WHAT TO DO WHEN EVERYTHING GOES WRONG
by Global Instructors
STEREO NOT WORKING
Dan Cohen: “On Friday mornings I teach BODYCOMBAT™ at 10:10 at Auckland City. Before my class was a BODYPUMP™, and everything was working fine for that Instructor. Then a minute or so before we kick off for my class, the speakers started to crackle as well as the mic. I thought, well if the mic goes, I’ll go just visually demo the whole class and make it work.
Then the speaker went – it sounded like a combination of being under water and crackle.
What next?! I guess I’ll upskill everyone in the room on the beauty of BODYCOMBAT technique, timing, level changes… With no music or mic I taught them the stances and body movements, and progressed into the most common upper body strikes and then the lower body strikes.
What made this special was that firstly the members understood the technical issues of the sound system. I ensured a positive “no blame” environment and they could see club staff trying to fix it.
Secondly, I used lots of praise and explained how an understanding of the movements could really help their BODYCOMBAT journey. I also used humor... lots of laughing and a great workout whilst learning. It was the full hour and finished with abs and a stretch with lots of clapping. I actually enjoyed it. What’s the moral of this story? Make the most out of a situation – it’s always an opportunity!”
Pam Harper Horst: “Showed up to class one night, the stereo system was not working and there was no microphone since it's all hooked to the same amp (we're talking cassette days) but I had 35 people ready to take a Wednesday night class so I taught the entire class without music and without a microphone. It was actually pretty magical. I had a member come up to me at the end and tell me ‘I could actually hear the music with the way you taught it.’’
Louis de Durfort: “The stereo died almost at the end of track 1 and I carried on teaching the whole class from the sound of my iPhone. Only I could hear the music as I was shouting “Watch me and match the speed of my legs”... honestly it was the best experience and I think they’d never worked so hard.”
Dan Cohen: “With no music or mic I taught them the stances and body movements, and progressed into the most common upper body strikes and then the lower body strikes.”
Peter Gilmore: “The stereo failed right at start of the class, but the speakers were still working so: headmic switched on and placed onto top of iPhone, instant music, RPM™ class completed #thinkoutsidethebrokenbox.”
Cassidy Houston: “Biggest hack saved my life when the music stopped working but mic still worked. I played my music on the loudest setting on my phone and rested the mic next to the speaker to have some form of music, even if it was a bit distorted. I then did the class on the floor really close to members and yelled minimal cues to save my voice.”
Ted Rivers: “I lost music completely at the start of the Party Step track in BODYSTEP™. Taught the entire track without music while my co-Instructor tried to fix the problem. Had to keep the class moving. It was my personal greatest teaching moment. Nailed that track and kept everyone going. We all still talk about that day.”
Kelly MacKay: “I was brand new to BODYATTACK™ and didn’t know the members AT ALL, and the stereo wasn’t functioning. I had to project the music from an iPhone while another Instructor held it in the air for an hour. Room of 30 people who were adamant that they were doing BODYATTACK that day. You could hear everyone’s breathing and toes tapping the whole time.”
THAT DAMN AUX CORD…
Sarah Lynne: “When I first started teaching, the aux cord for the gym's stereo system kept disappearing... Instructors were ‘borrowing’ it and leaving it in random places. I had to make my own speaker system by putting my phone in a cup that I got from the smoothie bar at the gym.”
Stacey Chiacchio: “I teach a busy Friday night class in downtown Boston. I go in and see that the cord to the stereo is missing. Who walks off with a cord? I tried to steal the cord from the spin room but couldn't do that it's a different set up. Well I look at all my peeps and say I don't have music so we are doing this without music. And everyone stayed! We did every track and I sang the songs to myself.”
Mara Eggers: “I remember the first time the mic went out while I was teaching (about a year after getting certified)... at that time I was in a big gymnasium where I had to walk quite a way to a room where the stereo was. I managed to run over there while still shouting cues, switch the batteries out, and run back in without missing a beat. Felt so amazing that I was comfortable enough to do that and not freak out!”
Cynthia Tidwell: “After training – before I was even certified – the power went out (transformer blew). So in July Georgia [US] heat we pulled a car around back, hauled the equipment out the back door to the parking lot, blasted music from the car, and yelled so everyone could hear us. We had a good crowd stay!”
Suzette Jackson: “I once had to cut the mic out of my hair to get it off!”
Maria Karabatzakis: “I lost count on how often there were problems with the stereo and mic. In one week, this was true for classes on four consecutive days! Actually my class members make it fun, because every time this happens they say immediately: "Oh it’s OK, with the volume of your voice you don't need a mic!" I always reply: "OK but that means I need you now more than ever, pay more attention to my non-verbal cues and sing along a bit more".
Lesley Rae King: “I showed up to sub a BODYBALANCE™ class only to find no power. The manager told me I could still teach if I wanted to. The studio doors had been closed, trapping cool air inside. We had daylight filtering in and emergency lights. The trainers set me up with the wireless bluetooth speaker, and I taught from the middle of the floor with no mic. The few people who showed up and stayed for class were grateful.”
Barb Maurer Knutson: “I was teaching at a Golds Gym and in the middle of the chest track, we lost power. The only light we had was the emergency lights. I kept going, no music, no mic. This is when knowing your choreo 100% shines. We continued as no one wanted to leave their workout. The beauty of it all was to hear everyone breathe!”
