Male Instructors
Yesterday we got word there's two more instructors joining our forthcoming trek to the Baltimore Quarterly. Hopefully I got a few laughs out of folks for my grousing that I'm the only guy amongst the fourteen travelers in our group. But underneath that post was a serious message: We lack male instructors in this program. "We", by the way, is not just our club.

It's not that BodyPump lacks the requisite masculinity most guys require before they'll take on a workout program - you instructors out there know as well as I do who's been choreographing this show. It's not that gyms are short on men, either. And though I've got my theories as to why the male attrition rate seems high, it's a fact that female instructors lead the vast majority of Pump classes here in the States (I'm told this is true in other countries as well). A female GFM once commented to us that male instructors didn't have to be all that good to be popular with their classes - their novelty was more than enough to draw in the crowds.

Ladies, I'm not knocking you here. It's fabulous that, as a group, you've embraced BodyPump as your weight training program - a remarkable achievement given that aerobic activity tends to dominate the female fitness class offerings. Your loyalty to this program has brought it into the mainstream in a way that's nothing short of remarkable. Yet I've heard attendees say time and again they'd definitely like to see a more balanced mix of male/female instructors.

Club owners, GFMs, and instructors - If you've got a deficit in the male instructor department (as our club does), I'd like to offer up this challenge: Make 2006 the year you correct that balance. As you know, class attendees become committed members of your gym. And as a man, I'm here to tell you that we're much more inclined to try - and stay with - classes where there's a male presence. Put some men in front of your classes and you'll start to get that male presence. I've seen that develop in our own classes, so I know it's real. It may mean you have to make more of an effort at first to reach out to the men. Fine, go ahead and do it. Once you gain a critical mass of male instructors, I'm confident you'll see more men in your classes - and we all understand the value of increased class attendance. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen over time if you make it a priority.

Everyone understands the importance of balance in life. You already know whether or not your instructor team's got a balanced mix of men and women - and so does your club's membership.

Want to add your thoughts to this post? Click the comments link below and have your say!
6 Comment(s):
On 24 February, 2006, Blogger Mark R said...

Craig, it sounds like we are following a similar path. I would not be a pump instructor if it wasn't for my wife discovering Bodypump first about 4 years ago. She found it by accident when the club we belonged to closed and we joined a new one. She was hooked right away and after about a year took the instructor training. She was always trying to get me to go to a class and, of course, I refused to be reduced to lifting weights in an "aerobic studio." I finally gave in to trying one of her tapes in our basement and I was "all in." It was hard to lift my arms for about 4 days, but I was hungry for more. After 6 months in my basement with Mike I was ready to go to a real class, what a blast! I paid close attention to the form exhibited on the tapes too. After another 6 months I was signing up for instructor training. I've done about 360 classes as a participant or instructor in a little over 2 years and am convinced more than ever that Bodypump as Mike has created it is the best way to workout period.

I read your post, Is Bodypump for Men, and thought it was right on the money. I've seen a lot of those first time, only time guys too. I think a big part of the problem is what most guys believe weightlifting should be. You know, 4 sets of 10 reps with minutes of rest in between. A guy brings that mentality into a pump class and he is going to crash & burn. I can tell that guy that Bodypump is a light weight high rep class and even give him a handout with weight selections for the first 3 classes and I'll look over at him in the bicep track and see a large and medium plate on each side! What did Mike say to someone on one of the tapes with a laugh..... "die brother" i think. Getting guys to come in is hard, getting them to stay is even harder.

One of my goals was to get increased guy participation. It is much harder than i thought it would be. Right now i would guess we are averaging about 1 guy to 10 women. We'll just have to keep pumpin'.

On 27 February, 2006, Blogger Craig Warman said...

Mark - Thanks a bunch for the feedback! You know I remember Mike saying that actually but I had no idea what he was talking about!

I once had a guy try biceps with two large plates on each side. He lasted about the first 1/3 of the song then quit. I feel bad whenever someone overdoes the weights like that because it can be a reflection on me as the instructor, so I really try to tell the guys up-front to keep their weights lighter than what they're used to in the weight room. Sometimes they listen, sometimes not. I've found that the ones who understand the importance of focusing on their form rather than having the biggest weights in the class will become regulars. And you know what? Most of those guys are married and over 40...

On 27 February, 2006, Anonymous Laura Anne said...

I think if all the married female instructors get their husbands to start taking their classes maybe that would help a little.

My husband is now a regular in all of my classes: BP, BodyStep, and BodyCombat. At first he was just coming b/c I asked but now he will go even when I'm not teaching.

On 28 February, 2006, Blogger pipera said...

Many years ago I was the only male ath the 1/4 workshops for Bodyflow/Balance. That was in 2001. Bodyflow was only around for 3 years. I counted at the alst one there was 12 males (inc me.) Bodypump wise there seems to be a 1/4 male participation now at the 1/4's. The most popular program for men where I am from is RPM - Combat followed by Attack. There are very few male step instructors. There seems to be more and more men in Bodyjam as well. It was nice to see two men on the DVD for BB 32 :)

I guess it is also the same for teaching as well. There are fewer male teaches out there. I was in a staff room and I was the only male there when I was teaching there, in one staff room I was one of 5 men out of 20 female teachers. It is the same thing that industry as well.

We also need more male teachers in High Schools as well.

There needs to be an education program in place to encourage males into education and training as well as Group Fitness. It begins here and ends here. Hopefully in the future there will be more male instructors and teachers out there?


On 28 February, 2006, Blogger pipera said...

Forgot to mention as well. At the Bodybalance training there were only two males there as well that was in 2002.

Are there any male Bodybalance Instructors in your neck of the woods?

On 03 March, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noticed last quarter that more woman become RPM instructors. As for all the other classes woman rule.
Myself I'm one of those guys who was dragged ;-) in by his girlfriend. Loved it and became an BP + RPM instructor myself. Funny to see man are the same all around the world. When I read those comments above it's as if I wrote them myself.


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