What To Do When Content Loses Its Crown

Content is king! That’s the mantra you often hear from entrepreneurs and of course they’re right…partly.

That’s why Street Fit have invested so much time and money in creating a workout structure that really gets results, and a membership program that delivers regular instalments of fresh choreography. In our industry, results really count and if customers can’t shift the pounds, can’t see an improvement in muscle definition or simply aren’t enjoying themselves they’ll be off to try something else.

Are you’re sensing a ‘but’ coming up?

But how can a new Street Fit Instructor, perhaps the first in the area, entice people through the doors to sample this great content in the first place?

The trouble is, the fitness industry attracts all sorts of businesses, some genuine, some trying to make a quick killing – even some just trying to win ‘The Apprentice!’

Many of these wily companies are well aware of the tendency for some, particularly the young, to be easily swept up and carried away in a current of hype, desperate for a quick fix. Some will spend plenty of capital on dressing up their inventions while spouting all sorts of questionable facts and figures to support their fitness claims.

Step 1: Fly your banner high

The simple truth is you will have to be noticed to attract interest; to convince the next generation of fitness enthusiasts that you mean business, you need to present a flawless, polished image which breathes life and excitement Fortunately, Street Fit have the marketing knowhow to compete at the highest level. We’ve amassed a talented army of professionals to create compelling promotional videos guaranteed to capture short attention spans. Our design and writing teams collaborate to produce marketing materials of the highest calibre, with high impact visuals and persuasive messages. All it takes is for Street Fit Instructors to make sure they use the tools provided.

Step 2: Show them the kingdom

Once your clients step through the door, it’s your task to turn them into loyal subjects. Make sure that you provide a workout experience that pushes everyone yet is achievable; follow the Street Fit workout structure so that the necessary warm up, cardio and cool down sections are in place and keep a careful eye on technique and body alignment.

On a personal level, from day one start building rapport with everyone. Take an interest in their lives and ask for constructive feedback. During classes, move around the class and give equal attention to all members (after all, they all pay the same fee, don’t they). Commit to continued development by keeping abreast of the latest moves and trends in the street dance/hip hop genre, and be hungry for knowledge.

Before long, you should experience the fruits of your work. As you become locally known as the trusted street dance expert, your reputation will be the crown that keeps the pretenders to your throne at bay.

It’s Time To Slay Your Dragon

From escapee crocodiles in Essex to mythical dragons from Libya, the source of the ‘real’ story of ‘St George and the Dragon’ is a matter of some debate.

There are many versions of the tale, but one tells of a fierce dragon that was terrorising a village and demanding the sacrifice of young maidens. The princess was the last maiden alive, and was being led to the valley of the dragon, when St George sent her back and took on the venomous beast himself. After a long battle, and with his armour having been split in two by the dragon’s saliva, George despatched the monster with a savvy thrust to its weak spot (beneath the wing if you’re ever in a similar situation!).

Whatever the truth behind the myth, the fact is that the 23rd April is St George’s Day, providing the perfect opportunity to show courage and ingenuity as we fight for our ideal future. Here’s the Street Fit guide for dealing with your dragon(s)!

1.     Refuse Painful Sacrifices

You may have been used to thinking that, although having a life of freedom sounds good, you need to remain a slave to those long shifts to bring in the bacon. But just as St George refused to let the princess go to her death, don’t think that just because people (or dragons) demand things of you, you have to sacrifice your own right to live life the way you want it.

2.     Don’t Let Others Poison Your Mind

While balanced advice from trusted friends and family members should be listened to, be wary of the naysayers. There will be people out there who will ridicule and criticise you for daring to follow a path that offers to redefine your relationship with work. Much of the time these people are fearful of challenging themselves and envious that you want something better for yourself.  St George used an orange tree to shield himself from the dragon’s poison and gain respite from the beast’s attack but you could try using positive affirmations or surrounding yourself with supportive, positive people.

