Teaching is Learning

Well today was my second aerobics class I taught at the Coliseum. Teaching aerobics is no easy task, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it, but it’s by far not as easy as I thought it was going to be.

First off, aerobics music is designed into 32 count phrases. This particular pattern is how instructors are able to choreograph their routines and stay on beat with the music. If you don’t follow this pattern, then you won’t be on beat with the music, and your class will seem unprofessional and…well, sloppy.

As a new instructor I am constantly counting to 8 four times in a row in my head to complete my routine on beat, not that I’m complaining, just trying to explain how this whole 32 count phrase thing works.

But anyway, back to my class. So I taught an interval class tonight, which was alternating routines between muscle and cardio. Basically this is a pretty easy class to teach because you do not have to combine routines together after breaking them down. Instead, I just did a quick 1-3 minute muscle workout and then got right into a cardio routine. Easy right? I wish.

The average age in this particular class ranges from women in their 30’s to their 60’s. This is where the difficulty comes in. Some of the women in the class are more advanced than others, and I don’t want to bore those women, but at the same time, I don’t want to leave the beginners behind either.

What I have done is simply started out with all basic routines. Then throughout the routine, I try my best to add more advanced modifications to certain moves that the participants can either choose to try, or stick with the basic move. Still though, it seems like even the most basic moves are too hard for some, while the more advanced moves are yet still too easy!

What I have learned is that I need to continue trying my best to add modifications to the more basic routines, but also to jazz them up a bit. It seems like now that Zumba has come alive, becoming the new exercise buzz, I have some competition. I have realized that a few of the women in my class also take Zumba, and so they are used to more “dancy,” high-energy type routines.

For next week’s class, my goal is to come up with better choreography that will be more fun and entertaining for the class (and also my other class at the wellness center). I think that even with the most basic movements, a more entertaining routine with some excitement should do the trick. 

Essentially, all that matters is if the heart rate is up and calories are being burned, but I have learned that teaching aerobics is so, SO much more than that. It’s about being able to work with different skill levels for members of the class, and also making it entertaining so they feel they get their money’s worth, and ya know, so I look like a “cool” instructor.


About tonicekada

I am a junior print journalism major at West Virginia University. I have two minors in Italian and fitness.
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