One of the hardest things to do when you are first starting out in the industry, or even as an experienced freelance instructor is to say ‘No’.

You will be full of excitement, passion, thinking you are Queen Bey in the fitness world (which I like to do regularly lol) so it is only natural to want to say ‘Yes’ to everything. To not miss out on opportunities, the money, and if you are freelance, you don’t know what is coming in next. But there are times when saying yes can compromise your professionalism, diverting you off plan, or even compromise your wellbeing.

It’s taken me years of perfecting the art of saying no, and even now I struggle with it.

As a tutor, you get asked many questions from students regarding this type of response.  The thought of saying no to participants makes any new instructor feel nervous.  Not only for the thought of turning a punter or a coordinator away, but we strive for the numbers and don’t want to be seen as difficult.

It is not being difficult.  It is professionalism.  Knowing yourself, and setting your own ground rules; trusting yourself and remembering it is your class.

Of course you need to consider company procedure, but you will select places of work that suit your work ethic.

Make the class your own.  If your gut isn’t sure, I am a firm believer of following your instincts.  Unless you are indecisive at everything, then take a bit of time. People will try taking advantage.

So here are some tips of when it is ok to say no.  Don’t make the mistakes I made when first starting out; saying yes to everything to get the permanent slot on the timetable, over promising and under delivering.

Plan, be organised, take the best opportunities and allow fluidity.

I am glad I made mistakes as it has moulded me into the professional I am today, but it is always good to share with others.

It’s ok to say no when.

  • You only have 15 minutes to get across town before the next class starts. The 5-minute chat before a class and the time you spend answering questions at the end of a session are worth more than you realise.  It is the best time to build a rapport with your participants, to welcome new participants and knowing the needs and wants of your group will enhance your class content and success, more so than a flustered instructor with no time for anyone, because they are trying to cram in too many classes in a short amount of time.
  • Someone has mentioned an illness or condition you are not sure of. You have a duty of care to look after everyone within your studio.  If its pushing your boundaries than its ok to say no, politely of course.  You don’t want to cause more harm than good.
  • Your regulars are getting too familiar with you.Have your business account and then a personal one.  Of course you will have your buddies and your favourites, but don’t feel like you always have to say yes.  Save the socials for seasonal events.  Anything too clicky will lose newbies and you will value your space.
  • The pay doesn’t match your worth. Be realistic with the going rates, your experience and class numbers, but it always needs to add up.  When considering your rates, do think about the planning time, business expenses and value you can bring to the centre.  Minimum wage will only cover the time within the studio.
  • If you are already at the max and you’ve planned in some well earned time off. Value the days off, your body and mind will thank you.  Always ‘on the go’ won’t help your creative juices and focus. A time out is needed for balance. Always plan in a day or a morning off. Don’t just function, flourish.
  • The deal doesn’t sound right. I’ve heard crazy stories on courses from students. They are only paid if numbers are over 8 in the class, or money is deducted from the permanent instructors wage because a cover instructor cancels a class later down the line.  You completed the work.  Be your own boss and be on the books to ensure payment.
  • Instagram can wait. Some participants lack confidence and self-esteem.  Getting these beauties on board is the most rewarding. Don’t give them a reason to stay away. They are already worried their leggings aren’t the latest, how they look when getting sweaty, or anxious they don’t know what’s going to come.  Don’t then surround them with constant photos.
  • Other instructors are getting too bitchy. Don’t ever apologise for being you.

“Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it.” ~ Elastigirl

And don’t you forget it!

by Kt Horsley-Page

For me, class instructing has always been a pleasure. I love to feel the music, the energy in the room and be right there with my class participants, feeling what they are feeling, hearing what they are hearing and doing what they are doing.

I would attend fitness conventions and just buzz for the whole weekend, jumping from one session to the next (and suffer for the next week!). It was at FitPro Live that I saw an advertisement for presenters for the MOSSA brand, and although I was pretty fresh out of the fitness gates and newly qualified compared to most of the people I was used to seeing up there on the stages, I decided to give it a whirl! And I’m thrilled I did!

I was selected (after a rather hard-core weekend of training and assessments) to come on board as a national trainer for the MOSSA brand. Whoop!