3.     Make Life Easier For Yourself

Sometimes the fitness industry itself may seem a bit of a dragon. If you’ve tried running your own classes but found the competition too tough, perhaps you need to try another way. Rather than spending fruitless effort bashing away at the dragon’s scales, St George aimed for the weak point under its wing. By joining the Street Fit family, we will not only provide you with the marketing tools and corporate support to compete at a professional level, we will supply you with tips and hints for securing your career victory that little bit more easily.

4.     Learn The Moral of the Story

Regardless of the version of the story, many scholars agree that it has a simple moral: the only things that stop you achieving the impossible are your own doubts and fears. We would add that by taking on that beast you could bag yourself a king’s ransom in treasure – and possibly a maiden (or knight) to boot.

Become A Street Fit Instructor Today

That’s easy! Just go to http://www.streetfit.tv/become-instructor, and scroll to the bottom for our list of upcoming courses. Click ‘Register Now’ on the course you want, or feel free to visit http://www.facebook.com/streetfit.official and nag us for a course in your area.

Sir Alan says no to Street Dance Fighting; but Could ‘Beat Battle’ have Worked?

To “adapt to any style, to be formless, to adopt an individual’s own style and not following the system of styles”.

Someone talking about street dance, maybe?

Wrong. This is Bruce Lee, talking about Jeet Kune Do, a hybrid martial arts system he devised in the Sixties and Seventies, popularising the concept of mixed discipline fighting.

So when Ricky Martin, the wrestling biochemist from ‘The Apprentice’, decided to blend modern mixed martial arts with street dance in this week’s ill-fated fitness project, perhaps he wasn’t as deluded as it first seemed. ‘Beat Battle’ may have failed to impress the big fitness clubs (or Sir Alan Sugar for that matter, who described it as a ‘punch up in a disco’), but could something similar ever catch on?

After all, martial arts and dance are not so dissimilar. Both require flexibility, discipline, balance and rhythm. Take Brazillian Capoeira, for example. Practised in secret, disguised as a dance, this is a Brazilian martial art which was once instrumental in helping slaves escape their captors. Today it is a competitive game which blends elements of combat, dance and music.

Shared urban roots

Parallels can be drawn between some popular forms of martial arts and formal dance styles. Divorced from the real world, both have sometimes been accused of focusing on rigid, rehearsed routines to the detriment of spontaneity and creativity. Bruce Lee slated some martial arts forms as lacking combat realism by teaching ‘flowery techniques’ that wouldn’t work on the street.

Likewise, the early hip-hop styles were more than just a collection of learned steps; it had a job to do. After all, hip-hop was born in the notorious South Bronx area of New York. When street dance crews met up to do battle, the stakes were high. In fact, according to Jeff Chang’s book, ‘Total Chaos’, when B-boying/B-girling was first developing it was itself influenced by martial arts movies, particularly some of the more aggressive-looking ‘toprock’ styles.

In terms of recent development, both mixed martial arts (MMA) and street dance are becoming fully integrated into mainstream culture. Just as Street Fit are adapting the street attitude and style to a wider fitness-seeking market (street dance fitness) , those within the mixed martial arts scene (particularly the American Ultimate Fighting Championship®) are attempting to do the same for their sport – said to be the fastest growing sport in the world.

So why did Ricky fail?

Building a successful fitness brand is not something that can be done overnight, even if you are bidding to be Sir Alan’s  next favoured one. One of the major issues with the ‘Beat Battle’ project, was poor video production – something which Street Fit have put a lot of effort into getting just right. Most of all, Rick’s team never convinced anyone that their idea could be fun, a central feature of any Street Fit® workout.

So if one of your customers suggests adding a few combat manoeuvres to your routine, why not give it a go. You might end up succeeding where the Apprentice-wannabees failed.

As for Ricky Martin; if he wants to go down the dance route, maybe he should follow in his namesake’s footsteps, and try ‘Livin La Vida Loca!’

“Is it time to kick-start my dance/fitness career?”

Starting a new venture is a big step for anyone, but the rewards for success include more freedom, more control over your life and (for some) greater earning potential. There may never be a ‘perfect’ time to start a dance fitness business, but there are several reasons why we think you should consider signing up for a place on our Street Fit Instructors’ course today.

