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Avoid burnout and keep clients engaged – why fitness instructors need to keep learning and practicing

When it comes to fitness education, Nicole Boehm’s got it all. To name just a few of her certifications: She’s an ACE personal trainer, an AFAA group fitness instructor and a Merrithew Instructor Trainer specializing in STOTT PILATES® and CORE Athletic Conditioning & Performance Training. And even after 12 years of teaching fitness, she’s still seeking more education.

Nicole attended Merrithew’s Instructor Trainer Week at the Toronto Corporate Training Center in late October where she’s working on getting her STOTT PILATES Injuries and Special Populations IT designation.

“If you’re not learning, you’re not pushing yourself, and you’re not bridging those gaps within your own knowledge,” she says. “Even with me today being at this for 12 years, I’m still learning and you always have to continue learning or you’re not growing as an instructor and then your cueing gets stale and you might find you’re in burnout.”

In order to better serve your clients— and take care of your own wellbeing— education is key, she says.

Having personal and professional experience in so many fitness modalities also helps her better relate to her clients and understand their needs.

“I can talk about what is happening to their body at mile 22 of a marathon and how Pilates is going to improve their core, their breathing and help them get to the finish line,” she says.

It’s also important to keep practicing what you teach, she adds.

Nicole Boehm working with student on Ladder Barrel

“Make a commitment to yourself that even as you grow in your career, you will not stop practicing Pilates. We start teaching because we love Pilates, then we get busy in the studio all day and forget to take care of our own bodies. Keep taking classes, practice on the Reformer, and go to as many workshops as you can,” Nicole says.

Find out more about our continuing education workshops.

Nicole’s fitness picks

What’s your favorite prop for keeping clients engaged?

“I love the Fitness Circle® because it’s a multipurpose tool that can provide stability or create intensity in any workout. To achieve stability in the shoulders, a client can hold it while doing a Spine Twist. To intensify a workout, you can put it between the legs to challenge the adductors during Bend and Stretch.”

What’s your favorite exercise right now?

“For me, this changes all the time. But recently I’ve been practicing a lot of Front Splits. I’m terrified of heights, so when I first went through the training, I had to have a spotter hold my hand. Now I can finally do this exercise on my own. I can feel all the correct muscles working and I can make this a mindful exercise that I enjoy.”

Looking for a career change? Find out how to land your dream job as a fitness professional.

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