My Search For Support
I searched high and low for any information, tips, advice and words from those experienced. I was curious to know what went on while training to be a POP Pilates instructor and needed all the tips and advice I could get when I became an instructor in training. I just recently posted a blog post on how I came to be a POP Pilates instructor and now it is my turn to share som tips and advice for those who are looking to be or are instructors in training (this also applies to those who just got certified)!
Just a disclaimer: I am by far an inexperienced fitness instructor. I was a Special Education and Kindergarten teacher and now a Stay-At-Home-Mom. Plus, I was only [POP Pilates] certified about 4 months about and taught my first official regular/paid class just last night (a little more on that experience at the end)! Also, I took the POP Pilates Online Workshop (PPOW) as I reside in Singapore, so it is definitely a different experience than taking a live workshop with the wonderful Master Trainers such as Jules Fultz and Hue Ta aka @cakesmashfitness (how I wish!).
So the following is sharing from my experience on what worked for me and just to help calm some of your nerves down as I’m sure you must be thinking “What was I thinking signing up for this?!” Because that’s exactly what I thought the moment I clicked and confirmed that sign up button.
My Tips, Advice and Experience
So just a run through of what it would look like from beginning to end (from a PPOW point of view): You sign up. you have 3 months to study, learn and pass. In order to pass you “only” need to do two main things – study for an online exam by reading the Instructor’s Manual book, Take and hand in a video of you teaching to at least 3 students by the end of the 3 months (aka hand in your evaluation video).
It’s only 2 things right? But it is intimidating I know! Especially that video evaluation. So first and foremost I want you to know this. It is a truth and a fact: The “evaluators” are out there to help you, NOT to look for mistakes. They KNOW where we come from, how nerve wracking it is to take and pass over an evaluation video. They are there to build us up not to tear us down.
Now on to the advice and tips:
- Sign up!
- Let the whole world know – Post it on Instagram or facebook. It is a time to celebrate you just stepped out of your comfort zone to do something crazy but amazing! And you will get plenty of support from the Instagram community. Don’t forget to hashtag #blogilates and #poparmy
- Take a deep breath – You CAN do this.
- Explore the portal – Take some time to browse through the portal, read comments in the forum, skim through the manual and watch some of the videos. If you are a PPOW student the book and bracelet will be mailed to you.
- Set dates – What I did was I set a date I wanted to take the online exam around mid-way of the 3 months time line given. And I set my video evaluation for the last Sunday so that I had the last few days to send in my video in case of any technical issues. And of course so I could have ample time to practice, practice, practice. I also set aside 2 other Sundays to practice the choreography with my friends.
- Start planning – Where will you get and play your music from (I signed up for Spotify and bought some speakers)? Who will be your students for the evaluation video? Where will you take the video? What will you use to record the videos? When do you plan to remind your students about the date to taking the video? Do you need to provide mats for them?
- Space out time to practice and prepare – Asides from the 2 important dates mentioned about, set some rough dates of when you plan to practice the first choreography then add on the 2nd, 3rd and etc.
- Practice in stages – Watch and practice along with the video first, listen to the music and practice along with the music only, then practice with the music and also talking/teaching at the same time. For me I memorised the whole routine first then practice talking and doing the moves at the same time. Do what works for you.
- Cues and Praise – Saying things on the spot does not come naturally to me, so I wrote down the cues and praise that Cassey would say in the videos to help me know what to say.
- Send in your evaluation video – I took my video Sunday morning, sent it in Sunday night and I received the email that I passed on Monday evening!
- Take the feedback as constructive criticism – Remember they are here to help us.
- Plan again – Bask in your accomplishment and then start thinking about what you plan to do next.
For PPOW instructors we will get an email with our certificate a few weeks or a month later. I found out I passed in September but my certificate was emailed to me and it says I am officially an instructor since October. Oh and that’s not the best part – we get the code for our very own 20% off of all popflex active items!
I had my meet up in December and then started my regular classes just last night!
Continue to Learn and Grow
Now, a heads up. We may be certified but we still have lots to learn and more to practice. It’s exciting when we get the new choreography. It means there’s always something to learn and practice, so continue to work hard. My first regular class didn’t go as well as I had hoped. But it just made me realise not to get too cocky, to be humble and not to take practicing forgranted. We won’t be great right away but don’t give up! Enjoy the journey.
Not the Perfect Start
Let me tell you more about the first class last night. First I forgot to introduce myself (even though only one person didn’t know me personally). Second, I totally blanked and mixed up moves! But I transitioned smoothly and the class didn’t know the difference but it was still nerve wracking for me. My students still said they enjoyed it and I had such nice and encouraging comments from them.
Still, I went home and did some self-reflection/feedback. Here’s what I need to do/improve:
- Introduce myself (duh lol!).
- Stand up, look around more, go and correct/help students.
- Since words don’t come naturally to me on the spot I need to continually read my choreo notes and the manual and also the cues and praises I noted down from the videos.
- I need to always practice with talking! (Yes, sometimes I get lazy or it’s kinda awkward to talk and workout when it’s just me).
- I also need to listen to the music everyday.
- Finally, I need to find a system of incorporating new choreography that is released now that I’m teaching classes regularly.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out or to find fellow instructors or instructors in training to talk to or ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or make comments on the portal forum or on the facebook group. I would like to share a few instructors and their Instagram/blog where you can find some useful information or just connect with:
- Steph @xogingy and her blog
- Rebecca Skala @cupcakeilates and her blog
- Katie Shin @kstjshin and her blog
- Cindy Snow @csnowfit and her blog
- Me, Lerie! @sheactuallycan and of course I’ll be updating my POP Pilates journey here on this blog.
- #poparmy is where you will find other instructors to reach out to too.
Always remember whether you are still in training or just newly certified you are in good hands! This is such a loving and supportive group in all stages of this journey. All the best!
Are you a POP Pilates instructor in training? Add me on Instagram and say hi! I would love to follow your progress.
Are you a POP Pilates instructor? Write in the comments below any other tips and advice that you have!
P.S. Feeling confident to be a POP Pilates Instructor? Sign up now!