No matter what field you’re in we have all experienced the negative nelly.  Doesn’t it get so annoying when all you hear from this person is what they don’t like?  Perhaps, it’s something about you and perhaps it just something about life in general.  In any case, this person drags the morale of yourself and potentially the rest of the group down.  For me, being in fitness it seems to be quite a common personality trait to come across.  When teaching a group exercise class, you may have someone that tells you directly that they do not like a specific exercise….right in the middle of class when you’re trying to direct and assist 19 other people.  Putting you on the spot to either address the concern or let it roll off your back.  So what do you do?  For me, depending on the comment and who it’s directed at(sometimes they just like to tell another participant in the class what they don’t like and sometimes it’s directed at you the instructor), I will either just keep helping the other people or if it’s directed right at me, I will say, “let’s talk after class to come up with some other examples of exercises you would like to see” or, if I know they constantly do this, I will approach them during class to make a modification to the exercise, easier or harder depending on if  they’re struggling or not .  It is up to you as the leader to keep the mood of the class light and upbeat.

Chances are this person is not unhappy with the exercise but at their progress and lack of motivation to reach their goals.  It usually goes deeper than just, “I don’t like this exercise because it’s boring”.  If you make yourself available to talk after class perhaps a few classes down the road the truth will come out why this person isn’t happy.  Remember, we are here to help others every way we can…not just to get fit but our sessions (group setting and one on one) usually end up turning into a therapy session.  Always make yourself approachable and have a positive attitude towards everything you do.

What are your secrets to dealing with negative individuals?  I know this doesn’t only happen to fitness professionals…hair dressers, photographers, corporate employees, share your tactics with us.

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