That was 3 years ago, and since then FitPro and MOSSA have been a huge part of my life! I’ve had the utmost pleasure to tour, write blogs and present in representation of the brand.

So, after years of idolising the presenters I had seen at conventions, it turns out I had what it take. So what exactly does it take?

Confidence? Yes. Physical ability? Yes. But I have a feeling it’s something more.

It’s about being an open, encouraging and accommodating personality! Connecting with the group, and through that connection allowing everyone in the room to relax, enjoy and feel like part of an experience. Everyone is playing on an even playing field and they will be included no matter their physical level. No-one will be impressed that YOU can do 100 clap push ups in a row (I can by the way) (I might be lying) but they WILL be impressed if the whole room is sweating, moving and alive with your great coaching and support.

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe if you can rock out a pair of jazzy leggings and look good with a head mic then you have what it takes – but for me, it’s why over and over I will go and check out people like Helen Carpenter-Waters, my MOSSA team mates, the TRIBE team and the ViPR trainers – because I know I’ll be welcomed with open arms, put at ease – but most of all.. I’m going to have theeee most fun!!

…and there we have it! Turns out the magic ingredient for me… is FUN!!

Holly Lynch

Moves that Matter!

For many years now group exercise has progressed along the route of HIIT training with an emphasis on time-undertension-exercise, often muscles are isolated and sometimes integrated (whole body approach) – both of which have merit- to elicit benefits that include the secretion of Lactic Acid, by which Anabolic hormones such as HGH, IGF-1 and Testosterone ‘ramp up’ in the person who engages in this activity.

The above makes total sense when looking at ‘how to get the most’ out of our participants in the small amount of time we are lucky enough to spend with them. Its ‘bang for buck, right?’

The problem with this method of thinking, and its execution, is that it’s actually diminishing the quality and quantity of the ‘human’ (that stands before us) life (literally?!?).

Let me explain, or try to at least in a short blog.

MOST (if not ALL) people do NOT MOVE ENOUGH to give their anatomy and physiology the bare minimum it requires to embide nutrients (that’s another point, most people DON’T get nutrient dense foods in diet these days) from the food they eat to take to, and allow for functional performance and remodelling (joints, connective tissues, skin etc).

The net result of the above is that joints begin to lose mobility, surrounding tissues ‘stiffen’ to protect further loses in range of motion, peoples connective tissues and skin rapidly age (faster than should be) with ladders up to ‘niggles, pains, aches, wrinkles etc’, and the sad reality is……the way we typically exercise does NOTHING to address these human progressive ailments that our participants come to, for our expertise, in the first place?…very sad reality, huh?

The current exercise paradigm (mentioned in paragraph one – HIIT and muscular focused exercise/movement prescription) is diminishing our life expectancy at the ‘cellular level’ and the movements themselves do NOT address the tissues qualities from an ageing, and mobility-stability-strength perspective.

So, our current exercise is KILLING us FASTER than its actually prolonging life? Yep, that’s true, see when you engage in regular HIIT style training (along with life’s other stressors, work, bosses, time constraints etc), without adequate rest recovery and ESPECIALLY LOW INTENSITY exercise/movement produces a constant ‘cell messaging signal called mTOR’ that is responsible for producing Faster, Harder and Stronger pathways that long term, with no offset, eventually die away (as mitochondria wither away and die, remember back to energy systems in L2, mitochondria store oxygen, fats and glycogen that is essential to cell maintenance and performance).

Did you know, that life expectancy is governed by Mitochondrial density (measurement of amount of mitochondria in cells across the body)

And, what is our HIIT training doing? Degrading and diminishing mitochondria.

Uh- oh, so live like a ‘beast’ with lots of ‘gainz’ in your 20s and 30s, but then be broken, crippled and potentially ‘brown bread’ (London slang) in our 40s, 50s and 60s.

Movement, and exercise MUST (or should at least) address the tissues (ALL but muscles) requirements for 3D variable movements – but not just ‘random shiz’ – movements that are essential to human performance, with purpose through variety built in.

