The everyday language and words we choose to use say a lot about who we are as a person. Whether you’re a man of many words or a woman of a few (or vice versa!), when you listen closely you can gather valuable insight into a person’s passion and convictions. Amid my communications with Angie Asmann, founder and owner of NuFIT for YOU Fitness, I quickly caught her incessant use of a simple, four-letter word: “F-E-E-L.”
Once an overworked accountant, weighing in just south of 300 pounds, Angie discovered firsthand how the power of positive impressions significantly influenced her own fitness journey. She now carries that passion wildly into her business. “At NuFIT, we believe that everyone deserves to feel good. So, I intentionally built a center that could be much more than any other group fitness studio. Helping people be happier is our goal.”
Entering their sixth year of operation, with a staff of 10 personal trainers and 25 group fitness instructors, NuFIT has grown to more than 100 classes per week. Indoor cycling, rowing, TRX, Zumba, interval training, yoga, Pilates, and others fill NuFIT’s calendar.
“People have a lot of choices when it comes to working out. Not just where they work out but whom they work out with. I believe that people are not buying a Spinning® or Pilates class, but they are buying a FEELING.”
So, how does an exercise facility, commonly known for an emphasis on physical fitness, begin to embrace emotional fitness as well? Angie shared eight great insights and tips to consider, whether leading a studio staff of 25, or a studio filled with 25 students or more.
Great instructors are leading LIFE from their bike.
Vulnerability goes a long way in the classroom. “For some, they are there to increase fitness levels. Others are struggling to get through life. This is their escape. I am just very honest and open,” Angie confessed. “Probably sometimes too much! But it’s real.”
Instructors have more power than they recognize. Leaders need to understand that the enjoyment students experience from interacting with them may be the ONLY catalyst that motivates them to keep coming back.
Remember where you’ve been.
“I hold no judgments, because I’ve been where many of my students are today,” Angie recalls. “So, I remain completely relatable.”
As instructors, we cannot forget what it felt like as a participant. Leaders need to have the capacity to place themselves in the shoes of their members—even though the shoes might not fit completely. We each have a “before-I-got-to-ride-the-instructor-bike” story and it’s never a bad idea to remind your class of this truth.
Drive the feeling of your class with music and presentation.
“We’ve all experienced classes that didn’t make any difference; and then we have been in those where we’ve felt the earth move!” Angie feels the music selection is critical in that it should express and enhance the purpose, emotion, vibe, and condition of the class, as well as connect with any spoken presentation.
Remove ALL barriers to entry. The back end should make your front end shine.
The entry to your studio is one of the most important topics to consider, especially in a competitive market. Angie knows that if any potential client runs into ANY barrier, he will simply say, “Next!” and move to the next club down the street.
Angie’s list of logistical barriers for consideration includes:
- Can they find you? And what happens when they do?!
- How will they register and pay?
- If a class is full, how will they know they moved up on the wait list?
- Who is going to look into their eyes and welcome them when the walk through the door?
- Who will provide proper bike setup? And deliver a solid class?
- Who will sincerely thank them for coming and participating?
Angie concluded, “The initial feeling a client receives from any involvement with your studio sets the tone for the rest of their impressions. It must be great from the get-go.”
Busy doesn’t mean great.
“When I opened, I was teaching 25 classes per week. You simply cannot be great when you are so busy. When you’re the face of the studio, you have to be ON!” It took some time, but Angie learned her limits and now realizes club owners must stay refreshed and energized to stay on top of the newest fitness trends, as well as to avoid burnout. The only way to accomplish this is by having a trusted staff.
Hire like-minded employees; better yet, raise them up!
Angie loves to talk about her trainer/instructor team. “One of my favorite success stories is about April. She came to NuFIT very introverted and overweight. As soon as she lost 30 pounds, she began to blossom. She is now one of my go-to subs for my cycling classes and people absolutely love her! NuFIT changed her and now she is changing others.”
Time and time again the staff at NuFIT has been birthed from the fitness floor to the instructional bike—individuals whose confidence flourished amidst the very culture Angie has been so intent to create.
Remember, abilities are not the same.
Sometimes the very act of exercise can be a barrier that halts or stalls success. Many people fear physical fitness simply because they started out with something way too difficult. Observation and education of your audience is key to help stop over-exertion failures.
Clients want to feel successful.
NuFIT keeps it real in their indoor cycling classes and it is important for their clients to ride safely within their abilities. Angie’s goal: “By the time they finish their ride, I want them to feel like a rock star. No matter what, it’s important that people feel successful.”
Knowing it takes months for physical results to show from any work at the gym, instructors need to make EACH class a success for EVERY participant, rather than focus on a later outcome. It has been proven that positive emotions broaden the way people think and respond. So when you place this principle into the context of indoor cycling, by celebrating often, you will automatically increase responsive results and retention of your riders.
Feelings hold great power and lead a large majority of our everyday decisions. As instructors we have fantastic tools, knowledge, and training mechanisms built around physical fitness coaching. But we would be amiss if we chose to forgo the strength emotional fitness wields in the well-being of each of our students.
Try something simple next week. Adopt Angie Asmann’s NuFIT mantra and see how it affects your teaching. Repeat after me . . .
“I believe EVERYONE deserves to FEEL GOOD.”
Now repeat it again. This time until you mean it.