inclusive fitness instruction

Inclusive Fitness Instruction

One of the things that I take pride in is my modifying methods of fitness instruction and coaching which make my classes inclusive for the average person.   In general, my classes are suitable for all fitness levels.  Unless I’m targeting a specific fitness level, it is not common for me to have many classes that cater to one physical fitness level.  This, to me, would be a mistake in running a small business amongst a small population.  I have many fitness levels to serve in class and we are more than willing, and happy, to accommodate and include EVERYONE!

I have been teaching fitness for over 13 years in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.  It is my observation that there are more beginner level fitness people that come to me for guidance to achieve a healthy body.  But somehow there is a myth that floats around the general public in this area that you have to be fit to attend my classes.  It is a good thing that my participants can declare that this is not true and do a great job of telling other people how accommodating we are at GO!.  Here are some things I want to address:

“You have fast runners in your running classes.”  Yes, we do have some fast runners in the running programs.  These individuals make up a smaller percentage of those in the running class and generally have a running background, whether it be that they are training for a marathon, used to be in Track and Field in high school, etc.  Some new runners are naturally fast.  However, just because there are a few fast runners in my classes doesn’t mean you should not join.  How do you expect to get fast if you don’t train with others running faster than you?  For 7 years I rode a bike and competed in triathlons and it wasn’t until I met Justin (my boyfriend) who has quite a cycling resume, and said to me “how do you expect to get faster if you don’t ride with those faster than you?”  I do not allow myself to fear or feel bad about being last.  Instead, I’m proud of myself for getting out there and doing it.  It takes time for the payoff (aka getting faster and fitter) to happen.  You need to have patience, determination, and consistency.   Tuck away the pride and get out there!  If you don’t start, you don’t move forward!

“There are some athletes in your classes.”  Yes, there definitely are and this makes me and the GO! Team happy.  These athletes seek out my programs as part of their cross-training, to increase their fitness levels, to get stronger, prevent injuries, develop better form, etc. so they can move past their boundaries.  You have to understand, I’m not coaching high level elite or professional athletes.  The athletes that come to my classes are competitive age-groupers that need support.  While some of them are placing first in their age categories and cleaning up on gold medals, we are not talking about Olympic levels here.  I’m very proud of the athletes I coach and some of them just blow my mind on what they are capable of doing.  Some of them could go even further if their heart desired, maybe even become Olympic athletes if they worked hard enough.  It’s not easy to do this, it takes more than what most people realize.  But generally, we are all in my programs for the same thing – to become the best we can be and achieve our own individual goals.  So don’t be intimidated by the athlete who works out beside you in class – BE INSPIRED!  Those athletes are motivated and it can rub off on you.   Get to know them, listen to how they started out, they generally have stories that will give you goosebumps.

“I have pain.”  We all have pain, some worse than others. Choose A or B.  A) Stay still and be in pain, or B) Move and be in pain.  In order to get out of pain, you need to work through it.  Of course, if you are suffering from an illness, injury, or some sort of medical condition, you need to get your doctor’s clearance before taking up any physical activity.  Some activities may irritate the pain and make it worse.  For example, if you have a bad ankle, it wouldn’t be smart to take up running.  If your back is bad, I would not suggest joining a Zumba class.  If your hips hurt, cardio-kickboxing is probably not a smart choice.  BUT STRENGTH TRAINING MOST LIKELY WILL HELP YOU!  And yoga too!  At the GO! Studio we offer an array of yoga and strength training classes.  Find out from your doctor what muscles you need to focus on to help you alleviate the pain and then speak to me.  We will figure out together which class would service that area and help you get stronger with less pain over time.   The most awesome thing of all – the GO! Team is all trained to make many modifications in the strength and yoga classes so that everyone can work within their abilities.  There is always another way! Always!

“I am scared of not being able to keep up with the class.”  That’s okay! Really.  Everyone in class works at their own level.  No two bodies are the same, we all have different things we are dealing with, and therefore the class is operating on many different levels.  I always say “we have as many levels in class as we have people.”  There isn’t just a beginner, intermediate or advanced level.  There are beginner beginners, between beginner and intermediate levels, various levels of intermediate, and so on.  Get my point?  Just because your instructor can do 20 push-ups from her toes under 30 seconds without rest doesn’t mean she expects you or anyone else in that class to do this.  Sometimes you will find us working with seconds instead of reps, so people can move at their own pace and do any number of reps in that period of time.  Sometimes if we are using reps as a form of tempo, we generally modify the count to make sure everyone is keeping up.   We always offer an alternative, there is always another way, and we never leave anyone behind.   We all move through life at different speeds and this is recognized in the classroom as well.

“My mobility is limited. I can’t move the same as the rest of the class.”  If you have gotten to this point, I’m pretty sure you understand by now that we are very accommodating in the classes.  In every single class we have at the GO! , Studio, mobility (aka ROM = range of motion) is addressed.  Strength training, yoga, running, kick-boxing, Zumba, Bokwa, cycling, and so on all have a flexibility components to help with ROM.  And at the end of every class we enjoy a nice 10-minute stretch.  If you are really tight, then you start out with something gentle like one of the morning classes or any of the yoga classes. All GO!’s yoga classes are open to beginners.  There is something for everyone at GO!

“I haven’t exercised in a long time.”  So what!  If you keep using that for excuse, the time you haven’t exercised just keeps increasing.  Seriously?  That’s not even a valid excuse for not joining a GO! class.  The main goal of GO! is to HELP YOU GET FIT!  That’s why my business exists.  Once you achieve a fitness level, then I challenge you more and you continue to maintain that fitness level you worked so hard or move past it onto the next.  In order to get fit, you have to move!  There is no other way around it so stop saying this as an excuse and get moving.  People who are “un-fit” are most welcome in my classes.   GO! is not made up of a whole bunch of really high level fit people.  We are all working to achieve a fitness level that is personal to each and every one of us.

I’m sure there are more ways I could explain about how inclusive my classes are for the general public.  Currently I do not have specialized classes to address certain things such as more severe medical conditions, illnesses, etc.  But if you have clearance from your doctor and your situation is just due to a lack of exercise, motivation, consistency, etc…if you just don’t know where to start….and if you are worried about your abilities – fear not!  I’m telling you right now that there is no fitness level prerequisite to join GO!  All you have to do is SIGN UP AND SHOW UP!  We will take care of the rest.  Open your mind, step outside that comfort zone you built for yourself, and change your life.  DO IT!

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  1. Tampster, you are the most accommodating instructor I have ever encountered. What I admire about you most is your uplifting spirited approach to making every level of class percipients feel so good about themselves. I for one can vouch for that. I love the fact that you give us many options to choose from during our exercise routine. The fact that you continuously give us information on every move and what part of the body we are targeting.
    Your the bestest 🙂