I had an interesting discussion with the Group Fitness Director at my club and she said she did not want instructors teaching the same venue back to back because the instructor would not be fresh and it wasn't good for the instructor or the members. This is the first time I have heard a director voice a strong opinion on this matter and it gave me something on which to think.
Most instructors would rather drive down to the club to teach two classes, than come in for only one. It makes the trip more worthwhile. As a director though, that takes some thought in scheduling both classes and instructors. If I run a Spinning® studio that offers only spinning, then I would need to ensure that an instructor teaches both on and off the bike as well as plans at least one of the classes as Endurance. If I run a large fitness facility, then I don't think it's too hard to give an instructor two classes back to back as long as he or she has the proper training for both such as Spinning followed by Pilates.
This is a common issue in our industry and it is something that I believe should be addressed between management and employee in terms of what behavior is healthy and acceptable. I overheard a rookie instructor explain that she was mentored by a veteran instructor to drink a Red Bull between classes so she could teach two "cycling" classes back to back. This was for a choreographed type indoor cycling program that does not allow for off the bike coaching. That in my opinion was very poor advice and a terrible example for any club members that might note this behavior.
It wasn't until I heard instructors from this competing organization explain they were told never to get off the bikes during class that I had another reason to love the Spinning program. I find that a ridiculous expectation and definitely limiting to one's ability to earn income as a professional instructor. We want our instructors to be coaches. A coach must not only be fit, but also be a great motivator both for one on one and in front of a group. A great coach is not there to compete with the class, but to inspire and there are numerous ways to do that. In the Spinning program, an instructor should be able to teach back to back and offer two great classes without putting him or herself in peril because of the options that our program provides.
Most facilities have already posted a summer schedule, but with fall soon to come, it is a good time to look at how your instructors are scheduled and see if there are any problems lurking that can be fixed. Giving instructors back to back classes is a good way to retain them, as long as it is done in a realistic manner and issues such as proper hydration and calorie replacement are discussed.
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