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The Nova Scotia Fitness Association is a non-profit organization.


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  • 21 Jun 2019 10:43 AM | Kaycie Lane (Administrator)

    There is value in reminding your clients that you are a fitness professional

    Now, most of us who have been consistently teaching in the fitness industry do consider ourselves professional.  How could we not?  Between the hours of prep time, the recruitment of clients, and the hours in the gym, we’ve put in the time to get really good at what we do.  But not everyone recognizes us as professionals; in fact, they may not understand how much work it takes to be a fitness instructor or personal trainer, and will not know the difference between our paragraphs of certifications and someone who is just really good at weight lifting or dancing or running.

    That can be frustrating.  To say the least.

    And unfortunately, if we don’t self-promote, it won’t get any better.

    But here’s something to think about.

    People like statistics.  No, really, they do! Not many people like to do statistics, but most people like to quote statistics.  Case in point: the number of followers you have on Instagram or how many people have completed the same marathon as you.  People like to get an idea, numerically, where they stand in comparison to the rest of the world.  They like to know that they are paying for professional services, the really good quality stuff. 

    So here’s what you’re going to do: figure out how many hours you have dedicated to the fitness industry.

    Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Outliers: The Story of Success, dedicates an entire chapter of his book to specifically looking at how much time it takes someone to become an expert in their field.  He looks at Bill Gates and Mozart, to name drop only two of his case studies.  What did his research show?  The magic number is 10,000 hours.

    Let me say that again.  Ten. Thousand. Hours.

    Now before you tell me that’s a super high and unreasonable number, consider this example of a group fitness instructor.

    To be a group fitness instructor, first, you have to get certified.  Let’s use the NSFA’s model here (shameless self-promotion ahead) to figure it out.

    Step One: Exercise Theory

    You spend 3, eight-hour days learning anatomy, basic exercise principles and tips to be successful.  You write a 2 hour exam.  Twenty-six hours.  (You should have a calculator on hand, this is an interactive blog post).  You can also factor in some (honest) study time as well.

    Step Two: Group Exercise Leader

    Now we get into your speciality.  You do two, 8-hour days in the classroom plus a two hour exam.  Then you have a practical: a one hour class you teach to prove you know what you’re doing.  Do you just go in and teach?  Um, no.  You practice.  And practice.  And practice.  I remember taking 2-3 hours, Monday thru Friday in the three weeks leading up to my exam to pick music, get ideas, and practice choreography and fine tune my class.  I will freely admit to being a perfectionist, but even if you aren’t, by the time you finish this exam you will have put in anywhere from 50-75 hours to just get certified.

    Step Three: The Actual Job – Teaching

    Okay, you’re certified and ready to go!  Now what?  Oh, right, more practice.  Whether you had a job lined up or have to sub for the first couple months, you’ll need to practice to get good at what you teach.  There’s no way around it: if you want people to keep coming back, you have to deliver content they enjoy.  That content is different class to class too.

    Let’s do a hypothetical five-year trajectory.

    Year One – you pick up one class of your own and you sub 1-2 classes a week from September to May.  If you add in an hour of practice 2 days a week, in the first year you’ll have …. I told you this is interactive, where is your calculator???  Fine I’ll give you this one.  Low Range: 160 hours.  High range: 320 hours.

    Year Two – You’re getting noticed now for your great classes.  You have three of your own classes, you sub 1-2 classes a week, year round and you’re practicing even more, 3 days a week for an hour to learn your new formats.  Low range: 364 hours.  High range: 728 Hours.

    Year Three – Established! People know you and they keep coming back.  You teach 4-6 classes a week, year round.  Subbing is tougher with your busy schedule but you still try to sub once a week once in a while.  You don’t practice as much as before because, let’s face it, you know your stuff but you still clock in 1-2 hours a week getting new ideas, listening to new music, etc.  Low range: 320 hours.  High range: 446 hours.

    Now, in years four and five you have two options: keep doing the same as Year Three (we call this “steady-state” in the engineering world), or you can be an overachiever and keep going (this would be “exponential growth”.  At least until your body very firmly tells you, “stop, you nutcase”).  If you are steady-state, just add your number from year three two more times to your total.  If you are an overachiever, here is your formula:

    Hours of teaching = (# of classes per week * weeks per year) + (# of classes subbed per week * #of weeks per year) + (# of hours of practice per week * weeks per year)

    Didn’t think you’d have to do math again, did you?  Hint: if you count beats in your group fitness classes, you are doing math. 