How do we do this you ask?…

Answer, be there on April 20th and we will share the secret to longevity, performance and variation that will make your class participants ‘buzz’ with joy, because of the many new and fun (but purposeful) exercises that you have been empowered to own, and deliver to your masses.

I, for one, can’t wait to share in this experience with you. Purchase your tickets here.

Paul Edmondson


Pinnacle by definition means ‘the most successful or admired part of a system or achievement’.

So why ‘Pinnacle Group Exercise’?

I am a firm believer that you must always be authentic to yourself as that’s what integrity is all about and frankly people can see right through the ‘BS’ in a second.  I could not name my business ‘Pinnacle’ unless I knew 100% that firstly, I could stand proudly representing that very definition and secondly without knowing that our industry is desperately in need of an injection of excellence.

My intrinsic mission is to inspire other fitness professionals to excel so that more people are positively influenced by moving more often.  I firmly believe that I have both the skills and belief to inspire others to make that impact. It’s not so that I will stand here at the peak of the pinnacle on my own but so we can all raise one another up and empower each other – yes, even after 25 years I am still learning and growing!

In the last few years I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to really delve in to what my real ‘why’ is (Simon Sinek would be proud). I have been able to ponder on what my purpose, cause and belief is so that I can truly inspire others. Simon Sinek’s words can sum it up beautifully: “It is one of life’s greatest joys to wake up in the morning… every morning, with a clear sense of why that day matters, why every day matters.” I guess, sometimes you have a calling – and this is mine!

I have also pondered on what I want my legacy to be whilst staying firmly authentic to myself (Brené Brown would be even prouder). I often think of her wise words: “Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.” And man, I am feeling courageous.

So now you know our why – I’m guessing you are wondering how on earth we are going to make this all happen?

Whether you are flying solo teaching freestyle or pre-choreographed classes or you are a club owner sensing a need for change we offer an extensive range of revolutionary services to support and enhance the group exercise community.

We would love to hear from you. We are ready to supercharge you to excellence.

Contact Teresa on 07775 840584 or at

Who is Pinnacle Group Exercise founded by?

Teresa Wheatley (lots of people know her as ‘The Razor’).

So, why the name?

Pinnacle by definition means ‘the most successful or admired part of a system or achievement’.

What’s the tag line?

Education, Events, Excellence.

What is your mission?

Our mission is simple: Transforming the group exercise landscape through exceptional education, inspiration and support. Helping every group exercise professional to reach their pinnacle and positively influence more people to move more often.

What’s your history?

Teresa has been fully involved in the GX industry since the early 90’s – more than 25 years (don’t even think how many years that would be in ‘dog years’). And, yes she did rock a thong leotard for many years but regrets not EVER wearing leg warmers to instruct in (note to self….there is still time)

Who is it for?

Whether you are flying solo teaching freestyle or pre-choreographed classes or you are a club owner sensing a need for change we offer an extensive range of revolutionary services to support and enhance the group exercise community.

What do we do?

World class education, transformational workshops, epic events, 1:1 or small group mentoring, presenting and a bunch of support for any business in the GX field – whether that’s helping you suss out your social media or streamline your marketing or just generally making you the top of the game.

What don’t we do?

At ‘Pinnacle’ we are proud of keeping it real and positive – so we won’t just tell you what you want to hear but we will certainly deliver you a bundle of inspiration that complements who you are and respects and encourages your authenticity.

How do I get involved?

The question is why wouldn’t you get involved. Check us out here.

How do you get in touch?

We love what we do and thrive on helping others – whether you’re at the start of your career or you are established in the industry as an instructor or a facility and needing some inspiration or just want a friendly face to talk to, we’re here. We are ready to supercharge you to excellence.

Teresa Wheatley
Contact Teresa on 07775 840584 or at

Isn’t it odd, when you really think about it, that when babies pop along we can’t wait to celebrate them starting to walk and talk and yet once they do we are very quick to encourage them to sit still obediently and be quiet. It is abundantly clear that as a nation we are struggling to get enough activity – with only 28% of women hitting the recommended 150 minutes a week and equally as shocking is that only 24% of girls and 40% of boys aged 2-15 years are meeting the recommendations.

So are you getting enough? If you are then hats off to you – please keep reading for some other great ideas to help keep yourselves motivated, but if you are struggling with how to do it then how about making it a family affair?

