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ePublication of Australian Fitness Network

Qualifications, experience, knowledge and compatibility are important factors to consider when it comes to choosing a fitness instructor but finding someone who is skilled in motivational communication is equally critical, according to the latest research by Les Mills and Perth’s Curtin University.

Head of Research at Les Mills, Bryce Hastings, says the results of the study show that the way a person talks to you when you’re working out could be the difference between whether you keep up, or give up, your exercise program.

‘Les Mills has long understood, and trained instructors about, the importance of effective communication when it comes to motivating others. This research presented the opportunity to test a new method of upskilling a group of instructors with motivational communication that really upped the ante’ Hastings said.

To read the full study, ‘Developing and testing a motivating communication style for Les Mills International Instructors: A Pilot and Feasibility Study’ clickhere.

The style of communication they started using represented completely the opposite to the ‘no pain no gain’ approach widely used in fitness circles. While that approach puts people under pressure and can create an immediate response, as a motivational style it does not last long and often works against creating long-term change.

By changing style, the lines of communication between participants and instructors became more open. Those being led by the instructors provided lots of positive feedback, saying they felt more confident about, and more in control of, their own workout. They also said they felt more connected to, supported by and respected by their Les Mills instructor.

These techniques are a big part of the instructor training that the Les Mills 130,000-strong instructor tribe receives prior to certification and every three months when they receive new workouts to teach.

Hasting explained that Les Mills wants people to fall in love with fitness, not do it because they feel they have to: ‘We coach our instructors to talk to class participants in a way that allows them to feel they have someone to relate to, who empathises with them, and feels their pain, when things get tough. When people choose to work out with Les Mills they can be assured they will get a quality, all-encompassing experience and good communication is a crucial part of that exercise journey’ he said.

Source: Les Mills

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