Fitness, Personal Training, & Exercise Science

4 Ways Fitness Instructors Can Avoid Burnout

In any profession, burnout is always a danger, especially when schedules get packed with classes and “free time” is when you catch up on paperwork. Even when you absolutely love your job and look forward to seeing clients and students, there still may be a risk that a point will come where you’re feeling restless or bored.

Fitness instructors aren’t immune to the burnout flu. For many, workdays can start to feel repetitive even when classes are fun or clients are showing results. Whether you’re just starting to feel these rumblings, or you simply want to keep them from occurring, here are some ways to prevent burnout.

1. Revisit Your “Why”

When your days are filled with making up client plans, guiding them through sessions, arranging group classes, and doing other tasks, it’s easy to forget why you decided to become a fitness instructor in the first place. But it’s worth bringing yourself back to that big, exciting moment when you decided to take the leap.

Set some time aside—make an appointment for yourself if necessary—to write down what you’ve accomplished this week, and how that fits in with your larger mission. That can help you see when you may be starting to get off track.

2. Freshen Your Skills

Even if you’re at the top of your game as a fitness instructor, you know that there’s always something new to learn. If you haven’t gotten your personal trainer certification or group fitness instructor certification yet but have wanted to pursue either of those routes, this may be the time to go for it.

If you do have one of those certifications, you might consider getting more specialized knowledge, such as learning how to put together aquatic classes, incorporating cardio kickbox or indoor cycling into your class rotation, or gaining knowledge about Yoga techniques or Pilates programs. Expanding the range of what you provide can keep you excited about the challenge of new classes and strategies. It can also open up many more opportunities in terms of where you teach now and into the future.

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3. Narrow Your Focus

Some fitness instructors thrive on teaching a broad variety of students and putting together group classes that attract dozens or even hundreds of participants. But others might benefit from the opposite route. If there’s a certain group of clients and students that’s especially appealing to you, putting together instruction just for them can be refreshing.

For example, you might love the idea of teaching kids and teens, so youth fitness is a great direction for you. Similarly, you may be more inclined to want to address the highly specific needs of pregnant women and new moms, so your route could be pre- and post-natal fitness. Or you might prefer to work with seniors—an incredibly fast-growing part of the fitness world—and so getting knowledge on senior fitness tactics would be your best bet.

4. Notice Your Attention Pull

As you contemplate what type of direction to take, start to notice what you read and research the most, and that can help clarify your interests. Maybe you would love to prevent injuries among clients who do triathlons. Or you actually spend the majority of your non-training time reading about nutrition and meal plans. Whatever draws your focus is what’s engaging you most, and that’s likely a direction worth pursuing.

No matter what path you take, making sure to switch up what you’re doing in a major or minor way can keep the profession fresh and engaging for you. When that happens, boredom fizzles and burnout isn’t an option.

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