Fit Pros: Be the “Go To” Substitute

Some group exercise instructors may dread it when their coordinator calls them at the last minute desperately searching for a sub, or may do anything they can not to cover a class for a traveling coworker. Me, I relish these opportunities. I jump at the chance to get in and sub a class. Sometimes I actually think I like subbing more than having regularly scheduled class!

Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but over the years I have taught in a multitude of different clubs, all of whom did scheduling a little bit differently. Some gave you a class and it was yours until you wanted nothing more to do with it. Others had you submit your monthly availability and they put you into a rotating schedule. And others simply had you “on call” to be a sub when needed. All styles have their pluses and minuses (talk about scheduling nightmares when you are submitting your schedules to multiple places with no guaranteed certainty of anything).

Through all this, I learned that being a sub was actually a pretty great opportunity.  Once I got over the fact that I was seeing “new” people, and embraced it, I realized that getting in there actually made me a rock star!  I was able to “put on a show” and be this really awesome instructor that they had never seen before.  I was able to pull out all my best material and be wonderful.  It allowed me the chance to be free and have some fun!  I discovered that being a Rock Star Substitute had its major perks!

6 more reasons to rock it out

  1. You can pull out your best material!
    No reason to plan a new class, come up with new playlists, or create new coaching scripts.  Simply pull out your best material and go in with a full head of confidence to rock out what you know so well!
  2. Your jokes are new again!
    Yes, you know you have it, those things that are funny the first time you say them (“they don’t like it when you grab the balls with your fingers ladies, so spread those fingers wide and get them off the balls!), but over time your regulars just look at you with that “get a new line lady” look on their faces.  Well with a whole new crowd, your jokes are funny all over again!
  3. You get to see new people.
    Okay for some this may be scary, but I think it is loads of fun.  It gives you the opportunity to show off your skills and talents to people who may not otherwise have ever come to your classes.  You may gain new followers simply by showing up in a new place and new time.
  4. Consistency is good, but change and new experiences make you better.
    Who doesn’t love the thrill of a new car or going to a new vacation destination spot versus the same old tired beach?  The same can be said about your classes.  If you get comfortable eventually the novelty starts to wear off and you no longer push yourself to be better or do more, because your people know what to expect from you.  However, when you sub it is like finding a brand new vacation destination…You have to pull out all the stops and make it an amazing experience for these new participants all over again.
  5. Makes you say things in new ways.
    Your participants get use to your nuances and understand what it means when you say “knees & squeeze”, but a new group of people have no idea what you mean by that.  It gets you think about what you are saying and say it with purpose and focus.
  6. If you do something crazy or embarrassing, you may never see those people again! How great is this.  You can get up there and put yourself on the line because it is likely some of those people you may never see again.  Yay!

These are just some of the reasons why it’s fun to be a Group Exercise Instructor substitute.  So next time you get that last minute call from your coordinator jump on board and go be that “rock start substitute”

Let me know what it is you LOVE about subbing, leave a comment and share your amazing subbing experiences.


Group Fitness Professionals: Substitute with success

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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Fit Pros: Be the “Go To” Substitute

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