    Did you do the calculation?

    **Impatiently waits for reader to calculate hours**

    Okay, so in my year four and five, I was an overachiever.  My number was: 1,486 hours over year four and five.

    Now let’s total it all up.  If you were on the low range of my estimates and you were “steady-state”, in five years you have built up a total of 1,560 hours.  If you were on the high end and an overachiever, in five years, you’ve built up a total of 3,076 hours. 

    But wait, you say.  Miss Blogger, you said we need 10,000 hours to be a professional.  Yes, dear reader, I sort of did say that.  And I stand by it.  Because if you read closely, I said expert, not just professional.

    Think about all of the things I did not include.  Conferences.  Workshops.  All those events you go to to get CECs.  Classes you attend to watch other instructors.  And remember, this is only five years.  This year, NSFA turns thirty (Happy Birthday to us!) and guess what?  Some instructors have been with us for all thirty years.

    All 30 years.  Can we get a round of applause?

    So if you’ve done this for 30 years, you definitely have 10,000 hours of expertise (go ahead, check my math), most likely more.

    What does this boil down to?  Well, Malcolm Gladwell does not define a professional, he defines an expert.  Professional expertise = 10,000 hours.  Being a professional?  Well, I’ll let you decide.  Remember, this is an interactive blog post.  The point is, as fitness instructors and professionals, we put in the hours, the sweat, and maybe some blood and tears, to be what we are.  Your clients and participants deserve to know that number, the number of hours you have taken to get better at your craft.  Own the fact that you are a fitness professional.  Even if you are in year one, and haven’t cracked 100 hours, you still have more knowledge and experience that someone who hasn’t. 

    And who knows?  Ten thousand hours is probably a lot closer than you think.

    Like this blog post?  Tell us how many hours you have as a fitness professional!  Tag us on Facebook or Instagram @nsfitnessassociation  Check out the book: Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell if you are curious. @malcolmgladwell

    Happy 30th Anniversary NSFA!


  • 29 Nov 2018 2:12 PM | Kaycie Lane (Administrator)

    One of the things I always get asked as a "young person" in fitness, is how I feel about virtual fitness classes.  I'm an instructor in my mid twenties, teaching a wide population, and yes, I do teach at the university level.  So I always get asked a lot of questions about virtual platforms both as an instructor and as a participant.

    Is virtual training what I use in my own personal workouts?  Why doesn't my generation (and I'm using that term liberally, because if you know me I'm 50 at heart and loving it) like to come to classes?  Is the fitness instructor population aging so much that they cannot relate to new students?  

    Wow, I don't think I'm qualified to answer some of those questions.  

    But I can tell you a couple of things about "young people" like me at the university level and people who are in their twenties.  That's all I really feel qualified to address.  A millennial's take on millennials, if you will.

    I'm a busy person.  So are so many people in my age bracket.  We have so many things going on inside our heads on a daily basis.  I need to study for my exam, I'm not sure how big of a grocery bill I can afford this week, my car needs maintenance but I have a water bill to pay.  We're learning how to be adults and there is a lot coming at us that we're still trying to figure it out.  We're insecure about a lot of things in our lives and the last thing we want to do sometimes is to feel insecure about our bodies next to all the Lululemon-wearing gym-bunnies who seem to have it made. 

    So do we want to go somewhere, like a gym, where we are going to be judged for how we look?  Probably not.  Regardless of the fact that everyone around us is worried about the same thing, it feels like all eyes are on you when you walk into a gym, let alone a fitness classes full of people who seem to know exactly what they are doing.  It's daunting to put yourself out there, especially for a group of people who are glued to their phones and computers (in general, there are those of us who still don't understand what Twitter is, or why it exists).  

    So for those people, it's a natural leap to look into virtual platforms.  

    Now virtual platforms are not one-size fits all.  They can be an online membership, paid monthly to be able to view workouts in a specific type of class.  They can be Instagram videos, Facebook how-to's, or or social media outlets full of (questionably, true) fitness "coaches" or "instructors".  They can be a Skype call with a group of like-minded people who can't pay for a gym membership.  Virtual platforms come in all shapes and sizes so it's really not fair to generalize because some can be so meaningful to people.  But there are some things that they do have in common.

