Fitness and aerobic classes commonly have the following components:
- Warm up
- Cardiovascular conditioning
- Resistance conditioning
- Cool Down
Most classes are based on these components and require a qualified professional instructor to design and conduct them.
Class Intensity & Duration
How do we determine this. The type of class timetabled at the health and fitness centre will depend on the clients goals. Sessions that cater for clients who want to primarily gain cardiovascular will need to have at least 20 minutes in the cardiovascular phase. The longer this phase the fitter the individuals will become. Keeping in mind that classes are commonly one hour in duration, this includes a warm up, and resistance/cool down which can take up to 20 - 30 minutes. Realistically, a one hour aerobic class will only provide participants with a limited fitness component.
If the duration is set then the other factor to consider is intensity. The level of fitness
gained will depend on how hard the participant works. At least 60% of the participants maximum heart rate is the target for increasing fitness. If exercisers can work at 75% or more then the fitter they will become. The maximum rate at which participants should work is 85%. Above this and they are working in the anaerobic stage which cannot be continued for very long due to lactic acid build up and fatigue.
Before beginners start an exercise class it is important that instructors and staff know their goals, fitness level and medical history/condition. When 30 people are in a class, one instructor cannot monitor every person individually. Any medial concerns therefore need to be raised. A pre-class screening can help the instructor or gym staff advise the participant as to which class would best suit their needs. If someone wants to build strength, for example, and does not care about cardiovascular endurance, then they will not be suited to a, advanced fitness class which goes for 1.5 hours in duration.
Before the class begins the following should ideally be done by the instructor.
- An introduction
- Welcome everyone, especially new members of the class
- Ask questions
- Provide any necessary instructions
Hello, my name is Claire and I will be taking the fitness aerobics class today.
Is there anyone new here that has never done aerobics before?
Is there anyone that has never done one of my classes before?
I need to know if their are any injuries.
If you find you need a rest or cannot keep up please keep moving/jogging as you will still be increasing your fitness.
Please make sure you drink plenty of water during the class. The drinking fountain is over there if you need it.
Please enjoy yourselves.
People who are new need to have explained what to expect, what to do if they cannot keep up, and if they have any questions. Sometimes it is better to find out exactly who are new to aerobics first and brief them before you introduce yourself to the remainder of the class. People with injuries need to know what precautions to take and you need to make sure they have seen a medical practitioner prior to joining in the class.
During the class their needs to be plenty of clear, concise instruction. A good aerobics instructor is one who provides motivation and verbal cues for what is coming up, not someone who babbles on all the time. If too much information is given then participants can get lost as to what they should be doing, and they often tune out. This can lead to low motivation and accidents with class members bumping into each other or not using correct technique.
Many instructors get caught up in babbling down the microphone about their weekend and it is sounds like a muffled mess. Think of the following chain for your next class.
Countdown - Always count the next move in unless it is really obvious (towards the conclusion of the class the next move may be known because you have already spent 20 - 30 minutes practising it).
Provide verbal and non verbal cues (smile, nods and winks) to generate excitement with clients. Make this sound different each time because it is motivation not a tape recorder. Even `good job' repeated in different tones/pitch gets boring.
Choose what you want to say carefully and say it without adding unnecessary information. Do not get lost with what you are trying to get across. Is it technique, motivation, counting down or encouragement? Choose your words and make them quick, clear and concise.
During the class the heart rate should be monitored especially for people wanting to increase fitness. A resting (before the class), active (during the class) and post-exercise (after the class) heart rate should ideally be taken. This enables participants to monitor their heart rate. This is extremely important for individuals with any type of heart/medical problems.
When instructing a class it is important that it is pitched carefully at the type of clients attending. A hard choreographed dance routine may be too complex for people trying to get fit or those with little experience at such classes, or who have poor co-ordination. They will spend most of their time just trying to keep up with the coordination of the movements. In the end, they will leave the class because their goals are not being achieved.
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