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Unlocking Your Flow State

aqua fitness instructor exercise instructor group fitness instructor instructor development Jul 03, 2024

As a group fitness instructor, achieving a flow state can significantly elevate your performance and the joy you derive from teaching. Flow state, a concept popularised by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is a mental state of complete absorption and engagement in an activity. Let’s explore some practical and actionable steps to help you achieve a flow state during your classes, ensuring a more rewarding and effective fitness experience for you and your participants. 


Understanding the Flow State

Flow state, often referred to as being "in the zone," is characterised by:

  • Complete Focus and Concentration: Full immersion in the class delivery 
  • Merging of Action and Awareness: Effortless involvement in teaching the class.
  •  Loss of Self-Consciousness: Reduced awareness of yourself as separate from the participants. You are all part of the joy of the movement and music.
  • Sense of Control: Feeling capable of meeting the participant and class format requirements.
  • Distorted Sense of Time: Time seems to fly by or stand still.
  • Autotelic Experience: The activity is rewarding, regardless of the outcome.

Flow is achieved when the challenge of teaching the class matches your skill level, creating a balance that fosters deep focus and enjoyment.


3 Techniques to Achieve Flow


1. Use Music to Enhance Flow 

Music is a powerful tool to keep you and your participants in the zone. The right music can elevate energy levels, synchronise movements, and create a more immersive experience. 

Actionable Tips:

Segment Your Playlist: Create different playlists for different parts of the class. For example, use energising, high tempo tracks (140+ BPM) for the main workout and slower, calming tracks (60 - 90 BPM) for warmups and cooldowns.

Match Music to Movements: Ensure that the rhythm and intensity of the music match the type of exercise. For example, use tracks with a strong beat for high intensity interval training and more melodic tunes for yoga or stretching segments.

Use Music as a Cue: Select songs with clear, distinct beats that can act as natural cues for movements. This can help participants stay in sync and improve their rhythm response.

Experiment with Genres: Test different music genres to see what resonates best with your class. Pop, rock, hip hop, and electronic dance music (EDM) are popular choices, but you might find that other genres like Latin can also energise your sessions. 

Update Regularly: Keep your playlist fresh by regularly updating it with new tracks. This prevents monotony and keeps participants excited about your classes.


2. Integrate Mindfulness Techniques

Mindfulness can help you stay present and focused during your classes. Here are some techniques to incorporate before and during your sessions:

Actionable Tips:

Pre-class preparation: Before the class starts, spend a few minutes in quiet meditation or deep breathing exercises. This can help centre your mind and body, reduce pre-class jitters, and enhance your focus. 

Setting Intentions: Before entering the class, set a personal intention for the session. This could be something like “stay fully present” or “connect deeply with participants.” 


3. Progressive Challenges for Yourself

Continuously challenge yourself to grow and improve as an instructor. This keeps you engaged and motivated, which is essential for achieving flow state.

Actionable Tips:

Learn New Techniques: Regularly attend workshops or online courses to learn new fitness techniques and trends. This will not only enhance your skill set but also keep your classes fresh and exciting. 

Set Personal Milestones: Create a roadmap for your professional development. Set specific milestones, such as mastering a new class type, achieving a new certification, or incorporating a new training method into your sessions.

 Experiment with Class Formats: Try teaching different types of classes or varying your usual format. For instance, if you typically teach high intensity interval training (HIIT), try incorporating elements of freestyle formats to diversify your teaching experience.



Unlocking your flow state as a group fitness instructor can transform your teaching experience. By setting clear personal goals, creating a distraction free environment, using music effectively, incorporating mindfulness, and challenging yourself progressively achieving a state of flow becomes more accessible. This enhances your performance and makes your teaching more enjoyable and fulfilling. 

For more insights and professional development opportunities, explore the MGM Instructor Pathway. This comprehensive program offers valuable resources to elevate your teaching skills and help you unlock your full potential as a group fitness instructor.

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