I think it is fair to say that many moons ago we were collectively way more active and that technology has certainly played a huge role in the demise of us just moving. It certainly was the norm to run around all day and if you think about it, kids have not changed but their circumstances have. They still have an innate need to move, play and have fun – in fact don’t we all? However old we are.

The stats are tragic – the research clearly shows that behaviours in physical activity as a child often continue in to adulthood. Children who are inactive are robbed of opportunities to learn important skills, are more likely to be obese and are developing sedentary habits that can last a lifetime.

So here are my top tips to get you all involved:

Take their lead

So often we are expected (rightly so) to be role models to our children, but there are so many things we can learn from our kids. In their younger years they are bundles of energy and so carefree – they want to play with you at every moment – so seize this opportunity. We’ve all heard that old saying ‘they grow up too fast’ and they certainly do – so set aside time when you truly give them 100% focus and dedication and get totally involved. You could call this your ‘family fun hour’ where you turn off all distractions and focus solely on moving and playing – yes, they may want to make an obstacle course out of your favourite cushions or jump in muddy puddles but just embrace it and play – find the big kid in you too.

It is really helpful to schedule this time (even make a wall planner) then you will all stick with it and you can also include the whole family in coming up with ideas – that way you can really listen to what your kids like to do and embrace their naturally creative side. You could also show them a few of the games you used to love from your childhood such as ‘stuck in the mud’ or maybe your killer dance moves.

Alongside your planner you could have a reward chart where you all receive recognition of what you did – yep, even Grandad can have a sticker for scoring a goal (or two). This would also be a great chart to award great sportsmanship, creativity and participation.

Look around you

You’ll notice that kids jump on to the latest crazes and like to do what their mates are doing – so why not ask them what they like to do – let them take the lead. Yes, it might mean you having to do a little research too (yep, I had to ask another adult what Pokemon Go was all about – then I realised it was like geocaching but with a device). There is plenty around that inspires kids – it might be watching other kids at the skate park or taking a few highlights in from sports events such as the Olympics. Also whenever you are out and about you can use your surroundings to get in some activity or work on a skill – think of everywhere as your playground. It might be balancing on a low wall on the way to the shops, or jumping on and off logs in the woods or using a Frisbee or ball in the park.

Don’t just rely on the third parties

Although we know how fantastic kids coaches are and it’s great to sign your kid up to be in a team – don’t forget your influence can also be massive. After all you wouldn’t expect your babysitter to teach junior to tie their shoelaces whilst you watch from the side lines. The research points so very heavily at kids being highly influenced by seeing active parents and grandparents so make an effort to set time aside for your own fitness, activities and hobbies so that they see your example.

The here and now and the sparkly teeth concept

Try to avoid assuming that kids understand the concept of what could happen to them in the future, especially when they are young. If you were to say to a 3 year old “if you don’t brush your teeth you will lose them when you are older” – they simply don’t get it. Yet if you were to say to them “let’s brush your teeth so they are all sparkly” they will understand. Considering this within fitness should mean we talk about them being faster, stronger or jumping higher rather than avoiding problems in later life, although of course we do know that ourselves.

Walky Talky

There are moments as a parent when you fear your kids might be struggling to open up so my top tip would be try what I call ‘walky talky’. I’m astonished how well both of my sons open up to me when we just go out for a walk. My youngest might talk about his favourite dinosaur but for my eldest son who is 17 I have found his words flow easier when we just take a stroll.  He has an openness and honesty that a teen might struggle with at other times when talking to their parent.

Are you ready for a change?

Currently 2.7 million people in England use the NHS Change4Life programme – you may well have seen it advertised on TV and yep, I would highly recommend it for families. It is simple to sign up and it helps you create activity programs and gives very helpful hints also on nutrition – they have a great app called ‘Food Scanner’ that is a simple tool you can scan food with to show in a very easy graphic of how much sugar is in a snack for example. Change4Life has different initiatives all the time to keep you interested – currently they have 10 minute shake ups which is full of simple ideas of how to get 10 mins of activity which would get you well on your way to meeting the recommended quota.

