Do you remember that one time when you went to that PT who offered some really exciting sounding group classes in the park? You got there, there were a couple of other people there too, you all chatted and set your things down you got straight into your sweat sesh. But throughout the whole class never once did the PT fix anyone’s form, you saw Betty over there doing squats in ways that you’re not sure what exactly she working and poor Brian was doing ‘push-ups’ which featured wave-like motions with his hips… but old mate PT said nothing, he just kept smashing out those commands. You guys all got a great sweat going, and you were sore the next day… but what were you sore from, after what you saw of Betty & Brian, were you even doing it right? Did the PT tell you what to expect? Did they run through a warm up and cool down with you?
Then there was this other time you went to a similar style class in the park, but a different PT was running it. This guy explained what you were getting up to that day, went through each exercise and made sure everybody had the right idea on how to conduct it, and then you guys absolutely tore up the session. The next day you were feeling sore in all the right ways, and you knew this because your PT told you what to expect…
While some of this could be put down to personality, about 95% of it is because of the training these two guys would have received. The reason I chose to explain in PT terms, rather than a Pilates Instructor is because I think it’s pretty safe to say most people these days have at least witnessed a PT conducting a session, if they haven’t been trained directly by one themselves.
The PT in the first example is somebody who is enthusiastic, but potentially under educated or not confident yet… He wasn’t quite sure how to deal with people, so he just launched straight into the session and hoped for the best. He definitely saw that Betty and Brian weren’t doing the correct technique for their squats and push-ups, but because he only did a weekend course rather than a 6-month certification he had no clue how to assist them in fixing up their form to get the most from their exercises. Due to the lack of people skills he developed from his weekend course, this PT just gave everybody a high-five as they finished their last round of the circuit and then sent them on their way home. Satisfied by how sweaty and out of breath everybody was, he figured it was a job well done.
An educated fitness instructor, such as the PT number two, knows how to communicate with everybody to make them feel welcome & included. They know that they can’t just assume everybody knows what they’re doing, so they run through each exercise and then offer their support throughout the entire session, they’re paying attention and they know how to correct your form if you’re a little off. Afterward during the cool down, this PT gives everybody an idea of the kind of pain they may feel in the following days from this session and gives them some tips on recovery.
Warm ups and cool downs are important.
Communication is important.
Education is important – both that of the fitness instructor, and the client. The fitness instructor should be able to easily share with you what you’re going to do that day, how to do it, and what to expect in the following days, plus anything else (within reason) that you ask revolving around the session.
I find it EXTREMELY frustrating to see people who call themselves fitness instructors, of any kind – whether it be Pilates, Personal Training, Boxing, etc – when they haven’t done the work. I did Pilates for 6 years before I started my Cert IV, which should take at least 6 months if done properly. Before I did my Cert IV I definitely could have instructed Pilates, particularly because there is no governing body for Pilates in Australia, but I didn’t want to put people at risk by not having the fully-rounded knowledge needed to properly run a class.
When completing certifications in fitness such as Cert III, Cert IV and Diplomas, everything is covered from communication to anatomy & physiology. If somebody has only done a weekend course, there is absolutely no way they are on the same level. Yes, experience counts. But education is so important these days. For example, just because I had experience in Pilates didn’t mean I knew what a 25-week pregnant woman would be safe doing. And I’ve done a fair bit of boxing – does that mean I’m able to teach a guy how best to defend himself? Absolutely not.
Excuse me now while I get off my soap box. I know this is a bit of a rant, but it needed to be said.
If your instructor isn’t willing to put in the time to educate themselves, who are they to educate you?
You deserve quality! Don’t be afraid to seek out the certifications that your instructors have under their belt, if anything they’ll be proud to tell you what they’ve done!
If you’re keen to join us for a 6am or 7am Saturday morning Pilates sesh then click on your preferred time & lock it in! If you’re a Wednesday 6pm kinda gal (this class is at a ladies only gym, sorry guys) then secure your spot before they’re all gone!