With the holiday season quickly approaching, now is the time to check in with yourself and prepare for the upcoming season. We all know that holidays can wreak havoc in managing class schedules, participant numbers, and client motivation.
We spoke with Recess’ own, Keisha Saddler, a fitness instructor of 15 years, and Nan Luma, a movement-positive coach, for expert tips on how to ensure success despite any holiday craze. Read more about how they keep their schedules organized, maximize time for fitness, and find time for restoration and relaxation.
One key element to creating a successful class schedule during this season is to prepare. Nan’s mantra is “if you don’t plan your work, you can’t work your plan.” Whether you're using a real-life calendar or a virtual one, plan with a big picture view of the next three months to stay on track, and assure consistency for yourself and your clients.
- Take account of your own needs first. Decide on how many classes you will teach and when. Block these out. Then, consider any other work you have to complete and make time for that too. Remember to utilize big picture planning to keep ahead of changing schedules. Nan swears by scheduling things until "forever” (or at least for the foreseeable future) to hold herself and clients accountable to a dedicated time each week.
- Think about your clients. Be strategic in the sessions you block out for your clients so that your classes align with their free time. The benefit of the virtual Recess platform is the ability to reach clients wherever they live. Keisha plans her class schedule for clients on both coasts and considers the times they will be more inclined to join her for a workout.
- Timing is important. During holiday weeks, be extra mindful about your scheduled class times. Keisha reminds us that clients will find time to work out if that time works out for them. “People will have at least 30 minutes to get activity in.” Scheduling classes earlier in the morning the day before, the day of, and the day after major holidays tend to work best for clients.
- Front-load your week. This year, the major holidays fall at the end of the week. Nan advises in preparation for the possible lost time, schedule more classes at the beginning of the week to give your clients plenty of opportunities to get moving without an excuse!
Keep motivation high.
Winter months and holidays create the perfect storm for putting off working out until “later.” Understand that clients may be busy, but use this time to spark their inspiration and hold them accountable to their fitness goals.
- Create an accountability community. Nan aims to create accountability communities within each of her classes. "We aren't meant to [reach fitness goals] alone," she notes. When clients show up week after week, your classes become an accountability squad. Together, everyone works to keep each other motivated and stick to a routine even with holiday plans afloat.
- Scaffold your workouts. Keisha brings clients back to her classes week after week by scaffolding the skills. Each week she teaches a more advanced version of the week before allowing clients to push themselves and keep their energy high with her support.
- Keep your energy high. Keisha notes there is a distinct difference between teaching a class with no empty spots and teaching a class for only one or two people. She urges instructors to "keep the same energy flow generated from a full virtual class even when numbers are low." When you show up and give it your all, your clients are likely to follow suit. Use small class sizes as an opportunity to build relationships that keep clients coming back, especially once the new year hits!
- Encourage your clients to commit. Remind your clients of their fitness goals and assist them in maintaining the same level of performance they’ve held throughout the year. Nan encourages her clients to commit to anything that moves them forward. So, if your client has to miss a session, ask them, "What will you commit to that aligns with your goals?"
Recess protip: incentivize clients during the holiday season by offering discounted class sessions.
Rest and reset.
An essential part of staying on track during this time is maintaining an effective self-care routine. “It’s important to check-in with yourself,” Nan says, “If it feels like this (a hectic schedule) isn’t what you intended, you need to adjust.”
- Block out time for you. When using your big picture view to create your class schedule, make sure you're using a good chunk of free time to block out time for you. Create a list of self-care strategies you want to indulge yourself in and pencil them in.
- Accept classes may slow down. Keisha notes this will likely happen. She urges instructors to view the slower pace as an opportunity and remember that this is the natural ebb and flow of the holiday season. Once the new year starts, classes will pick up steam. Take all the time you can now to rest!
- Pay it forward. Nan uses the holiday season to pay it forward to other instructors. Realizing the holiday season can be a hard time for many, she encourages wellness professionals to help each other out and provide services to one another. After all, it is the season of giving!
Virtual class platforms make it so much easier to reach clients at any point in the day. It also means that you can always be available. During this holiday season, adjust your schedule to serve yourself and your clients.
Take time this week to hone in on your schedule. Set up your class times, now, for the next few months. Be sure to let your clients know any modifications to it well in advance to keep them on track towards their fitness goals. Don't forget to take time for you and block out time to cozy up and enjoy this holiday season!
We hope these suggestions help you plan a successful holiday season. Have more advice for instructors? Let us know in the comments!