    Easy access.  Cheaper rates.  Anonymity.

    Three huge things that millennials want, right there.  Something they can get to easily.  Something that fits in a paycheck from most likely a part time job while in school.  And the big one: anonymity.  The internet and online social media sites give so many people power to say and do what they want without having to show their face or comment, or let people know they are participating.  Sure, someone is probably tracking online activity (Big Brother is watching....), but at the end of the day, people feel better if they don't have to actually put themselves out there and be critiqued.  

    So there's a huge part of it.  The desire not to be judged and the desire to have things for a cheap rate when they are wanted.  So should we (fitness instructors) be thinking about this more and more?  Should we care? What does it mean for getting young people in our class, and even better, keeping them in our classes?  

    I'm not an expert, but here's what I think works and some things to think about:

    Getting Young People into Class and Keeping Them in Class 

    A guide written by a twenty-something fitness instructor 

    1.) You are a fitness professional.  And young people see you as such.  In fact, they probably put you on a higher pedestal than you put yourself.  Why?  Because they are used to "celebrity" trainer from online platforms, so when they look at you, they see something similar.  BE APPROACHABLE.  Introduce yourself.  How is easy is that?  And then learn their name!  We're all human and we all want to be treated like we matter, that we are worthy of people's notice.  I can't tell you how many classes I have never gone back to (me, as a fitness instructor!!) because the person teaching the class was not personable.  Not because they weren't amazing.  Because they weren't personable.  You could be the next Jane Fonda, but it wouldn't matter to little old me from a small town if you don't care about me being in your class. 

    And know about different virtual platforms.  Do your research!  Tell them about your certifications, be proud of how much you know!  The more we educate people about our industry, the better response we're going to get from people.

    2.) Ask people what they want to get out of your class.  Is it abs and glutes? (That's what I always get asked for).  Is it an easy class or hard class?  If you are delivering something they want, they feel valued because you listened.  People want to be listened to

    Here's a trick I use in my barre class.  Most of the time I get a request for abs.  I don't do a lot of floor work or crunches because that's not my style and I personally find that rather... boring (who's with me?).  So do I change my class? NO! I change my CUES.  I teach my class how to engage the whole core, how to balance out back and abdominals for core the whole class.  Think smarter, not harder, right?  You can get so much out of your students without changing your style by changing your words and cues to match what they want to hear.

    3.) Learn from your students; never pass up an opportunity to learn more.  Do you know an instructor who hasn't done any new certifications, licenses or continuing education workshops in years?  Now, you may only want to teach one format, and that's fine!  But people change even if what you teach doesn't.  It's always worth it to ask your students what they want and work that into your style.  And it's always worth it to try something, at least once.  You never know what you'll get out of it.  Six years ago a sorority sister invited me to try her Zumba class.  Six years later, here I am with too many licenses to count and a group fitness certification.  But it all started because I tried something new.  

    4.) Respect other instructors.  No matter where you teach, what you teach or how you feel about another instructor, you do your best to find something positive about a situation and to respect other people.  I had someone sub my barre class who was not a barre instructor and then tell me the next week that her class was so good she was willing to hand me her notes so I could do as well as her (yikes!).  And she said this before I was starting my barre class (deep breathes, deep breathes).  I said thank you, that is very kind of you and moved on with my life.  My point here is that, sure, I could have set her straight in front of my students but that wouldn't have been a smart move for either of us.  I'm there to teach, not compete and I need my students to know that (so they probably aren't my students if I'm not being competitive). 

    There are a lot of fitness instructors these days (the industry is growing, which is awesome!) and if we want to have a chance at inspiring young people to become fitness instructors and to come to our classes, we have to make sure we are projecting the right environment.  If it looks like we're cutthroat and mean and catty, then we really aren't going to keep people around.  We are professionals and we are respectful and we are supportive.  We have to project those values even if we're struggling with a situation internally.  


    Come to think of it, are those tips much different than for your other participants?  Not really, and I guess that's also one of my points.  Younger people (this is a relative term!) want most of the same things other participants want.  We just want it slightly differently and we haven't quite figured out the best way to get it.  

