When you've been taking workout classes for years it can seem like it would be pretty easy to be an instructor...heck, you practically have the entire class memorized yourself. Then you stand in front of a class for the first time! When I taught my first class years ago I had no idea how much extra effort was involved simply in having to give instructions out loud the entire time. When I started planning classes I couldn't believe how hard it was to come up with an hour's worth of material and then to do it again and again in new and different ways.
Sometimes you spend hours drawing up a plan that looks great on paper only to have it completely not work the way you thought when you're there in class. Other times you pull something out of your mental arse at the last minute, fully expecting it to bomb, and everyone loves it. One thing I learned early on is that you can't please everyone! I've had plans that one class loved and repeatedly ask for and then used that same plan with a different group and received very negative feedback (one woman actually yelled at me). It's so hard to know sometimes what will go well and what won't. Some students want the security of knowing exactly what they're going to be doing while others don't want to see the same thing twice.
I'm not a yoga instructor but I taught a yoga (-ish) class.
Recently I went to one of my weekly yoga classes and the instructor didn't show up. Being an instructor (not normally of yoga) I told the other class participants that I could lead them in *something* yoga-ish if they wanted but warned them that I normally teach boot camp, not yoga (and th end result was probably a boot-camp-ish yoga class). It was definitely the most stressful yoga class ("stressful yoga class" is not a phrase you want to use) I've ever done. I've taken yoga for years but as soon as I pulled my mat to the front of the room I suddenly couldn't remember more than a couple poses. And interestingly, I'm very used to saying "right" but using my left when facing the class (if I say "right" and use my right they will mirror me and use their left) when teaching other formats but I could not do it in yoga. Probably partly because I was so nervous but even when I realized what I was doing I couldn't get it right (or left!). I'll say with certainty that it wasn't the greatest class ever but the participants seemed grateful to have had something and I learned that pulling a yoga routine out of my arse (much like trying not to fart in class...seriously, read this article, it is HILARIOUS!) is Really. Freakin. Hard. I'm sure, though, that they were almost as relieved as I was the next week when the instructor was there!
This week I was having trouble coming up with something new to do in my water aerobics class. I'm still not quite sure how I even ended up being a water aerobics instructor. Back when I applied to teach here locally but before I was assigned a class I got a text message asking if I could fill in for an aqua class (a class that started in 1.5 hours not really leaving me a lot of time to prepare). I replied that I've never even taken an aqua class, let alone taught one. I was told it was just like teaching on land (for the record, it's not). Sure, I said. I'll come up with *something.* And I did. And I was terrified. And it went surprisingly well (I've actually used that plan many times since). I was asked to teach again the next week. And then I got my assignment and didn't teach water again for months (which was actually just fine with me). When the classes at the gym on post were all canceled (the contractor who offered the classes pulled out of their contract and we were all out of a job) I signed on with a national chain. The first availability they had was a water aerobics class. So I took it. And it turns out I like it.
But this week I was struggling. I came up with an idea that I feared would bore them to tears but gave it a shot anyway. I'm pretty honest with my students and told them that they should tell me if it was really boring and I'd figure something else out. They liked it so much they asked me to do it again when I sub on Saturday. I was surprised. I'm still surprised.
So, what makes a good workout? Damned if I know! There's no magic formula, that's for sure!
Do you workout? How do you define a "good" workout? What are your favorite class formats?