If you are looking to find a Street Fit Instructor Training Course then click here alternatively you can contact us today call us on 0800 689 9909 or email hello@streetfit.tv

So What’s Today’s Excuse?

If you’re still toying with the idea of becoming a Street Fit Instructor, but haven’t yet convinced yourself to sign up, what’s stopping you?

We’ve decided to put together a list of the most common reasons why you might be stalling and submit them to a reality check.

I’ve got no time!

If you’re currently enjoying a brilliant career that you love, and putting every spare moment into it, then fine, we understand why booking a Street Fit Instructor’s course is not top of your priority list.

But if your definition of being too busy is working every hour under the sun in a job that is tolerable (at best) in order to pay the bills and put food on the table then you need to start creating the time you need to change that situation. Street Fit Instructor’s courses last one day – ONE DAY! No matter what their circumstances, everyone is entitled to a day off every now and then. Look through our list of courses and find the next course in your area and make sure you book it off – perhaps swap a day with a colleague.

Once you have your Street Fit licence under your belt, you may need to put in a bit of extra effort at first – just to get established. Are you a morning person? Consider starting off teaching early morning classes (for customers who like to exercise before work). If you’re more of a night owl, start an evening class. You may not be able to kick the day job straight away, but the extra income should help you trim down those work hours, while the extra energy you get from being Street Fit will help you make the most of your time.

I’m too unfit!

Would you make sure your house was spotless before hiring a cleaner? Of course not; so why do you think you need to be slim and toned to do a Street Fit workout? Street Fit is for everyone, not just those who’ve attained a high level of fitness (although if you want to marvel at some of the results, our Instructor’s courses are the place to come!). People of all shapes and sizes come through our street dance fitness program and you can do it too. If you are out of practise and feeling a little daunted, rest assured. You won’t be judged and you almost certainly won’t be the only one in the room.

I’ve no money!

While it’s true that it usually takes money to make money, in the dance fitness industry it usually costs a lot more money to launch a career than our modest £285 Instructor’s course fee (try adding another zero for a typical franchise). Could you do a bit of overtime at work? Is there a luxury you could do without for a month or two? Will friends or family lend you what you need? Your course fee is an investment in your future and will quickly be recouped when you start filling your classes.

I’ve no confidence

Doing anything new is going to be a little bit scary, but if we never push ourselves we will never change. Acting confidently will make you feel confident, so instead of worrying that you don’t know anybody, use that fact to indulge in a bit of play-acting (this really does work!). Before long, the upbeat atmosphere of our Street Dance Instructor’s Course will banish those early nerves and leave you wondering what all the worry was about.

You could even consider recruiting a couple of friends to come with you (but don’t forget to sign up as an agent first to bag some referral fees!)

I could never breakdance!

Street Fit isn’t breakdancing! There are plenty of other fun and funky hip hop moves that can be incorporated into a Street Fit workout. Besides, learning any skill has to start somewhere so don’t give up on yourself just yet. There could well be an inner ‘B-Boy’ (or girl) waiting to come out.

I’m too old to street dance!

As long as you’re fit enough to exercise, you’re fit enough to learn a Street Fit routine (just check with your GP first if you have any doubts). And don’t buy into the myth that losing weight will make you frailer as you grow older. Evidence shows that regular exercise helps you enjoy better health in old age, including improved strength, co-ordination and gait.

I’ve never danced before!

There are no pre-requisites to attending a Street Fit Instructor’s Course (although you have to be 18 or over). The fact that you’re on this page is probably enough to indicate that you would benefit from registering.

I don’t know how to sign up

That’s easy! Just go to http://www.streetfit.tv/become-instructor, and scroll to the bottom for our list of upcoming courses. Click ‘Register Now’ on the course you want, or feel free to visit http://www.facebook.com/streetfit.official and nag us for a course in your area.

The Importance of Great Posture

Street Fit Instructors are trained to pay close attention to their students’ bodily alignment. Beginner dancers, as you would expect, often struggle to adopt the correct posture as they try to master the choreography. Since prolonged periods of poor alignment can lead to discomfort and injury, it is important that students are corrected.