    Now that's just me.  I did my research (and it was primary research! I talked to people.) but of course this is a dialogue from someone who is technically a millennial (even if she's always in bed before 9:00pm on a school night).  You are welcome to comment; this is meant to spark discussion and thought!

    Thank you for reading.  If you have any comments, you are always more than welcome to shoot me an email at kaycie@nsfitness.ca.  Want to write an article for the NSFA Blog?  All you have to do is start writing.  Send me your final product and we'll get it up.  

    Happy reading and writing-


    Kaycie Lane

    NSFA - PR and Communications Director 

    kaycie@nsftiness.ca


  • 08 Jun 2018 10:13 AM | Kaycie Lane (Administrator)

    Everyone likes to go where “Everybody Knows Your Name” just like at Cheers but since we’re fitness pros we need a different approach to getting to know our clients and helping our clients know one another.

    Often a new client will bring a friend with them when they’re starting in your classes; that’s terrific, you get 2 or more new participants for the recruiting efforts of 1. Now, they’ll do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to entertaining one another, plus with 2 people in a social circle working with you, you’re more likely to get others from their posse as well.  Their friends won’t want them to be off doing things without them.  Especially if those things are fun and making them look and feel better.  You want to get to know each of these people as individuals AND get to know as much as you can about their friendship too.  The more integrated you’re able to get into their group (within reason) the better. They’ll think of you as a part of their group and it will make them much more loyal to your services.

    Beyond these pre-packaged relationships though, I think it’s endlessly important to help the members of your classes get to know one another even though they began as total strangers.  I get every bit as excited to see that 2 of my clients have become Facebook friends as I do to see they’ve set a new Personal Record with exercise.  You’ll ALWAYS remember how you met a good friend and rarely do you think negatively about those experiences. Your classes and services will forever be viewed in a positive light for reasons beyond the tangible aspects such as good workouts, results, cleanliness of your facility, new equipment etc.  

    There are many ways to skin this cat, to foster an environment where people become friends with the once strangers they’re sharing your space with and I’d like to quickly highlight some of these below. 

    Keep in mind that I work exclusively in an environment that’s ultra social, there is minimal choreography and people are able to pay attention to one another once the explanations are over and the class is rolling.

        Once you know something likeable about a person, showcase it.  David plays guitar and people might think that’s cool?  Talk about guitar with him sometimes as a part of the room’s conversation.  Tim makes his own beer and just entered a homebrew contest?  You’d be silly to keep that a secret, help him get that word out.  Everyone will wish him luck and follow up with him when they see him next.  Paula is hilarious and is the captain of a trivia team?  Give her a chance to be funny in conversations and share useless knowledge.  Kathy is quiet in your classes but keeps coming week after week?  She probably really loves the environment but you can let this person chill a little more.  Most people won’t keep their personalities a secret for very long so it’s usually a pretty simple read.  This all might seem pretty obvious but it’s amazing how many instructors do nothing to engage most of the people in their classes let alone playing them off of one another.

        Do Partner And Group Exercises.   A lot of partner exercises are new to people so you’ll look like a real expert when you start breaking these out.  Also it forces people into conversation with whoever they’re partnered with.  I NEVER partner people with the person they came with. (I’m incredibly transparent about this too.  I straight up say that part of the reason we’re doing this in today’s class is to meet someone new because I want the community to be tighter)  It may be impossible to pair people with a stranger, especially if you’ve had a consistent group for awhile but do your best to pair people who will match well physically and personality wise and didn’t drive in together.  When you’re doing this it’s important to have legit exercise selections and not just pick silly uneffective moves to round out a community building segment of a class.   You want their conversations to be getting to know one another and how hard and effective, but fun the exercise is, not “do you feel this”? “Naw I think this move is strange and I don’t really like it”  “Yeah me neither, let’s talk about some other trainer’s class over a coffee later” 

        Have Socials Outside Of Class  Twice a year I advertise an evening out to have a nice meal and a couple drinks with anyone who might wanna ditch the yoga pants and get together in a different setting.  It always goes very well and usually attendance is 85-90% of my class population.  Everyone is welcome to bring their spouse and it’s nice for me and everyone else to get to know these other people.  We often hear stories about our friend’s partners and they surely hear stories about the people that torture them at the gym, a couple times a week so it’s great to be able to put a face to these stories.   Remember, the people who come to these kinds of functions, don’t quit your class the next week.  There is a reason for this, it etches the connection between you and them on a different level than just a fit pro and a client.

