the lives of others.
How can we possibly burn out from something that provides such joy? Heck, we love our husband and kids too, but sometimes we still need a break.
As mom always said, honesty is the best policy, so consider these fibs and keep these simple truths in mind:
- What we put into our mouths matters as much as how hard we work the muscles.
- Rest and recovery is key, more is NOT necessarily better.
- Mix it up as much as possible.
- And finally, take a break when you need it. Your body AND your clients will thank you.
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