Of course, posture is not only relevant while dancing: it is a fundamental part of who we are and the effects of poor bodily alignment can profoundly affect our health, manifesting in all sorts of symptoms, from indigestion to headaches. But what is good posture and how can we best help ourselves and others to maintain it?

Proprioception: the body’s sense of alignment

Proprioception is one of the body’s less well-known senses (yes, we have way more than five!). It is how the brain keeps track of where each body part is in relation to the others, so is clearly the key factor in posture. Unfortunately, this sense is far from infallible: when we spend prolonged periods with poor alignment, the brain accepts this as the new norm, despite the fact we are holding incredible amounts of tension in the muscles. When the norm is challenged (e.g. you actively try to stand straighter), the proprioceptors signal that something is wrong and we feel uncomfortable. Without a huge effort of will, we can soon slump back into old ways.

Tension + Tension=More Tension!

If you are attempting to help a student with their alignment, pay close attention to the effect your correction has on other muscles. Although a dance fitness instructor can’t be expected to notice all signs of residual tension, it may be obvious that your student is, for example, clenching their jaw or restricting the natural movement of their diaphragm. Try to remind them to relax as much as they are able to, since chronic tension can lead to a phenomenon known as ‘dancer’s grip’, where the body appears superficially aligned but is riddled with muscular stiffness. Sadly, this does little to promote enjoyment and impairs the fluidity and grace that is the soul of dance.

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Alexander Technique

The Alexander Technique, pioneered by Frederick Matthias Alexander in the 1890s, is a well-known system that attempts to undo the habitual patterns of poor posture and stimulate greater awareness of body alignment. Advocates report that the Alexander Technique can greatly improve overall health and natural movement which, if true, can only be good for dance.

Disclaimer: This blog is for information only and does not constitute professional health advice. Students should be advised to consult their GP if they are concerned about symptoms and before embarking on any new health or fitness program.

Attention Street Fit Instructors! It’s Tax Return Time

For those who have recently become self-employed, you can expect to find a brown envelope from HMRC sitting on your doorstep, sometime this month: your tax return. If you’ve been worried about the prospect of hours of paperwork and mind-bending calculations then you can relax. Under most circumstances, your tax return can be completed in minutes (especially if you submit it online) using only a basic calculator (or even a pen and paper).

Are You Registered?

You may be wondering if you need to register as self-employed at all. The simple answer is yes.

All Street Fit Instructors work on a freelance/independent contractor basis, which means they run their own street dance fitness business. Regardless of whether you are employed elsewhere, you still need to pay income tax on your Street Fit earnings. To avoid potential trouble with HMRC, you need to register for self-assessment immediately, which can be done quickly and easily via the HMRC website. At the same time, you will be registered for HMRC Online Services which, among other things, enables you to fill out your tax return online (recommended).

Once you’re registered for self-assessment, HMRC will send you your log in details, including a ten digit tax reference number (your UTR). They should also send you a tax return reminder every April, and you should contact them if you don’t receive this.

Keeping Records

Keeping clear and accurate records of your income, expenditure and bank accounts is a legal requirement of being self-employed; it also saves huge amounts of time when filling in your tax return. You will need to keep, or record electronically, all invoices for sales and purchases, cash books, mileage records, receipts and (if otherwise employed) your P60s. If you are scanning or otherwise storing documents electronically, these must be legible and contain both sides of the document.

Filling in the Form

Although you can opt to fill your tax return in manually, there are a number of reasons why completing it online is better: you have an extra three months to submit it (Jan 31st), the relevant pages are automatically brought up, your tax calculations are done for you and you receive confirmation of receipt immediately.

On the form, you will need to enter your income from Street Fit® classes, expenses incurred for your business, any purchases or sales of assets and any other income (e.g. investments, bank interest, other employment). If your records are well-organised this is a simple case of adding up a few figures.