    Remember as you work on getting your clients results and building a strong relationship with them, “people don’t care what you know as much as they want to know that you care”  We’re not just counter bots, keeping track or reps, loads, and sets.  We’re many of these people’s social time and personal time away from their stresses and responsibilities.  Take this seriously and pay attention to making the most of their exercise and their personal experience as well. 


  • 09 Feb 2018 5:25 PM | Web Manager (Administrator)


  • 02 Feb 2018 3:40 PM | Web Manager (Administrator)

    The NSFA board is pleased to announce we've updated our Mission & Visions Statements!



  • 21 Nov 2017 9:17 PM | Deleted user

    Flipping the Script written by NSFA Member Sarah Newton

    I attended a seminar last week led by the fabulous life coach Janice Hutton on behalf of the Certified Coaches Federation to get my certification as a life coach and launch my wellness business.

    During the course, we learned about ‘the monkey mind’ and discovered how the conscious mind is like a rider and the subconscious mind is like the much larger but gentle elephant, provided the two were working in alignment.

    We know how to apply this in the world of fitness, we set our goals and we tell ourselves what we need to for the sake of perseverance.  We know intuitively that by cultivating a clear sub-conscious mind, we can face hurdles with a sense of humor and stay on track. 

    To some its easy and for others, not so much, but we understand the rewards of accomplishing that singularity of purpose that can only come when our conscious desires drive our underlying emotional passions. 

    Later last week, I also attended a Mi’kmaq Healing Circle and learned that Mi’kmaq Elders hold a different perspective.  To the Mi’kmaq, the power of the subconscious is limitless, if we’d only learn to feed it proper thoughts.  

    We know what to do in this regard… Begin each day with positive words. Speak how you want to feel but better yet, can we know what drives us authentically?

    It requires self-reflection and honesty… and a sense of humour.  We can’t expect to tell ourselves ‘we got this’ when by applying inner-listening, we hear a different script coming out the proverbial ‘other side of our mind’ 

    Self-doubt, fear of failure, abandonment, resentment, we secretly seek validation on other grounds entirely.  Since childhood everything we absorbed flowed in to set up our true expectations and guess what?  Not all messages we ingested were received in our best interest.

    Of course, really getting a hold of the contents of your own subconscious requires reflecting back to those first six years of life.  What did you perceive and experience?  How did the world support you when you first reached out for love?  Go there and forgive and release all you find.  Build on what’s solid and have fun with it!

    We feed our bodies with nutritious vegetables, we feed our spirits with uplifting music, so let’s complete the journey and give our subconscious mind the room to feed our conscious mind with that which we truly feel we deserve.

    Feed your subconscious mind good thoughts, beautiful dreams, natural vistas, higher aims sure, but also feel the excitement of your goals and let that be the glue that binds you to them, allowing your subconscious mind to take you along for the ride.  


  • 06 Aug 2017 8:07 PM | Web Manager (Administrator)

    Can you believe it's been 3 years since we started the annual brunch?  Amazing how time flies.  Speaking of which, the early-bird price for the brunch ends on September 30th, so REGISTER TODAY!

    3rd Annual Fall Brunch

    Presenter: Lauri De Guilio

    Topic: Balance & Proprioception

    Register here: http://nsfitness.ca/event-2569507


  • 12 Feb 2017 11:27 AM | Web Manager (Administrator)

    NSFA member and course conductor Jayn Pearson has decided to retire from fitness.  Jayn has been a fitness educator for many years and has taught Exercise Theory and Resistance Trainer courses in Truro for us.  As much as we will miss having her on our team we know she's going to enjoy her well deserved retirement.

    For those who never took a course with Jayn, here's a little clip of her in action from the Christmas challenge we did last year:  6th Day of Fitmas

    Thanks for everything Jayn!!

  • 12 Jul 2016 11:54 PM | Deleted user


  • 10 Apr 2016 9:48 PM | Deleted user


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