I started teaching group fitness classes back in 1989. Ah the 80’s ... and heck even the early 90s, group fitness was a whole different beast than it is now lol.
Classes were fun, entertaining, and yet…things seemed to get old rather fast. We instructors found ourselves spending countless hours making up new routines. Along came pre-choreographed programs that offered us time-saving relief.
For those who have instructed only one style predominantly, there has always been some debate as to which one is better. This is yet another instance where the answer is clear. Both. Both are great, neither one is better than the other and there can be superstars and superduds in both just like with anything else. The key is education about both the structure and goal of each style as well as instructor preference.
So what is Pre-Style or Pre-Choregraphed Fitness Instruction?
Pre-Style or Pre-Choreographed fitness instruction involves learning a program created by a company/organization that an instructor memorizes and delivers to their class.
9 pros of pre-choreographed programming:
1. Carefully researched exercises in “tracks” that are easy to teach and easy to learn.
2. New releases (monthly in most cases) keep classes fresh and exciting.
3. Less prep time! Pre-arranged tracks and class structure laid out.
4. Practice time is required, which is a good thing for every instructor, especially for newbies.
5. Pre-choreographed programs can be confidence-building for new instructors.
6. Safety – Exercises are taught to be cued and executed safely with options for participants.
7. Consistency – Instructor to instructor, club to club, participants know what to expect.
8. Music is chosen for you, which takes the guess work and drama out of creating a great class.
9. Repetition = results. Teaching the same “release” or “tracks” for a month or two = progress.
Freestyle group fitness instruction gives instructors “Foundation Moves” that they can then go and expand on to create a comprehensive well-organized, and scientifically supported workout.
7 pros of Freestyle or a trademarked programs:
1. Creativity – Instructors can be creative with music, movement variation, and transitions.
2. Music Mastery – Instructors are able to choose songs that tell a story, inspire, motivate, etc.
3. Confidence – Instructors build their confidence by learning to create their own classes.
4. Variety – Classes can be changed daily, weekly, or monthly at instructor's discretion.
5. Presentation skills – Personal style and personality get to shine through.
6. Instructors can combine skills learned in various programs to create a unique experience.
7. Science – Most trademarked freestyle programs have extensive research behind them.
Ultimately pre-choreographed programs are creating more instructors than any Freestyle program in the industry and the end result is that these thousands of new instructors are changing more lives.
Freestyle programs allow instructors to teach anything, anywhere which again puts them in front of more people.
Both require training, certification and continuing education to maintain. Both require preparation and for some, Pre-style can be harder than Freestyle in that aspect! For many years I was a national trainer for a certifying organization and taught Freestyle Group Fitness Certification Programs for both land and water and even with a guide of foundational moves, the need to keep up to speed with the industry was necessary. Conferences, workshops and training events for both styles of instruction are fun and informative and make you a better instructor, regardless of which style you choose to teach.
If you are skilled enough to teach both, then as an instructor you are setting yourself up for more opportunities but each one is not for everybody so it's worth taking some time to participate in each to see what you gravitate to and go from there. I teach both and never thought I'd ever like Pre-Style but I find it a great complement to my Freestyle offerings and I'm able to teach in a lot of places and reach a lot of people and that's been my goal since the 80s ... well that and wearing leg warmers bahahahahahaha.