About expenses and assets

Here is where things can get a little tricky in some circumstances, but for most Street Fit Instructors it will be just a case, again, of adding up some figures. Expenses are anything you buy and use up as part of your business. This might include stationary, postage, bank charges, cleaning, gym rental, Street Fit course and membership fees and advertising costs. As a rule, if the expense is incurred solely for business use, you can claim it. Drivers are also allowed to claim 45p mileage allowance.  Although most small business owners will claim this allowance as a business expense, it may be worth considering treating your car as a business asset instead (you can’t do both!) Business assets are purchases that are not used up as part of your business and will last at least 2 years (e.g. machinery, vehicles, equipment). HMRC allow you to deduct a percentage of the purchase cost each year as an allowance against tax. If you have bought a new car, particularly an environmentally friendly one, it is worth getting advice from an accountant, particularly since the government are currently offering up to 100 per cent allowance on low emission cars.

Paying the Bill

After submitting your tax return, you will be advised if you have any income tax to pay. If you do, this will need to be paid by Jan 31st. As with most bills, you can choose a preferred method of payment, including Direct Debit, although sending cheques by post is not advised. For those who prefer to spread their payments, a budget plan is available for taxpayers who are up to date with their payments.

Disclaimer: This information is for guidance only and does not constitute professional advice. For any queries consult HMRC and/or a qualified accountant.

Diet or Exercise, Which is Best for Your Health?

For those battling with obesity (26% of adults in 2010, according to the NHS), the standard advice is to eat less and do more exercise. This seems logical, since weight gain has to come from taking in more energy than we use. But do we really need to exercise more to hit our weight loss targets or is it enough to simply cut down on the chips and biscuits?

We looked at some of the latest research on diet, exercise and health, and found three studies that shed some light on the issue.

Stay Fitter Longer

It is well-known among those in the street dance fitness business (and other fitness professionals) that aerobic exercise benefits the heart. During a high-intensity workout, the lungs actually grow new blood capillaries and the heart increases in strength. The result of all this is that the heart has to beat less often to pump adequate blood to those hungry muscles (that’s why top athletes have really low heart rates – even after exercise).

With inadequate exercise and excessive weight our inefficient heart and vascular system are put under extreme pressure, leading to breathlessness and weakness. This leads to a vicious circle as we end up doing less to avoid those symptoms.

A recent study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research split participants into two groups: both were put on a calorie reduction programme but one group were also given an exercise regime. Although the effects on heart rate were negligible at first, a follow-up study a year later found that those who had eaten less and exercised maintained a lower heart rate, whereas the diet-only group had not. The study concluded that those with a lower heart rate would also be more likely to keep active as it would feel more comfortable for them to do so.

Control Your Blood Sugar

Obesity is linked to Type II diabetes which is usually characterised by a measure of increased insulin resistance. This is where the body’s cells fail to react properly to insulin, the hormone responsible for controlling blood sugar levels. High levels of IMAT and VAT (Intramuscular/visceral adipose tissue – or fat to most of us!) increases the risk of insulin resistance.

A study by the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics in St Louis, found that although weight loss helped to bring down IMAT and VAT, exercise was even better.

Combat the Ageing Process

There is often conflicting information about the effects of weight loss on the elderly. It is sometimes thought that weight loss will make muscle wastage worse, leading to weakness in old age.

The third study we looked at, carried out by Washington University School of Medicine between 2005 and 2009, found that over 65s who had a history of combining dieting with exercise were stronger and had better co-ordination and gait than those who had relied on diet or exercise alone.

So it seems, from these studies, that a combination of weight loss and exercise really will keep you fitter and healthier for longer. Of course, the above studies concentrated on the effects of diet and exercise on overall health, but there are other benefits to regular exercise, for example enhanced muscle tone, better co-ordination and improved mood.

If you are looking to find a Street Fit Instructor Training Course then click here alternatively you can contact us today call us on 0800 689 9909 or email hello@streetfit.tv

Is it Really All About You?

