By June Y. Chu
After living, working and teaching in Philadelphia for seven years, I found that I craved one thing in life—structure. I knew what time to wake up each day, how long it would take to get to work, what I had to get done during the workday, and most importantly, exactly how I could find time each day to workout with my team of fellow instructors and friends. Having taught group exercise and Spinning® classes at the same gym for seven years, I had developed a camaraderie not only among my fellow instructors, but in my classes as well. So when it came time to move to New Hampshire, it was daunting for a number of reasons.I found that the following seven steps to be very helpful with the process of finding a new facility, securing the job and building new relationships with members.
Do Your Research
Before I made this big move, I went online to search for fitness facilities near my new hometown. Not only did I find the River Valley Club in Lebanon, NH (a facility that offered the specific fitness program I was looking for), but they also offered the Spinning program.
Be Proactive and Make Contacts
I really tried to be proactive without being pushy. I reached out to the fitness director and shared that I would be moving up there and inquired about possibilities to audition and teach. Fortunately, the fitness director took the time out of her busy schedule to explain the process of auditioning at the facility and was willing - right away - to mentor me into the role at this new club with its rules and expectations
Ask your new potential supervisor what the clientele likes and expects out of every class. Ask what an audition entails and if s/he has a timeline for new hires. Ask about how the sub system works. Ask away! A potential new supervisor is someone you are going to work with and just as much as they need to know about you, you want to learn about them too!
Learn About the Members and Instructors.
I always like to learn the culture of a facility—who are the clients and instructors, what is the attitude that pervades the space and what are the clients’ expectations? I took the time to take as many classes as I could with the various instructors who taught there to see what the clientele likes in Spinning classes. Does it seem like a clientele base that enjoys Interval Energy Zone™
or Endurance Energy Zone rides? What is the age group of the Spinning students in the various time slots? That way, you will know how to adjust not only your teaching expectations, but your music as well.The team of fitness professionals was very supportive. They train each person in class as an individual, they respect the goals individuals set for themselves, and they work with each person to be healthier and fitter. I knew it was a good fit for me.
Get to Know the Other Instructors and Your New Peer Group
I made an effort to introduce myself to the other instructors at the facility. Early on, I reached out to fellow instructors J.K. and J.P., and they were the best cheerleaders when I took classes with them. The best way to get to know your fellow instructors is to take their classes.I started team teaching a bit more regularly with another instructor named Kit, and we had a lot of fun! Kit and I are able to feed off each other’s energy and different styles during class, which kept every class new and exciting. It’s something different that I find members really enjoy. It’s also a great way to meet new clients because the other instructor brings their loyal riders to class that may have not tried your class otherwise.
In most cases, the perfect class won’t land in your lap the moment you move. When Kit decided he needed to take a break from teaching, it gave me a shot at a time slot and things fell into place. Patience is a virtue. I am now teaching regularly at the new facility.
Expand Your Client Base
Offer to sub for classes during the summer when instructors go on vacation. Volunteer to teach if the facility hosts a charity ride to meet more clients. I also recommend taking other types of fitness classes to build a relationship with members.
I hope these seven steps help you in finding or transitioning into a new job. Remember, it’s all about engagement, passion, and patience. Good luck!
About the Author
June Y. Chu is an AFAA certified group exercise instructor and personal trainer and STAR 3 Spinning® instructor. She has been teaching Spinning for over 9 years. She lives in Hanover, NH and works in higher education administration at Dartmouth College. Her favorite workout motto is, “Go hard or go home.” Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org