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How fitness professionals can prevent burnout and set better goals for themselves and their clients

How to prevent burnout as a fitness instructor

Everyone at some point has likely experienced ‘burnout’ – when you feel exhausted, depleted of energy, less enthusiastic about work, and less motivated and productive than usual.

We asked two Merrithew® Instructor Trainers how they keep burnout at bay and how they’re planning to keep themselves and their clients motivated and inspired to move mindfully and stay well in 2021.

1. What are your coping mechanisms for preventing burnout as an instructor?

Bianca Bolissian

Bianca Bolissian
Merrithew Lead Instructor Trainer

Corporate Training Center
Toronto, Canada

Burnout is a real thing for Pilates instructors as we tend to fill up our schedules to the max. A new instructor is trying to grow their business, find new clients, and make ends meet. While more experienced instructors are trying to keep challenging themselves so they don’t fall into their comfort zone as they continue to work with clients who they’ve seen for years and years.

  • Continuing education is key. Look for different workshops and courses that pique your interest; even if it’s outside of movement. Find something that inspires and excites you.
  • Look to your peers. I feel so inspired by the amazing instructors and trainers working around me. I observe them and learn from them constantly.
  • Look online for ideas and inspiration. If you happen to work by yourself or in a more isolated area, check out the amazing variety of folks putting out good quality content on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

Look for diversity in the people you follow and are inspired by; don’t just look at the people who look and move like you. This will make you a better, more versatile and empathetic instructor.

Rouxchelle Denton-Cooke

Rouxchelle Denton-Cooke
Merrithew Instructor Trainer

DC Movement Lab
Gold Coast, Australia

I prioritise one day a week of no work! I make sure my work-social life balance is good. As instructors, we are always giving some of ourselves to our clients and I am a big believer in rewarding yourself. This could be a pamper session or something special that I’ve had my eye on for a while.

As much as I would love to go away at least once a month for a weekend getaway, time doesn’t always allow for this and in the current pandemic, we are much more restricted when it comes to travel.

I love going for forest or beach walks and am so lucky to have both of those options available. This is a quick fix and I try to do this daily with my doggies.

I am not the best mountain biker, but I love going out with my husband to explore and challenge myself to become better – it’s a little scary sometimes, but it always leaves me feeling like I’ve accomplished another goal and taken steps towards overcoming my fear of falling.

Rouxchelle instructing a Reformer class

2. What goals have you set in 2021 to keep you and your clients motivated and inspired?

Bianca Bolissian

For myself, time and compassion. If I learned anything from 2020 personally, it’s that time helps heal and create. And to not be too hard on myself.

For my business, I’m looking to expand and teach more online, so I continue to meet students and instructors from all over the world.

For my clients, since we are still working on a lot of Matwork at home, I intend to keep looking into ways of challenging and inspiring them to move with quality and freedom without the use of the big Pilates equipment.

Rouxchelle with Fitness Circle

Rouxchelle Denton-Cooke

We started the year by helping our clients set goals. Throughout the year, we motivate them to stay accountable to those goals. We keep them engaged by encouraging them, pointing out their accomplishments and helping them notice the progress they’ve achieved.

We are planning on keeping people engaged in 2021 with weight loss and fitness challenges both online and in studio. This will be through four and 12-week challenges that will be interactive and participants will be held accountable for completing their daily goals.

We also have a private interactive Facebook group where all of our online clients can ask questions or just share what a great experience they’ve had or what their favorite workout or exercise was for that day or week.

I also share some tips on that page, such as snack ideas, other activities they can add to complement their workouts, or I simply break down or delve deeper into an exercise for those who want to fine-tune their performance.

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