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Plus Size Fitness Professionals

Learn About Phat Moves™ an Online Plus Size Fitness Studio

Starting this spring 2011, you can offer your workouts, together with tons of other great workouts, to the world. Finally a one stop shopping for Plus Size Fitness! Whether someone is looking for yoga, weight training, safe aerobics, tai chi, or bellydance, they will be able to find body accepting workouts in one place. All moves will be based on the function and appreciation of the body, and not on body criticism. These are Phat Moves with a focus on Health, at Every Size (sm)! Email me if you would like to add your workouts to the selection we are offering!

Meeting Individual Needs in a Group Setting

By Kelly Bliss M.Ed, A.C.E.

I work with diverse populations within the same class.   This mix of people makes it comfortable for any one to adapt the workout to meet their needs without competing or standing out.   Some class participants are marathon runners.   Some are deconditioned people who have not exercised in decades.   I even include people with disabilities in the group.   (One class member, Ann, has no functioning legs or arms.   Others in the class have said with respect and admiration:   "Wow, when Ann is here, we sure do get a good core workout!"

Try marketing your class so that you get a more mixed group in attendance.   Your class members will feel more comfortable adapting the moves as they need and you will enjoy the diversity of people in your class. Here are four steps to giving each person individual attention within a class setting.  

KNOW 'EM … Greet your class members at the door.   Ask new class members "What area do you need to pamper or want to work harder?"   Then, in the class, use this information to select which moves will be right for the group that is in your class today.   Ask people with special needs to schedule a ten-minute personal training session before class so that you can teach them some basic moves that are adapted to their needs.   

What if you cannot greet class members at the door or come in early?   In that case, you can use your room arrangement to help you give individual attention.   Depending on your population, divide the room into areas.   You might have one area for those who need to pamper their backs and another area for those with knee issues.   You can ask those who want to work more intensely to move to one side of the room.   Then you can address the different areas of the room with the information and moves they need.

SHOW 'EM …Don't just tell people "work at your own pace", show them HOW to do the moves at different levels so each participant can choose what is best for them.    Show each move in low, medium, and high intensity.   Show people how to adapt the move if they have back or knee problems.   Very quickly, class members will shift into the moves that work safely and effectively for them.

The best workout is not the most intense workout possible.   The best workout is the most correct intensity for their needs.   Remember, your class members need help in avoiding overuse injuries.   Working too hard and getting sore muscles has driven more people away from group exercise than anything else.   Encourage participants to work at the intensity that is correct for them today.   Avoid competition with others in the class.   

SEE 'EM … Make sure that you can see every person in the class.   You need to see the expression on their faces to know if they are straining.   You need to see their footing and knees to know if their foundation is correct.    You need to see the position of their torso to know if their form is effective and safe.   You can only give quality instruction if you can see what you need to address and adjust.

TELL 'EM … Once you can see your group, keep talking.   Tell them HOW to execute the moves safely and effectively.   Say things like:   "Look at my feet.   See how my heels are turned in.   Now adjust your heels so they are turned in also.    This will protect your knees from twisting."   Be specific. Look at the participant you want to address.   Then give detailed instructions.   All this talking helps you to do more repetitions without just counting.   Your class will stay interested because you are saying more interesting things than just numbers.   The better you get at instructions, the better your group will be in their form.

When you know your group, show them different variations of the moves, see them working, and tell them what they need to hear, your class will feel as if they have had a personal training session right in the middle of a group fitness experience!

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3 Steps to Keeping Workouts FRESH!

By Kelly Bliss M.Ed., A.C.E.

It's tough to keep workouts fresh over time.   After teaching aerobics for thirty years (Oh, my gosh, can it be that long!), I find this to be one of the greatest challenges.   Familiar moves allow participants to relax mentally and improve body awareness.   New moves ad diversity and fun to a workout.  

Introducing new moves without overwhelming participants requires balance between familiar moves and fresh new moves.   Here are three steps that have helped the instructors I train achieve this balance:

 #1.)  If you design three warm-up and cool-down sequences, you can alternate these sequences.  This will provide both familiar moves for increased body awareness and diversity of moves for freshness.   Body awareness is essential in the warm-up for participants to identify any areas that need pampering or extra work.   In the cool-down participants have an opportunity to assess the workout they just did.   Hindsight is 20/20.   By noticing how they feel in the cool-down, class members can decide what want to do differently next time.

 #2.)  In the body of the workout, (the aerobics, muscle toning, and stretching) try introducing ONE new move per week.   That way, at any given time, your participants have mostly familiar moves with a few newer moves.   Keep a card catalogue of your moves on 3x5 cards with newer moves toward the front.   Then after a year or so, you can bring back different variations of past moves you really liked.   Introducing one new move a week is an achievable goal for you and comfortable for your class!

 #3.)  KEEP YOUR MUSIC FRESH AND NEW!   Your blend of familiar and new fitness moves will be entertaining and exciting if your music changes regularly. I recommend adding one new music mix per month.   That is enough for variety, without being too much stress for you.   Ask class members what their favorite songs are.   Then use these songs in some of   your own mixes.   It is thrilling for class members to hear their own music selections in the class!   Open your mind.   Don't just use your own music tastes.   Get suggestions from other people.   Class participants and other fitness professionals are great resources for music suggestions. Buy ready-made fitness music, then mix the songs up in fresh sequences.   Use music that changes with the seasons or holidays.  

When you use a combination of new and familiar moves with fresh music, your classes will be entertaining and comfortable for you and your class members!  

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Brief bio:

Kelly Bliss is recognized as one of the nations leaders in plus size fitness by the National Institutes of Health in the government publication "Active at ANY Size". She produced a series of twelve workouts in VHS and DVD called "Fitness with Bliss" and created a relaxation and meditation CD called "The Voice of Bliss". Kelly is the author of Don't Weight, Eat Healthy and Get Moving NOW! (2002 Infinity Publishing), and professional writer for IDEA Fitness Journal.610-394-2547, www.KellyBliss.com


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Two ideas for future articles:

1.)   WHERE to get and HOW to develop new moves.

2.)   Music selection:  

       a.   Different beats for different populations  

       b.  Choosing lyrics that have messages you intentionally want to include in your class.

Good luck in all your classes.

Take Care,

Kelly Bliss
610-394-2547

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