Suzanne Carter: “Had a power cut teaching BODYBALANCE and carried on teaching in silence. It was actually quite nice!”
Andreas Johansson: “The power went out in a BODYCOMBAT class and my immediate reaction was ‘OK, everybody up against a wall, we're doing 50 Roundhouse kicks per leg without touching the floor’ and so we did. Haha. Another time the battery in my phone died in the last 45 seconds of the final power track and I just told them to keep punching and acted like the music wasn't gone!”
Nikki Spalding: “My shoelace came completely undone during the track I had been dreading the most when I was filming my BODYCOMBAT assessment video last weekend! Jump kicks on a small stage with a very loose trainer... but I kept going until the end of the track, whilst cursing the fact that I hadn't done my usual pre-class ritual re-tying of laces.”
Sara Kemp: “The underwire popped out of my bra teaching SH’BAM™ once, stabbing me in the middle of the chest. I threw it off the stage and carried on.”
Jo Hensman: “The front of my 'do up at the front' sports bra came undone during the BODYPUMP Warmup (underneath a gym top). I finished the track and went into the weights cupboard to do it up again and then carried on. Still to this day, I'm not sure what it looked like for the members!”
Lisa Kitching: “Going to the Ladies’ straight after teaching BODYBALANCE only to discover a hole in a crucial part of my leggings! #mortified.”
Lu Nuñez Olivera: “Forgot my shoes, did BODYATTACK barefoot. That's worse than the mic not working. Just breathe, make fun of it and try to be prepared or have a plan B for next time.”
Víctor Fernández Imbernón: “I was teaching one morning and it was raining very heavily outside. Just 10 minutes after we started moving, water started falling from the ceiling like a waterfall! I asked everyone to move to the bikes room (nobody was using that room) and we finished in there.”
Alice Oliver Witteveen: “Bad Midwestern storm blew in about 5 minutes before BODYPUMP. No lights, no mic and no music but 25 people who wanted their workout. The studio is in the basement so we decided to go for it. I got down on the floor with them and taught the entire release in the dark, without music. Finished exactly on time and we still talk about it seven years later!”
Sara Kemp: “The underwire popped out of my bra teaching SH’BAM once, stabbing me in the middle of the chest. I threw it off the stage and carried on.”
Reena Dulfon: “When it rains, the ceiling leaks. It’s shocking to all of a sudden get dripped on, not to mention dangerous, but I usually have someone run downstairs and get a stack of towels and we put them down in the offending spots. Happened on Thanksgiving in a packed class, just advised people to be careful and aware!”
THE JOY OF PHONES…
Stacey LeAnne Culp Ohlenburger: “Forgot to put the phone on Airplane Mode and my mom called during the squat track in BODYPUMP. Luckily, I knew the song quite well so I kept going until the ringer stopped. I was half a beat off but landed the choreography perfectly.”
Suzanne Lang Perdigao: “Forgotten iPod with no time to go home and get it. Found music in my phone library and picked songs that matched the feel and tempo of each track... and quickly choreographed it in my head. BODYPUMP to Country, Zumba and contemporary Christian music. It kind of worked... and better than no class!”
Bryony Ross: “I lost any working connection between my phone/iPad and the stereo not long back. Tried new connector, new aux cable, new port... nothing. However,the headmic worked, so I played my music through the headmic and just got on with coaching. Turns out that BODYPUMP music sounds like bad beatboxing when you play it that way, which had everyone in stitches, and actually made the whole thing a good laugh!”
WHEN DISASTER REALLY STRIKES!
Seamus Mac: “Falling down the back of the gym stage during plyometric lunges. Everyone tried to stop, but I wasn’t having that and quickly reminded them that they should still be moving! I got a big cup of coffee and a cake after that.”
Suzette Jackson: “I once had to cut the mic out of my hair to get it off!”
Jordan Young: “I stacked it completely in my ETM [Exercise to Music] practical assessment. But recovered and still managed to keep everyone moving. Even the assessor was concerned for me but gave me a pass for keeping everyone going!”
Dorothy Flanagan Evans: “Tore my ACL during BODYCOMBAT. Finished the class doing only upper body moves and calling out the choreography while sitting in a chair with my leg elevated and iced. The members still can't believe I finished the class.”
Erika Shehan Poole: “I once threw up teaching LES MILLS GRIT™. Luckily the people in the class were face down doing Mountain Climbers and missed my epic moment with the trash can. How did I get through it? Not drawing attention to what just happened. More floor coaching than normal.”
Katie McDonald Whittaker: “I had to run out and throw up during BODYSTEP. It was the last cardio peak and I hadn’t been feeling well, but thought I could still teach. When I came back I told the members I could coach them through abs or just go to cool down. They chose abs.”
Laura Faragalli D'Ascenzo: “When I was videoing BODYPUMP the first time, I picked up the bar for the back track and when I brought the bar up and over, the weights fell off the bar because I hadn’t clasped them on! Obviously I had to video all over again another time.”
Alessandra Casagrande: “Taking an Initial Training, I was going to start the Masterclass and opened my bottle of water for drinking. The bottle exploded like a bomb, water (and some sugars and BCAAs) everywhere on stage! A disaster! The solution? To clean and to try to keep attention and focus on the class.”