Tales & Tips from an Insanity Instructor

I was certified back in November to teach the workout that helped me JUMP START my fitness journey through running and increased endurance – INSANITY! – in a Group Fitness environment.
Since then I’ve been teaching a class each Wednesday evening and have gotten a GREAT response with regulars coming each week [and in all levels of fitness] – happy dance!
Having gotten past ‘the first class’ experience and jitters, I’ve also learned a bit along the way to not only help me as an instructor but also to engage gym-goers and encourage them to take the class itself!
* The word “Insanity” can be daunting –
I take the time to walk round the gym and get to know people – SO much fun – and I tell them about the class. Right when they hear the word INSANITY they usually say “Oh no, I can’t do that.” I walk them through a few moves and demonstrate that they don’t HAVE to jump and that Insanity refers to the fact that they are working on Max Interval Training. Instead of steady state exercise for a long time with spurts of high intensity, you’re doing the opposite. I even let them know that after they do the [only] 30 minute workout that they burn MORE calories for 30 more minutes POST-exercise due to their hard work!
* Modifications ARE possible! Every move in Insanity is able to be modified. I have a couple of ladies w ho come to EVERY class and never jump. They won’t jump until they feel they can master those jumping movements with proper form. Until then, they can modify and get just as hard of a workout in because it’s their own INDIVIDUALIZED workout; they’re not competing with anyone else.
* Set an example and JOIN IN – I usually do a run through of all of the movements, particularly new ones if we’re doing a new Round we haven’t done in class before. I start each cycle and then come around to check on everyone and be sure they are in proper form. If someone is struggling I join in with them right beside them – teamwork is key sometimes!

* Encourage competition only with EACH INDIVUDAL – Like I said, I try to tell the class they are not competing with anyone else but themselves. If people get caught up in looking around and mimicking others, they run the risk of pushing too hard or using improper form if they’re not ready – so I stress this constantly!

* Between rest periods ensure ACTIVE recovery and rehydration – People want to plop. It’s just second nature. This workout is TOUGH! I encourage them to grab water, walk around but not STOP cold turkey and sit down and PLOP. If their heart rate drops too low and spikes back up again it could hurt them or make them dizzy.
* Be a BALL OF FUN – When doing a tough workout like Insanity, no one wants a grumpy Gus. They need ENERGY and EXCITEMENT and check ins to be sure they keep PUSHING as hard as they can! The 30 minutes should fly by!
* It’s not YOUR workout, it’s THEIR workout – As a group fitness instructor who’s not doing the mirror method, it can be tough to start doing burpees or suicides and not realize ‘hey this isn’t my workout, it’s their workout.” I demonstrate movements and join in WITH them, but try not to get sucked into feeling like I’m a participant and go mute.Out of the two classes I teach, this is my favorite! I love how Shaun T makes appearances in the music and there are cues within the music to help me along the way – it’s foolproof really! It also shows people their TRUE potential and that they can do a hard workout they never thought possible!Do you have an Insanity class in your neck of the woods?
Group Fitness instructors: What are your tips of the trade?

HI! I'M KAT - I am a pug-mom, wife, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, & Fitness Coach focusing on living the fit life while tackling work, coaching others - doing it all! My blog is to hold me accountable for all the goals I plan on accomplishing and also a way for me to try to inspire others through my own experiences - if I can do it ANYONE can! Fitness is a huge part of my life as well as travel and seeing all that life has to be lived! PAY IT FORWARD!

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  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 11:50 am

    You’re so right about wanting an instructor for that class who is a ball of energy- I am sure you are awesome!!

    • Reply
      February 26, 2014, 1:54 pm

      aw thanks Laura I’d love to have you in class!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 1:12 pm

    SO fun! I am sure that your enthusiasm radiates during your classes! 🙂 I also love that you encourage each person to work out at their own pace – that makes a huge difference!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 1:53 pm

    I bet you are the BEST instructor!!!!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 1:54 pm

    I love this! I teach kickboxing and know the more energy you give the more energy you get! And 100% I think more instructors NEED to get in their heads when your teaching that ISN’T your workout, it’s about the people in your class! Great post. How do you get people to take photos…my classes are always like nah…

    • Reply
      February 26, 2014, 1:54 pm

      haha it depends – they know I’m a big social media nut so oblige most times 😉

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 2:22 pm

    No insanity classes around here (that I know of). Can I come take your class??!!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 2:38 pm

    With all the positive energy you exude, this must be an amazing class. If I lived near you, I would be a regular! It is so nice too when an instructor makes everyone feel capable. For some of us, it is intimidating just to walk through the doors of a new class. You are a great cheerleader for all!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 3:37 pm

    Awesome job!! I have no doubt that you are an amazing instructor with so much energy!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 4:15 pm

    I have no doubt that you are an amazing instructor! LOVE THIS

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 5:34 pm

    I have been too scared to take the classes my gym offers…my klutizness prevents me from joining in…lol… 🙂


  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 5:49 pm

    No Insanity classes at my gym. I’m sure there are some at the nearby gyms though

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 8:12 pm

    I bet you are a great Insanity instructor! Not one here but I sort of think I would like to get certified. I love Insanity!!!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 9:21 pm

    I love the idea of an Insanity class, although we don’t have them near me. I love an instructor that demonstrates and corrects, sounds like you are an amazing instructor!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 11:33 pm

    This is such a fun post–and I would love to take one of your classes! The best group instructors simply radiate positivity and tons of energy and really get the class into it

  • Reply
    February 26, 2014, 11:47 pm

    I would love to have you kick my butt in an insanity class!

  • Reply
    February 27, 2014, 2:21 am

    No Insanity classed here, but I but you’d be an awesome instructor.

  • Reply
    February 27, 2014, 3:31 am

    OMG I am so not a fan of group work out classes but if you were teaching, I WOULD HAVE TO GO- However you would probably call me out 8 million times in a row, LOL!!


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