Fitness Circus Tricks

Posted by: | Posted on: July 11, 2013

NOTE: This content was taken from my fitness pro travel blog, which is geared toward the fitness professional. Regardless, I believe the content has merit to both the professional and the enthusiast 🙂

amy ball pikeEver been to a fitness workshop or wandered a conference expo and been amazed by some of the toys and movements that have become so popular in our industry? How about this, have you ever been humbled by said toys or movements? Meaning, you try, you look like an absolute idiot because you don’t know what your doing? I have! Better yet, I’ve gone in thinking I was strong and centered but come out feeling foolish and ridiculous because I can’t figure out how to engage this or that, while I swing from the apparatus or stand on the toy.

Of course, if you are a like-minded fitness pro you will keep practicing the activity because you bought the damn thing that made a fool out of you, and will have it down within a week to 10 days. It’s that learning curve that gets us at first, but once we understand the technical side of things we can usually master the skill. Well, most of the time anyways.

Yes, I’ve been humbled, embarrassed, shocked and amazed by some of the things my body does and does not do when it is called upon. Let’s just think for a moment how our clients and class participants feel when we introduce things to them for the first time. Put yourself in the shoes of a beginning exerciser who comes to a unstable core training class for the first time- poor dears! They are still wondering how to stand or sit on the object and now you want them to engage their core and perform a one-legged push-up. Are we crazy?

stupid-workoutI think at times we can be a little crazy. We are creative and we love a challenge because that’s what we encourage others to do, but we often forget that not everybody is up for the circus trick that we are trying to teach or train. I see this a lot more in group exercise classes than I do in personal training sessions, unless it is a boot camp session taught by a trainer. It often frustrates me because these participants feel defeated and lost in the activity. “I can’t keep up with that!” “How do you expect me to do that?” are comments I hear.

They want to perform and they should be able to do something, but the fit pro is lost in excitement of their super, cool one-legged balance drill. Personally, sometimes it seems like they are showing off (showcasing) their skills rather than teaching their group properly, which is one of the reasons participants may feel lost in translation. Professionally speaking this is not acceptable behavior for a certified fitness pro!

As a fellow fitness presenter I understand the need to show progressions and cool tricks on toys. Reason being is we want to show the versatility and level of difficulty of exercise progression. I don’t expect everyone to walk out of my sessions with the idea they are going to teach every challenging thing the next day, rather I want them to see where it can go and hopefully open up their minds to the vast challenge and creative pulse that feeds their individual style.

We need to remember first and foremost we are professionals. We educate, train, motivate and model exercises that fit into our group or individual training sessions. We are not performers who encourage a “keep up with me” attitude or try to showcase our ability to do the most amazing human tricks on earth. Save that for your advanced clients, classes or for your You Tube videos.

Be enthusiastic, compassionate and show modifications and/or break-down complex movements into smaller bits people can handle. Who knows, maybe with good teaching and training tactics they will be performing those humbling circus tricks with gusto. Then you can stand proud and bang on your chest in response to their super human strength and ability.

In health and fitness,

NOTE: The bottom line is, know your limits, focus on what you can do and do it well. Be consistent with your intentions and you will see progress and results within your activities. Oh, don’t forget to have a certified/educated professional help you out as needed 🙂



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