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  • Instructor Newsletter 8th September 2011

    Welcome to the Choreographytogo Instructor Newsletter 8th September 2011

    It’s September…. Hurrah and the whole of the UK appears to have gone on a diet or started an exercise class. Judging by the emails and Facebook/Twitter stuff I have seen, the kids have gone back and fitness is rocking!

    It really is great to see so many FitPros going out into the community and running brilliant classes. I’d love to hear from you and the classes you are running so please email, Facebook or Tweet me and let me know what you are up to for the final 1/4 of 2011.

    We have great contributions this week from Sally Ghafoor, Nina Lancaster, Nicky Carless, Marvin Burton who kicks off his new tour on Sunday in Bristol and Jo Parry and there are loads of inspiring info to propel you into September.

    My business seminar starts next Saturday in Bristol and I’m so excited about this venture. If you want to grab a place please Click here Its £67 for the full day.

    Marvin Burtons new workshop starts this Sunday in Bristol and he has all of the new Jordans Power bags and tons of new conditioning material for you . To bag a place click here

    This Saturday is the amazing BIg One North in Barnsley. Ieaching Menage a Tois with Ceri Hannon and Jo Parry plus Body Shock and for the first time I will have a Choreographytogo Trade Stand selling all of my DVDs and courses, so do drop by and say Hello. click here

    Please connect with me on Twitter for feedback or “Like” and feedback any comments you have.

    Setting up a Community class for Seniors

    There has never been a better time to set up a new ETM /Keep Fit class for older adults in your area. Good Specialised classes for older adults are few and far between, so here are my top tips for set up and marketing.

    1. Choose your venue carefully – It needs to be accessible, on a bus route, good parking, easy to find and it needs to be warm in the winter.

    2. Decide on a time slot – Mornings or afternoons can be good, but remember many older adults still work part time or look after grand children and so evening would also work well.

    3. Price – Decide whether you are going to offer concessions or have a 1 price policy. Many baby boomers in our society are the most affluent group but older adults do budget carefully whatever their income.

    4. Name your class carefully – There are loads of ideas for class names on the forum. Mel Thomas calls her class Keep Fitness and advertises it for anyone, whatever age, who wants a more gentle workout: Nice N Easy, Light N Low, Recycled Teenagers, Super Seniors, Prime Time, Active Seniors, Anti aging workout, Keep Fit, Simply Fit, Easy Does It, Young at Heart, Mature Movers, Activeage are some ideas you may want to try.

    5. Advertise carefully – pictures of bright young things in skimpy gym stuff can be a major turn off. Use pictures and logos that reflect who you are trying to attract. Describe exactly who the class is aimed at.

    6. Remember, we all know tons of 50 year olds who are stronger, fitter and more agile than those in their 20’s but you may get adults that have joint problems, be very unfit, lacking in strength, stamina and coordination, so offering loads of levels and options is an absolute must.

    7. Include social time. For many older adults social time is as important as the class itself, so make sure you build in some time after the session for a drink and chat. Ensure the group bonds and makes friends and this will ensure your class members will keep coming back week after week.

    8. Class content. Include a thorough joint warm up/pulse raise. A low or mixed/moderate impact cardio section, strength section, flexibility and relaxation. Us props like bands, weights, balls, hoops etc for variety.

    9. Music is the key! Choose from Motown, 70’s, 80’s, Classics, Swing, Jazz, Singalong pop tunes, Abba is massive at the moment, try simple salsa, bollywood.

    10. Seated doesn’t have to be easy. Try making up a cardio workout whilst seated. You can do seated jacks, lunges, side taps, arm lines, knee lifts. I have just filmed some seated cardio workouts that are really fun to do and teach and they will be online next week.

    11. Promote your classes to W.I and other woman’s business groups. Use google to find organisations in your area or pop into the local library. Offer to do talks and lectures to groups.





    What did I do when my “purple Cow” became a boring old freesia cow by Sally Ghafoor

    I have been running fitness camps for a while now, the marketing I found easy, I got results in my camp, I posted the before and after pics and people went nuts, within hours I had my camp FULL. Everyone knew me, everyone knew I got results and everyone came to me for their fat loss results.

    I had a purple cow, up went the pictures of the results we got, in came the clients. In the past 3 months however, whenever I posted the before and afters, there were no referrals, the before and after pics were awesome, so why wasn’t anyone booking on……. Because it had become the norm for me to post up before and after pics – I no longer had a purple cow. My before and afters were a boring old brown cow. 2 minutes down the road a new bootcamp was running – £12 for 4 weeks, mine is £85 for four weeks. So people were seeing my pictures and results and thinking they would get that kind of result 2 minutes down the road for next to nothing.