It seems a fashionable thing to claim that running a successful dance fitness business is all about the personality, style and ambition of the instructor. Fitness professionals are advised to ignore the prevailing trends and create a unique brand of their own, powered by their optimism, enthusiasm and love for dance and fitness. Much of this advice comes from those who are either celebrity figures or have already established themselves in the dance fitness industry.

Although this ‘positive’ attitude appeals to the freedom-seeking mindset of the young generation, it is only one side of the coin. Building a name for yourself takes time and until you start becoming known for your fantastic classes, you will need to spend time researching your market and assessing if there is a demand for what you want to offer – like any other business.

Swim with the tide

Being part of a trend makes sense because you will already have a willing market out there ready to sample your classes. On the whole, people are quite conservative and often have an idea of the sort of group they want to join and rely on being given clear, unambiguous directions rather than vague, unsubstantiated hype. That’s why Street Fit provides members with bold, high quality marketing materials that leave potential customers with a precise idea of what to expect when they walk through the door. In the early stages of most instructors’ careers, the Street Fit® brand will be fundamental in attracting members.

Do it your way

Once you have got your classes up and running, you can then start the process of building a name for yourself.  That doesn’t have to mean being the bubbliest, most creative person on the planet; it means having the confidence and self-belief to be yourself. It also means committing yourself to your profession by respecting health and safety guidelines, keeping your choreography interesting and relevant and building strong relationships with your customers. 

Street dance: defined by individuality

Becoming a street dance fitness instructor is an ideal way to balance the need to be relevant with the need to express your own creativity. If you’ve ever watched a top street dance troupe in action, you will understand that a common understanding forms the platform from which true individual self-expression can flourish.  As with much of life, street dance works best when the need of the unit is balanced with the need of the individual.

Being an individual and running your business your own way is a crucial part of becoming a successful dance fitness professional, but the most successful will be those that also tap into current trends and take them to a new level.

If you want to move onto the next step and take control of your life, reaching for the stars become a member here! – www.streetfit.tv

Can ETM Really Deliver the Goods?

Although you don’t need any previous training to become a Street Fit Instructor, many looking for success in the dance fitness market start off by taking an aerobics or ETM (Exercise to Music) instructor’s course. This is by no means a bad thing: a decent ETM course will teach students how to work to the beat and phrase of the music and how to deliver instructions clearly, foundational skills in any dance fitness career. An ETM qualification will be sufficient for many instructors to find work, either with a gym or health club or as a freelancer. But is ETM certification enough to rise to the top of the fitness market in your area?

Good just doesn’t cut it!

ETM certification means you’re good at what you do, but unfortunately ‘good’ just isn’t good enough in today’s competitive marketplace. With 6,690 ETM instructors in the UK (as of Feb 2012, according to REPS), you are likely to be up against both established freelancers and those instructors employed by the fitness industry giants, all offering variations on aerobic routines as they fight for the biggest slice of the fitness pie. Some instructors try to gain the advantage by amassing more and more (expensive) modules under the guise of continuing professional development, believing that a broader skill base will give them the edge.

One downside with this approach is that potential members may get confused as to exactly what is being offered to them. Unsure of what to expect, they may just settle for the instructor who has the longest list of qualifications – and there’s always someone with a longer list than yours. What’s more, with so many avenues to explore, you might lose touch with what you really want from your career.

A class of your own

To stand out from the crowd you need to be seen to be doing something different – and doing it exceptionally well. By becoming a Street Fit® instructor you can finally concentrate on one, powerful discipline and focus all your energy on developing your core competencies. With a high level of commitment, and the support Street Fit® provides, you will soon start becoming an expert in your field giving you immense job satisfaction. Customers will know exactly what your classes are offering them.

Hip-hop’s where it’s at

In a congested marketplace full of fitness professionals giving customers what they’ve got, you have a golden opportunity to be the first in your area to give customers what they want. From awesome street crews performing on TV to sexy dance divas on MTV, hip-hop is captivating the nation and Street Fit® instructors throughout the UK are getting ready to hit the ground running and benefit from this surge in popularity.

If you think it’s time you stopped dipping your toes in the fitpro pool and got serious about your career, perhaps you should join them.