In their first instructor event of this kind, EMD UK started the instructor revolution last Friday. The organisation has committed to understanding the needs of group exercise instructors across the country and ensure their voices and opinions are heard.

With over 100 delegates attending the event, held at London’s iconic Dominion Theatre, the event was a great success. Instructors were given the chance to network with a wide range of fitness presenters, organisations, like-minded instructors and key industry leaders. The event was also attended by third-year dance students from the nearby University of East London who enjoyed learning more about the group exercise industry and how they could be a part of it and inspire the next generation.

By bringing all these different group exercise providers together, EMD UK provided a fantastic forum to discuss issues that matter to instructors. Event sessions ranged from teaching skills, insight sharing and life coaching through to active dance cardio, HIIT and yoga sessions. It’s safe to say they practiced what they preach.

Group exercise managers from leisure operators, including Virgin Active, David Lloyd and Nuffield Health, added to the exciting mix of attendees and shared their wealth of industry knowledge in the Think Tank insight session. The session, an invite only seminar hosted by EMD UK, focused on the valuable industry insight EMD UK has to share with leisure operators and the wider fitness industry. It also explained how an open, sharing relationship between these parties will benefit everyone in the sector.

Gillian Reeves, Head of Instructor Development for EMD UK, headed up the event. As the former Head of Group Exercise at Virgin Active UK, she was well aware of the issues affecting today’s instructors and how these can be addressed by the national governing body for group exercise.

One of the biggest topics of discussion was that of instructor pay. Touched upon by EMD UK’s CEO, Ross Perriam, in his event opening speech, the instructor pay round-table discussion drew a big crowd. The session was over-subscribed, with people happy to stand at the back just to be a part of the discussion. Several debates were ignited amongst the panel and the attendees, touching upon the way and the amount instructors are paid and how under valued the workforce is.

“It really felt like the start of a something special. It was inspiring to see so many enthusiastic delegates and hear from such incredible presenters,” explained Emma Forward, COO of EMD UK. “My personal highlight was being in very prestigious company and contributing to the instructor pay panel discussions. We heard about the current and very real challenges instructors are facing and were given a clear message about what EMD UK – as your national governing body – can do to support instructors. Watch this space as the revolution begins!”

Will Brereton, Director of SH1FT, was a member of the instructor pay panel: “It’s great to finally have a body devoted to advocating for instructors – something that feels like it’s been missing recently. The industry is changing at a rapid pace, and the most important thing anyone can do is stay informed so that they can continue to find success. Events like the EMD UK Instructor Revolution are an important way to stay connected, and to make sure instructor voices are heard.”

“It was a day to step outside of life in the fitness bubble and take stock of the bigger picture,” explained Gillian Reeves. “The content of the sessions all showed best practice from presenters who actively teach as their main job. Gede Foster from Frame lit up the room and inspired creativity with her Dance Cardio choreography. Chris Stanton from Wattbike gave an informative, technical session on class planning and energy systems to get instructors thinking about the effect of the content they deliver in their classes. Dan Little of Digme gave tips on best practice on being world class as a fitness professional including his expectations on teaching in a boutique fitness studio. Mikaela Jackson’s She Almighty session was packed out as instructors are clearly keen to receive coaching and plan for the year ahead. The dynamic duo James Trevorrow and Israel Rivera from Virgin Active inspired many with their focus on fascia and application of functional movement in group exercise.”

The work really starts now the event is over. EMD UK are excited to collaborate with the group exercise leaders and leisure operators that attended the day, working together to build a stronger industry for everyone. As the national governing body for group exercise, EMD UK will work to support the business needs of the sector. This ranges from instructors and organisations to health club operators and leisure providers. This event is only the start of the instructor revolution and EMD UK will work hard to ensure everyone is inspired to be a part of it.

Speaking of the event, Ross Perriam said “A big thank you to all of the presenters at the recent Instructor Revolution event for their inspiration and knowledge. The event was a sell out and was attended by some of the industry’s best instructors and key opinion leaders eager to network with their peers. EMD UK will be picking up the themes raised, continuing the discussions and giving them focus in 2018.  Next year’s event promises to be even more inspirational, and we look forward to welcoming you all there.”

Find more information about the support EMD UK offers instructors here. 

Find more information about the support EMD UK offers organisations here.