    Was it frustrating? Well being undercut is a pain, but you get what you pay for. I wasn’t going to drop my prices. I will deliver results. I have spent thousands on research. I am living proof of how to get the weight off and keep it off.

    I needed a different strategy. So I introduced the little black dress club – for FREE. I asked for 50 people who wanted to get into their LBD’s for Xmas just by using an online group on facebook. Within 2 hours I had 70 people asking to join. All it is is a group of ladies motivating each other, taking my nutrition advice and wanting to get back into their LBD for Xmas. This helped me to see who I could market my fitness camp to, I could see who wanted results and would follow the plan to get there.

    These ladies are now coming to my classes and booking on to my camp. I have new clients who’s friends will see their before and afters and to these people it will be a purple cow. I needed to find a way to find new clients and their friends, and this was an easy way to do it. And the added bonus, I was helping people to get their nutrition right before they even came to my class. I built a tribe who will come to my classes, who respect me. I re found my purple cow.


    Marvin Burton New Tour starts this Sunday in Bristol


    September is the start of the winter push for me. I’ll wish you Merry Christmas now because it’s full steam ahead from here. I have dates in September in Bristol, Guildford and Manchester.

    The tour is broken down into 3 workouts that are perfect for conditioning, Pilates, Yoga, Bootcamps even Zumba if you like! I’m bringing some power bags that have been supplied by Jordan Fitness and are available to purchase on the day if you want one? They are all 5kg so don’t worry about them being big heavy weight. I will teach a 45 minute conditioning class with the bags to start with.

    Following that I have designed 3, 30 minute workout classes as I discuss what the benefits of teaching for 30 minutes are. The workout is broken down into 3:

    Warm up, tissue prep and mobility

    Training and body weight Conditioning

    Fitness training agility and cardio workout

    The last session is called old school core, abs and mobility. I don’t need to explain this one I’m sure.

    As usual there are notes, DVD’s, Hoodies, T-shirts and some really nice bags available on the day.

    If you would like to bring your friends or clients this would be a perfect afternoon. The workouts are full on and the day is 80 percent practical.

    For more information please feel free to

    Email: marvinburton@


    I also now have a blog that has free videos and content on



    How to stand out in the Zumba crowd? Jo Parry

    Does this sound like you? You are a Zumba instructor, you love the Zumba concept and choreography, your classes are busy but could be busier, however, you have two hundred plus other Zumba instructors teaching in your area. How do I stand out from the rest?

    If you are an avid reader as I am of Rachel’s weekly newsletter, then you will have read the article by Chris Brown about bootcamps and the ‘purple cow’ methodology. This is so true and relevant in our industry and to stay on top of the game and ahead of the rest then we need to almost make our Zumba classes niche to us!


    Knowing the Zumba ethos of teaching non verbal and visual cues your teaching style will therefore be similar to the other instructors in your area, so here are some ideas and pointers of how you can achieve the purple cow method and stand out in the crowd.


    You may already be practicing these techniques, please do feedback and let me know:


    Introduce your own Zumba tracks – look at your captive audience, ask for song requests!

    Know your material inside out so you can give everything in your classes, be professional

    Work on your own fitness allowing you to motivate and energise your classes to the max!

    Look the part, clothing, trainers etc.. whether you wear Zumba kit or bright colours

    Up your intensity in your class on certain weeks – I add an 80’s aerobics Hi Impact track

    Make some weeks more dance orientated – less intensity, more dance technique

    Add some vocal cues, teaching techniques and banter! (as you may do already)

    Choose songs with audience participation – everyone loves a bit of Karaoke

    Make time for new comers, offer them alternatives in your routines

    Give class discount s on group bookings – 10 class passes, etc…

    Offer referral schemes for bringing friends

    Arrange Zumba events , evenings, Christmas Parties

    Create the community/team feel within your classes to encourage loyalty back

    Capture data from all your members and send regular newsletters to build your tribe

    Perfect your cool downs, make them effective whilst being creative, finish on a high!

