I’ve had moments of thinking fitness instruction is basic. Not meaningful…I’m not helping someone in pain like a Physiotherapist. I’m not making society better like social workers… I’m just leading some nice exercises!
So, I was having this ‘whinge’ with my husband, Daniel one day (by way of introduction my husband is the co-Founder of Aleenta Training and an expert in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy). He reminded me that like a physio I want to help people. But he pointed out something unique about instructors that made me dramatically shift my point of view. He pointed out that in his profession he often gets 30-50mins of initial consultations with a client and then 15-20 mins in a series of follow-up sessions (if lucky). This a relatively short time to diagnose, understand, observe patterns, connect and share education to help the client.
On the other hand, a fitness instructor (whilst we do not diagnose or treat patients) gets to spend anywhere from 1-5 hrs a week with a client for 6 months to 5 years and beyond. In this incredible amount of time, you can observe how someone moves REALLY well and take the time to practice with them different ways of moving and different ways of viewing their body. You can share knowledge & education with greater depth and repeat it until the client knows it so well they can apply it into other areas of their life and share it with others. You build community and strong connections and know what else is happening in their life outside of class because sometimes it’s those things that need our help more than extra ab crunches.
Additionally, if this extra time spent with clients makes them feel good about their body and promotes autonomy to maintain health and mobility for life, then we too are allied health professionals. We’re helping keep society out of the Physio’s office and Doctor’s surgeries. We just never see what we prevented.
I now view my role as an instructor very differently. I see that I have the opportunity to inspire and motivate movement for life and ultimately share the journey of life with clients, not just the destination.