Accountability is the best trait for any fitness professional

Like a lot of fitness professionals, Les Mills group exercise instructors – like myself – are held to extremely high standards and expect to follow them.

The classes we present aren’t for us. They’re for our members. That’s why we hold ourselves accountable to high standards and that’s why we hard-working instructors don’t like it when the lessons taught at initial training aren’t brought back to our home clubs.

With that being said, here are my four biggest pet-peeves any Les Mills instructor can showcase. I have to thank Tribe member Kimi Godina for bringing this topic to my attention recently. My two cents:

1. Teaching with choreography notes on the stage. 

This ticks me off more than anything. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about it. Part of the job description of a Les Mills instructor is to know the choreography to a T. Do we mess up once in a while? Absolutely. It happens. We’re not perfect. Nobody is. Whenever I screw up, I do 20 pushups following the track. But there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for not knowing choreography to a point where notes sit in front of an instructor during class. And sadly, half the time, group fitness managers don’t do anything about it. In the immortal words of a legendary NFL coach: Do your job. It’s pretty cut and dry.

2. Changing the choreography. 

This is pretty cut and dry. The folks in New Zealand choreograph and put these workouts together for a reason. They’re safe, they’re effective and 100 percent backed by science. If any instructor feels the need to change them in any shape or form, their certification should be permanently yanked. A lot of people have made outstanding changes in their lives thanks to Les Mills training systems, so why change it? Teach the workouts the way they’re intended to be taught. Simple. I’m a self-proclaimed “choreography nazi” for a reason. I’ve also heard stories of instructors adding extra singles and bottom halves to BodyPump tracks and taking breaks out, because the track isn’t “hard enough.” Recoveries are there for a reason, and adding extra work is a good way for somebody to get hurt.

3. Picking “easy” tracks. 

I can understand with instructors who aren’t feeling well, are coming off injuries, and the like, who need to take it easy upon returning to teaching. Hell, I teach sick unless I have food poisoning. But purposely picking easy tracks? C’mon! I always preach to my participants, “If you don’t challenge yourself, you won’t change.” And if you want your members and yourself to see change and growth, picking challenging tracks is the way to go. Be a role model!

4. No accountability 

This is pretty cut and dry. If you make a choreography mistake, own up to it. Be accountable for the class you’re presenting and the job you’re doing. This includes keeping in tip-top shape on your non-teaching days. Yes, we all need that day off and we have to listen to our bodies, but if we aren’t role models for our members, what is that going to teach them?

Again, thanks to Kimi Godina for bringing this to my attention. You rock, girl, and hope to see you in New Orleans!

Ryan McLaughlin

About Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective with BDN readers about what's happening on the Boston professional sports scene.