While travelling up and down the UK, over to Saudi Arabia and then to Shanghai to deliver instructor training in our fight fx programme, I find myself being asked the same questions. I sense a degree of frustration in newly qualified fight fx instructor’s voices as they ask; it’s almost as if they don’t want to ask but know they must so they have the answers to the questions members are asking. The most common questions I am asked are -
“How can we convert members to fight fx when they are used to another pre–choreographed mixed martial arts programme? We know the programme is different, but what can I tell them?”
“My members won’t try something new. They are so familiar with another martial-arts based programme and they just don’t like change. How can I get them to open up to new things?”
“Our members just don’t get it!!! fight fx nothing like what they’ve done before and it contains moves they’ve never seen or heard of. What do I do?”
First things first folks, remember most of us dislike change. No matter what new programme you teach your members, if it’s not what their used to chances are they won’t like it - FACT! It’s just human nature, we are stubborn when it comes to stepping out of our comfort zone.
In this case, one question we should ask ourselves though is “Who made them like that in the first place”? The answer: we are. We are solely responsible for our members’ fitness experience. If you have your ‘regulars’, the ones that ‘wouldn’t miss your class for the world’, you will know they follow everything you say. If you walked into Monday’s class, coconut water in hand, by Wednesday most of your class will have latched onto the wonders of coconut water hydration. You may have that one class member who loves to ask where you pick up your gym kit before politely asking if you’d mind if they followed your fashion ways. We’ve all experienced the members that are in constant contact, desperate to know exactly who is covering classes, when we’re ‘holiday-ing’ and what exactly we had for yesterday’s afternoon snack! We must remember, our members look up to us and listen to what we have to say. It’s a form of flattery and idolisation.
So, you’d think it’d be easy migrating from one pre-choreographed programme to another right? I’m afraid not! So now you are ready for your first fight fx class, which is replacing the regular pre-choreographed class. You’ve rehearsed your launch class, prepared your modifications, alternatives, regressions and progressions, you have a dynamic, upbeat orientation ready, an awesome playlist and banners are hanging from every hook available, you’re ready to go!
Your members are there, the “regulars” however are stony faced knowing their “favourite” class isn’t on. A few tracks in and already you’ve noticed clients mumbling amongst themselves in-between tracks. A couple have made their excuses and sneaked out, whilst the rest remain bemused as if you’ve just grown an extra head, and asked them to do the Kankan. Carrying on regardless whilst doing your best to maintain an element professionalism, you head towards finishing the class with a round of applause motivating and congratulating everyone upon departure. Barely before you’ve got your breath back the feedback begins rolling in…
“It’s not what they're used to”
“It wasn’t our usual class format”
It can be difficult when advising people on change and re-educating them to understand why. To combat this I’ve put together some advice and tips to help you help others in their migration. We need to remember that it can be traumatic for some people who have been used to the same programme structure for the past 20 years!
Below is an example of what I would do having found myself in this situation. Remember to introduce this format and new class structure in a pro-active and positive way.
Example: An established class, intermediate to advance fitness and skill levels, very used to another pre-choreographed programme 5 times per week.
I would keep the format/structure very similar to what their used too (for now)! Put all your fight fx tracks back to back i.e., fight 1, fight 2, fight 3 and fight 4, then throw in your PHA and follow with your Muay Thai track, core and active recovery.
You may need to spend a little more time breaking down the new fight tracks as they do have 3 combinations in each track and require some pretty good muscle memory and quick thinking. Perhaps remove the 3rd combination and just use R stance combo 1 & 2, L stance combo 1 & 2 then repeat. Remember pro-chor.
My Order; Mobilisation 1st…..
V15.3 Fight 1, Calabria is a great track to start with, the combinations are simple and not too complex.
Track 3 fight 2 Good vibes is also around the same intensity but with that added complexity (hip circle, side kick) should you see members wanting to be pushed further.
V16.1 Track 5, fight 3 “If You Sexy” is great for interaction and relaxes the class keeping that fun element a big part of their workout. The choreography is based on Boxing techniques, jabs and movement off the spot so shouldn’t be anything too distant from what they are used too.
V15.3 Track 8 Fight 4 “Firefly” again is a great upbeat track, not too complex, traveling off the spot and boxing techniques, but also has the option for ultimate progression with tempo, speed, range of movement on the high knees and side kick and intensity with the running man.
V15.2 Track 5 PHA “You Really Got Me”, this track requires a great deal of strength and endurance without being too complex. The exercises are functional and can be regressed and progressed. There are 4 rounds to get through too so really pushes your class to their limits.
V15.3 Track 7, Muay Thai “Drink’s Keep Coming”. The choreography is very authentic and is layered well. There is so much scope with this track meaning you can take it either way by adding in or removing rest. You can add in full high knees with propulsion or keep them low. Also, the feel of the track is really uplifting for your class with a stunning Thai chi section in the middle.
V15.3 Track 5 “Love Me Again” This is the perfect interactive track to finish with, getting the whole class working together with a very basic combination using boxing techniques. It offers room for progression on the range, speed and distance in travel. The whole class should be singing and enjoying this track giving the whole format a very similar feel to what they are used too.
V15.3 Track 9 Core “Sometimes” This is a very popular song that most will have heard at some point. I would use this track in this example purely because the class will be used to working their core laying down!! Let them have what they are used too for a couple of weeks until you feel confident enough to start educating them on different ways to work the whole core upright!
This format as you can see is very similar to what members are used to. This playlist and choreography will work, keeping all your members on board and working to their absolute max without steering too far from what their regular workout.
After around 3 weeks when you have gained everyone’s trust, I would begin to introduce the new order and pop the PHA in after the first 2 fight tracks. Then the interactive track (running around the room first then all the combinations in a circle) followed by Core then Muay Thai and finish up with fight 4. This should not mess too much with their minds as the familiar moves and complexes are still there. You haven’t added anything (yet), you have just simply changed the order which will as a result have already had an impact on how they feel when working out using a different formula and structure.
Give this say 2 weeks then congratulate them on how far they have come with their fitness levels and explain you would like to introduce some further HIIT training to their class based on how fantastically well they are doing. Praise their progress. Praise them again, praise and praise again!!
By this time, you should have them all on your side, trusting you and bringing themselves to class every week enthusiastic and confident in what you are going to deliver instead of the anxious, defensive and negative nature they held at the first sign of change.
Educate constantly, tell them why you are working them in this way, inform them of the benefits of training in different ways and backing this up with the research. Use the fitness tests and track their results. This is a great tool to use in your classes that’ll make you stand out a mile on the timetable as doing something a little different to any other class and going that extra mile to ensure your clients get results.
Now is the time to introduce more complex choreography and throw in a fight track from V16.1. Take one of the static fight tracks out and add one that you think they would love to try, ensuring you tell them WHY you are doing this. Follow up with a more daring core track (V16.1).
You have them now. Enjoy and remember; love and embrace your members and they will love you back with buckets full of respect.
Keep up the great work team.