    Make time for your classes, arrive early and have time at the end to speak with people

    Introduce new songs every few weeks, keep your class fresh, people need routine but they also need to be challenged and increase their motor skills

    Work with other local Zumba instructors in your area for events and team teaches

    Always have fun in class and work to their level, read your class, this is so important

    Keep educating yourself in Zumba workshops/Freestyle workshops & events


    Teaching has to be one of the best jobs in the world and to be a good, professional, safe, effective and fun teacher is hard. Experience, knowledge, additional education is key to bettering yourself and your delivery of group exercise classes. A good teacher will always stand head and shoulders above a bad teacher or non experienced teacher. This is your selling power as well. The amount of people that have attended my Zumba class left a previous class as they said the teacher looked as if they were making it up on the spot, did not know what they were doing, unorganised.

    Never stop increasing your knowledge base and always challenge yourself by participating in other people’s classes. Often this can be a very grounding experience. If you are struggling in someone else’s class to pick up the choreography and you are a teacher then what do you think is going through a brand new exercisers mind, apart from sheer terror!

    Think about the experience you are giving people and what rewards you would like them to gain from it, just as if you were a participant. Lastly, as instructors we wear our emotions across our faces so remember when you are on stage or at the front of the class, all eyes are on you. They will see the odd look you give a friend, or the eyes to heaven look, or the yawn, or the aggravation look.


    Be the best you can and enjoy being the best and pulling the numbers in. Please remember to always work to your strengths. Happy teaching.


    Thank you, Jo xxx

    You can follow me on or visit my website Please do let me know your thoughts.



    The Challenges we face as a Group Exercise Instructor by Nicki Carless

    I have been working in the fitness industry for over 14 years and I am sure I am not alone when I say that working in the fitness Industry can be overwhelming at times.

    The fitness Industry is forever changing and we are constantly being introduced to a variety of new class concepts and innovations. Some of these have stood the test of time, while others have been very short lived. We have had aerobics, step, slide, spinning, yoga, Pilates, rebounding and now Zumba just to name a few.

    Most group exercise instructors feel that they should learn to teach each and every new class concept so that they are a more versatile instructor and most of us also feel that we should also be improving on our existing skills to be better instructors. Trying to stay abreast with the industry can sometimes take its toll. I for one have felt this way and I have attended numerous courses, workshops, fitness conventions and constantly pushed myself over the years to be the best instructor I can be, but I have spent time and money on courses that I have done nothing with because they didn’t fire me with enthusiasm!

    Instructors can be very self critical. I know I am!! We set high expectations for ourselves and are surprised when we can’t attain these goals. We believe that we should be a master of everything but this is not possible. When I first started out, I thought that in order to be more employable I should be qualified in as many areas in fitness as possible and though this does make you more employable it doesn’t necessarily always make you happy. Not long after I gained my Exercise to Music qualification, I booked myself onto the Gym Instructors Course, thinking that I should do it because there seemed to be a shortage of gym instructors in the gyms I was teaching in. However, I only spent about 3 months as a Gym Instructor as it wasn’t for me at all. My passion was for teaching classes. I still learned a lot from doing the Gym Instructors course so the time I spent doing it wasn’t completely wasted, but my time and energy would have been better spent doing courses which would have been more useful to me for teaching in a class environment.

    We should be true to ourselves and teach what we enjoy rather than what we think we should be teaching. We all have different likes and strengths and we should play to these strengths.

    In my experience, most fitness instructors are high achievers and this may result in us attempting to learn everything much too fast but it takes time to learn and gain experience. Allow yourself the enough time to learn a new subject and gain experience in it.

    This is what I have learnt about the profession so far:

    · Have an open mind, and always be willing to learn and receive advice. Be ready to change as the industry changes.

    · Learn to accept constructive criticism. This will help you to improve and become a better instructor.

    · Don’t get complacent or a big head–there are always new ways to tweak your instruction and absorb new information. I have come across fitness instructors who have taught the same class in the same way for over 20 years….yes really!!! I also remember a fitness instructor who thought he knew everything there was to know about fitness….he hadn’t updated his learning or skills for years so how did he know he knew everything!!

    · Make sure you continue to be educated. Do not think that by taking an exam after a weekend course is enough to qualify you, there is so much more to being a trainer or an instructor than passing a test.

    · Remember one of the objectives of a fitness instructor is to retain and maintain our participants. We know that they need to be inspired with change.

    · The client-instructor relationship is almost as important as the programme or class that the instructor designs. You need to build a relationship with your clients. If your client isn’t comfortable, it won’t matter how good your programme is.

    · Make sure this is what you want to do. Don’t do it for the money; do it because you want to help people feel better and lead healthier lives.