So how much is enough and how do you know you are getting enough?

Kids up to 5 should be having a whopping 3 hours activity a day and 5-17 years olds should be accumulating 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous activity in an interval approach. For any age it most definitely needs to be safe, enjoyable and developmentally appropriate and also needs to be consistent. I believe consistency comes about recognising it is vital and essential – so make time for it – it is as simple as that. Also try and add variety so it doesn’t feel stale – a great little app from Change4 Life is ‘ Fun Generator’ – it’s so simple to use and free – simply select whether you are playing indoors or outdoors and then select how many kids are playing and then press go – it gives you a brilliant selection of activities to try out.

Technology is not always the enemy

It is recommended that teens have less than 2 hours doing sedentary non-academic activity a day, such as watching television or screen time. But we can use technology to get us moving more (remember Pokemon Go?) Do you wear a fitness tracker? If not maybe take a look at them together or perhaps get them a pedometer so they can keep track of how much movement they are getting – this isn’t about creating competition but more for awareness. Or simply use the timer on your watch to keep track during an activity or get them to count how many flights of stairs they climbed in the day for a fun task – they might even beat you.

Body confidence

Try and avoid using your kids shape, size or image as the reason to exercise – in a way as soon as we talk about it like that we could potentially start making this an issue. Instead talk about how strong, how skilled, how brave your kids are. Also resist the temptation to appear that we are punishing ourselves with exercise as exercise is so much more than that and our kids almost certainly need to be shown how to be body confident as well as how to exercise.

So let’s stop kidding ourselves and imagining that our families fitness and wellbeing is going to take care of itself – you now have some simple, effective, tried and tested top tips to ensure you and your family are getting enough and more importantly having a shed load of fun whilst doing it – you can even think of it as homework and the dog definitely won’t eat this!

Good luck with it all!

And for all of your kids’ fitness instructors out there check out how ‘Pinnacle Group Exercise’ can help you supercharge your sessions with our extensive range of revolutionary services.

Teresa Wheatley

Contact Teresa on 07775 840584 or at


ABBA clearly appreciated music but as ETM instructors do we, or is it just a background beat?

When I began teaching ETM (back in the last millennium) I would take a weekly trip to ‘Our Price’ (anyone else remember them?), pop on a pair of headphones and listen to the latest releases on vinyl, practicing jacks, grapevines and dance steps to see if the music was the correct speed, had the right energy and mood, offered lyrics that inspired dynamic movement, didn’t offend, and had that extra ‘something’ that stimulated my creativity.

Well whilst Our Price is, sadly, long gone- now we can go online and choose as much fab music as we like whilst staying at home, or sitting at our desks, supervising the children in the park and so on. In fact ‘MyGroupFit ‘even have an app that you can load on to your Mobile phone so you can select your class music any time, any place, anywhere!

Maybe because it has been made so easy for us, we don’t take the time or go out of our way to be as selective or creative with our music choices or how we use them; maybe we leave it to the last minute, are ‘time poor’ teaching too many classes, have another job, family responsibilities or maybe we are bored stiff with our current classes and associated playlists and lack the motivation necessary to search for the sort of inspirational music, that will light a creative ember within us.

Certainly there is a lot of fantastic pre-mixed music available to us, with up to the minute tracks, expertly mixed to make our research and decision making far easier. Fitness music companies such as My Group Fit, Fit Mix Pro and Pure Energy and others have done the legwork for us – they’ve pitched, harmonized and taken out those awkward bridges and uneven phrases too. However our work is not yet done if we want to produce inspiring, creative, original and ‘unique to us’ classes that stand out from the rest.

It’s a competitive market particularly if you teach a franchise or large brand class.

I have always loved to use the latest music but still, occasionally, enjoy returning to my back catalogue of vinyl and CD’s, revisiting old favorites and classics too – I thrive on matching the various genres of music to the style of movement and choreography. That’s why I still love and am excited by creating and teaching my group exercise and dance classes even after all these years. How can I ever get bored when there is such a variety of music to choose from (with more being created and made available daily).

