How To Beat Those First Time Fitness Coach Nerves

You know the names of the four different quadriceps muscles. You know what genre of music goes with which type of workout class format. You know how long a rest period should be between supersets. 

You’ve done the work, searched through fitness coach jobs, nailed the audition and are ready to kickstart on your new fitness career. But suddenly you find yourself standing in front of a room of eyeballs or an expectant client waiting to be told what to do and all that registers are the nerves setting in. 

First things first: know that this is totally normal and almost every fitpro has been there at some point. Fortunately, we’ve got some tips for calming those new fitpro jitters and ensuring that you have all the tools you need to succeed.

Everybody Gets Nervous, Even A Fitness Coach 

You’re not alone. It may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that even your favorite, seemingly flawless fitness trainer was a beginner at some point too. Because, after all, you never forget your first time. 

And as Keoni Hudoba, Master Trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp assured us, “The day I don’t get nervous before teaching class is the day I need to quit this industry,” it seems that the nerves never fully go away and can actually be a driving force in your career.

That’s a pretty cool way to think about it. Maybe the nerves are proof that you’re consistently doing challenging and exciting work that has a major impact. It definitely seems preferable to feeling nothing from your job.

How To Beat Those First Time Coaching Nerves 

A common misconception about the fitpro lifestyle is that a class or a training session is just an hour long. You probably know, even as a newbie, that it’s much more than that, (and the rest of the fitness community seems to agree).

Taking the time to prepare beforehand can help boost your confidence. It’ll also make your class run smoothly and prepare you for any potential unexpected challenges that could really make the nerves run wild. So, we’ve gathered some tips that will help you crush class prep and build your confidence.

Acknowledge Where You Are

There’s no need to apologize for making little mistakes or for being nervous during your first class. Own it and lead from where you are. But don’t get too cocky. By acknowledging where you are, you can remind yourself how far you have to go and how much you have left to learn. 

Map Your Class Out

Your first class isn’t an exam. It’s not cheating to bring in some notes. Better to have a well-planned class where you take a peek at your notes every once in a while than one that goes awry because you forgot a move or two. 

There are lots of different ways that you can plan out a class. Some fitness coaches need to know exactly what they’re doing minute-to-minute and move-to-move. Other trainers use a rough outline because they like the flexibility of being able to make changes on the fly. Maybe you start with the details and see how it goes after a few classes. Whatever you choose, it can really help to take a few notes and read them over before class starts.

Practice Like You Mean It

Especially in big, fast-paced group fitness classes, you’re expected to demonstrate almost every move (yup, including progressions and regressions). You learned them all when getting your certs and doing teacher training, but now’s the time to actually get up and try them out. Practice is crucial. 

  • Practice by yourself. Go through each move in front of the mirror at home. 
  • Practice with friends. Invite a few friends over and run through your routine with them. Watch their form and repeat your fave cues. 
  • Don’t forget the details. Get comfortable with the music. Listen to your playlist while making your daily commute, or while cooking dinner. 

Make A Good Impression

Clients can tell when you’re nervous. And that’s okay — to a certain extent. They’ll probably give you a break on your first day anyway. But, don’t start doubting your skills or panic if you miss a step or say “left” when you move right. Stay confident and know that, like with any new skill, the more you do it, the better you’ll get. And smile, it’ll make you feel better. 

Part of making a good impression is also being prepared. It quickly ruins the mood for a client if you can’t figure out how to use the stereo or don’t have all the equipment set up. Get there early, set up your space, and test out your equipment.

Arriving early also gives you the opportunity to greet students as they trickle in. Learn their names, ask about injuries, and get to know the regulars.  

Nobody’s Perfect

No class will ever be perfect. Move past any mistakes with poise. It’s easy to see other instructors getting praise for their classes on social media (or in real life) and to start to compare yourself. Don’t fall into the trap of expecting stellar, sold-out classes, especially when you’re just starting out.

If you make a mistake that you feel like you just can’t get past, reach out to other fitpros. Being surrounded by a community of fitness trainers has countless benefits, including emotional support and guidance, which are especially beneficial you’re just starting out. 

Make Time To Reflect

After your first few classes, give yourself time to reflect. Ask yourself what worked, and what could be improved. Then actually write that down. Go back to your notes so you always learn from your mistakes. 

Ask for Feedback 

If you’re familiar with a participant or two, ask them what they thought. Be specific, don’t just fish for compliments. Ask if the playlist worked, if you were loud enough, if the class was challenging, and if your cues made sense. The more educated you are, the better. 

You’re Not Alone 

Remember, if you don’t have the knowledge, you’ll never progress. After getting the initial skills, it’s up to you to practice and refine. If you’re looking for new fitness coach jobs, or want to expand your skills, check out our online job listings at Talent Hack. It’s the perfect place to find opportunities and community to take the next step in your fitness career.