    · Find a mentor to be your guide and inspiration. I wish I had been lucky enough to have a mentor when I first started out so I have made it my mission to help new comers to the industry in any way I can. But it doesn’t matter how long you have been in the fitness industry there is always someone else out there who can help you become a better instructor. When I heard about Rachel Holmes mentoring course I knew I had to go on it as Rachel has inspired me over the years and I am so glad I enrolled on it as it is the best thing I have done for my fitness business.

    · Learn from as many different people as possible and from different disciplines and philosophies. There is something to learn from everyone, including the people with whom you disagree.

    · Never assume that you know everything or even that what you think you know is right. Question everything!!

    · Be prepared to work with all types of different personalities and individuals. People come to you with different goals, values, expectations and needs.

    · Learn that everyone has different styles of teaching and you must work to be the best at your style.

    · Stick with it if you are passionate and enjoy it. Life’s too short not to enjoy what you’re doing.

    · Don’t be intimidated or compare yourself to people who have been in the industry for many years. Instead of focusing on how much “better” someone else is, focus on how you can personally improve. The people ahead of you didn’t become excellent overnight, so be patient.

    · Do not work for anyone who doesn’t value the hard work, time and money you have put into becoming the amazing fitness professional you are! This for me is something that I wish I had learned earlier. I would put in hours and hours of class planning for all of the classes I taught to make my classes more challenging, fun etc. In one of the gyms I taught at my classes were the most popular and the most well attended so when I found out another instructor was getting paid more than me even though their classes were less busy and less popular I felt undervalued and it hurt! It still took me a while to get the confidence to leave and set up more community classes but I am so glad I did! I just wish I had done it earlier!


    In conclusion, most of us teach because we love it and we truly love the profession and the people we come into contact with each and every day. Teach what you are passionate about and what you feel comfortable with. This is turn will make you feel much better about yourself, you will be more confident and therefore you will be a better instructor.


    80 / 20 Rule for Fitness instructors

    by Nina Lancaster founder of

    Cardiokidz and busywomenfitness

    Before doing the mentoring course with Rachel Holmes, I thought I had lots of ideas but not enough time to make them a reality. Managing two businesses (Cardiokidz and busywomenfitness), plus two young children, has taken up most of my time and my ideas about producing resources for P.E. teachers and fitness instructors have largely been pushed to one side.

    With the knowledge, guidance and support from Rachel, I’ve managed to do a new ‘road map’ of where I am and where I want to be and I now feel I have the ‘tools’ to produce informative, knowledgeable fitness resources for kids that can be used by both the P.E. teacher and fitness instructor. I have also adopted the 80 / 20 rule outlined below to make me more efficient. Prior to this, I use to concentrate on ‘the little things’ that didn’t make me any money but looked good, although nobody else ever saw them! Now I try and prioritise what needs to be done and have outsourced some of the work that I found was taking up much of my time and energy!

    So what is the 80 / 20 rule? In 1906, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto created a mathematical formula to describe the unequal distribution of wealth in his country, observing that twenty percent of the people owned eighty percent of the wealth. In the late 1940s, Dr. Joseph M. Juran inaccurately attributed the 80/20 Rule to Pareto, calling it Pareto’s Principle. While it may be misnamed, Pareto’s Principle or Pareto’s Law as it is sometimes called, can be a very effective tool to help you manage effectively.

    How It Can Help You

    The value of the Pareto Principle for an instructor is that it reminds you to focus on the 20 percent that matters. Of the things you do during your day, only 20 percent really matter. Those 20 percent produce 80 percent of your results. Identify and focus on those things. When you feel your day slipping away from you, remind yourself of the 20 percent you need to focus on. If something in the schedule has to go, if something isn’t going to get done, make sure it’s not part of that 20 percent.

    Manage This Issue

    Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 Rule, should serve as a daily reminder to focus 80 percent of your time and energy on the 20 percent of your work that is really important. Don’t just “work smart”, work smart on the right things.


    The message is simple enough – focus on activities that produce the best outcomes for you. This applies to both your business/working life and your “other” life (I think they are all part of your “life” but people often prefer to distinguish them). The problem for most people is how to make a living from what you really enjoy, so let’s focus on that…


    If you would like to be one of the first to know about Cardiokidz ‘Fitness in a box’ for key stage 2 children, a resource that will give you lesson plans, schemes of work, activity ideas and videos, risk assessments, PAR-Q for children, then add your name and email address to the website:

    You can also find Cardiokidz and busywomenfitness on separate facebook pages, or follow me on twitter at


    Hope to connect with you soon,



    Have a fantastic week!

    Love Rachel xxx

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