4 Tips for Longevity as a Fitness Professional

We’re Not Super-Human! Our bodies get tired, need rest, and need fuel just like everyone else.

As much as it hurts me to say, being a group ex instructor does NOT make us super-human!  It would be amazing if our group exercise certifications came with them a cape that made us immune to science.  Or we got a super power that allowed the basic rules of fatigue, famish, and injury to repel off our bodies.  Maybe one day, but at this point, certs simply give us the knowledge and skills to teach a class, not the skills to take over the world!  Thus, without super-human powers, we must treat our bodies like the delicate and needy beings we are.

Teaching puts lots of wear and tear on our bodies, and while we love it, we must realize that over time this wear and tear will play a toll on us.  Here are four quick tips on how to listen and respond to the needs of your body, and keep us teaching like superheroes for years to come!

Value Rest Days.

More is not always better.  While we want to teach that 3rd class on a day, what will it do to our bodies? Just like we tell our members & clients, rest is vital for recovery.  It is actually during these periods of rest that we are getting stronger, repairing the muscle breakdown, and allowing proper nutrients to get to the muscles.

20 classes/week may sound like a badge of honor, but it will catch up with you after time!

Feel like you are always eating.

There WILL be days, when despite our best efforts, that you teach multiple classes back to back.  On these days, it is extremely important to be eating before, during, and after classes.  Even though we aren’t giving 100% effort in each class, our body is still being pushed, calories are still being burnt, and muscle energy stores are being depleted.  We can’t forget to eat and recover from our classes.

Consider getting your RMR (resting metabolic rate) calculated by a professional, this will give you a better understanding of the minimum number of calories you need to consume each day just to be a sleeping human.  Your activity level will greatly impact that number.  (Years ago when I was teaching 20+ classes/week and training for a marathon I needed a minimum of 3,000 calories/day just to maintain baseline!)

Take cat naps.

Crazy working hours can often lead to poor sleeping habits.  If you routinely wake up super early to teach classes, there is a high probability you aren’t getting enough sleeping hours.  Naps can help with this.  Research shows that on average the adult body needs 7-8 hours of sleep to feel rested.  As you start decreasing those hours, cognitive functioning, stress levels, and performance abilities start to decline.  Multiple days with a deficit of sleeping hours will catch up with you, often causing the immune system to fight back and you to get sick.

Discover how many hours your body needs to feel rested, rejuvenated, and perform at its best, then aim to get that each night OR through power naps during the day.

Use a microphone & don’t yell.

While you may be super loud and can easily talk over the music, you shouldn’t!  Wearing a microphone not only helps your class hear you but also protects your throat and vocal cords.  Have you ever heard a person who sounds like they constantly have a frog in their throat?  This is often the result of years of trauma to the vocal cords without adequate rest.

This yelling and lack of microphone use make us more prone to developing a nasty condition known as vocal nodules.  Vocal nodules are benign growths that form on the vocal folds, resulting from repeated vocal trauma/abuse without periods of rest.  Over time, repeated abuse of the vocal cords results in soft, swollen spots on each vocal cord. These spots develop into harder, callous-like growths called nodules. The nodules will become larger and stiffer the longer the vocal abuse continues.  Read more about vocule nodules from the American Speach-Language-Hearing Association.

Instead of putting yourself at risk of a not fun sounding surgery, get a mic and turn the music down!


These may sound like some silly tips, and I can imagine many of you are saying “I don’t need to do that”, but as a person who use to think I was immune to science, know you aren’t!  Over the coming weeks, I will share some insight into how thinking I was super-human resulted in some pretty nasty overtraining and eventually a rare fungal infection in my head.

Have other tips you want to share, let us know below!

4 Tips for Longevity as a Fit Pro

Summer N. Sides, M.S.

Founder, GXunited

Summer Sides (MS, CSCS, RYT-200) is a self-proclaimed exercise science geek. She loves exploring human movement and finding ways to help people stand taller, move easier, and perform better. Her training methodology includes a mixture of movement pattern training, yoga philosophies, Pilates technique, and aerobic endurance training.

Her fitness career began almost 20 years ago and has provided her with some great opportunities to train athletes, create certifications and CEC courses, and teach group exercise classes. Most recently she worked as a full time Lecturer of Exercise Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver and is the owner of GXunited.

Summer loves learning and has furthered her career by obtaining an MS in Kinesiology & BS in Exercise Science. She is an NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, 200-hr Registered Yoga Teacher, ACE Certified Group Exercise Instructor, Balance Body Pilates Reformer Coach, RRCA Certified Running Coach, and holds many specialty certifications.

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MS: Kinesiology
BS: Exercise & Sports Science
BA: Dance

NSCA: Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
ACSM: Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP-C)
Yoga Alliance: 200-hr RYT
ACE: Group Fitness Instructor
Balanced Body: Reformer Level 1 Coach
Schwinn: Indoor Cycle Instructor
RRCA: Running Coach

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4 Tips for Longevity as a Fitness Professional

by Summer N. Sides, M.S. Time to Read: 3 min