Different moods, styles and speeds of music entices us to move in various unique and original ways (even if the base moves are the same, the feel and attitude will be different), it’s a ‘crime’ against ETM (he he) not to allow the music to guide how we want to move, it’s a natural instinct and when we relax and ‘play’, making time to freestyle and Jam we can all be creative and original.

If a teacher is not exploiting their music to it’s full potential, I can see how they will get bored, and bored teachers becoming boring teachers!

Without doubt de-bridged and pre-mixed music can make our life easier, we can create blocks of choreography to fit sets of 32 counts, throw on some music that’s the right BPM and we are ready in a flash – essential for a ‘time poor’ teacher. Having a professional music provider recommend BPM for certain activities can help us select appropriate music for our class content and target group i.e. not too fast, preventing full range of motion and allowing momentum to do the work or too slow, making movements feel sluggish, heavy or impossible to do at that speed.

However these rules are not cast in stone and, if we use the theories of how to control intensity, effort and learning pace, we can explore/play around with different styles and tempo. After all, as long as everyone gets a safe, effective and enjoyable session that keeps them coming back for more, we have achieved our goal haven’t we? We want to keep the regulars inspired and the newbies coming back for more, changing the way we use our music can help refresh our teaching and stop us from slipping in to a rut.

Class management is far easier when an instructor knows their music well (de-bridged music is reliably consistent which helps), can understand how to use it i.e stay in time with the musical beats and phrases, using bridges, unique quirks and sound effects) and cue clearly, ensuring the safety (i.e. no collisions or mistimed movements) comfort and professional presentation of the class. I’ve been to several classes where the instructor is out of time with the musical phrase resulting in mayhem and frustration – not enjoyable at all and I’m routed to the spot unable to move – I’m not alone either you can see the discomfort of the musically sensitive and the energy levels of the class are often very flat.

I’m always listening out for fab tunes (in the car, out at the shops etc.) and my ‘Shazam’ app is well used!  Even my class members are on the look out for fab music and I get recommendations weekly from them regarding a track that they think I would like or they would like me to use – isn’t that great! It really helps me out and I love that they are so involved in their classes.

I often select one of the tracks on a mixed CD (or a single track) and create a routine specifically to match that track. I use the rest of the music (which is the same BPM and often style) to break down the movements and build the routine, taking as much time as is necessary to create our ‘dance fitness masterpiece’. By working like this I’m not time pressured because as the track is ending the next one mixes in smoothly without disrupting my teaching flow and allows us (my class and I) to maintain the exercise intensity and learning pace comfortably.

It’s a quick and easy way to create a unique, original, bespoke routine using the musical resources that you already have.

I have lots of other tips to share with you regarding music, creativity and effective teaching as a fitness and dance fitness professional in future blogs, but for now I set you this challenge.

How can you make more use of the potential for creativity in the music you use in your ETM classes (this includes all styles: circuits, step, HIIT as well as aerobics etc.)? Take a little time to really listen to it beyond just the beat and tempo. Why not try pulling out one track from your latest mix CD and create a routine that fits that track perfectly. It doesn’t have to be aerobics or dance it can be any fitness activity set to music! Let me know how you get on – I look forward to hearing all about it and welcome any questions you might have for me.

Helen Carpenter- Waters

Helen has enjoyed an exciting career in Professional Dance, Choreography and Fitness (with many TV, Film, video and live show credits). She is an international presenter, educator, writer, sports consultant and Director Of DYBO, providing a variety of health and fitness services for the public and further training and education for Dance and fitness professionals including the popular  ‘Independance’ events.

Helen is a multiple GB Sports Aerobics and Gymnastics champion and recipient of the Fitness Professionals ‘Fitness Leader of the Year’ award & MyGroupFit Ambassador

‘INDEPENDANCE’ runs 4 times a year in Surrey and is a must for anyone that simply loves to dance their butt off.

Participants enjoy creative dance masterclasses; experiencing a range of different styles, led by Helen Carpenter-Waters and supported by an amazing special guest presenter.

2019 Events

  • Sunday 3 March – with guest Zoe McNulty
  • Sunday 19 May – with guest Antonio Susinni

You will have great fun and lots of giggles at INDEPENDANCE, as you experience new ways of moving and dancing.

For more information and to book visit

Contact Helen on