How AKT is weathering COVID and supporting dance-rooted trainers in the process

How AKT is weathering COVID and supporting dance-rooted trainers in the process

 

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Jasmeet Singh is a young entrepreneur who is humbled to have the opportunity to bring AKT to Tustin. As a dancer herself, she has always longed for a workout like AKT to combine her three passions; dance, fitness and business. AKT has brought positivity, community and her love for fitness to a new level. She is extremely excited to be able to share this unique workout to the Tustin community! For a conversation with Franchising USA, she and AKT’s Director of Education, Jonathan Tylicki, spoke about their takes on how AKT is helping dancers with permanent employment and how it’s dealing with COVID, both in Tustin and nationally. Tylicki rose in the ranks from AKT Trainer in 2014 and had roles in Cats, Chicago, Legally Blonde and was a semi-finalist on Season 2 of FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

How has AKT Tustin pivoted during the pandemic to keep relationships and classes going?

JS: In a pre-COVID world, Tustin’s AKT Trainers would have the opportunity to teach 4-5 classes a week, which really allows for them to build relationships with our clients and assist them along in their fitness journey. However, with the current shutdown of indoor operations, we have pivoted to outdoor classes. With this shift, each trainer has the opportunity to teach 2-3 classes on average which still allows for plenty of flexibility to teach additional private classes to ensure one on one focus to assist each client individually in the ways that they need.

 

What types of backgrounds in dance or arts do you see the most from resumes to become AKT Trainers?

 

JS: Most of the individuals that apply for the AKT Trainer position have some type of background in dance and fitness, as well as group training. A couple of the AKT Trainers on our Tustin team are former or current NFL cheerleaders which is wonderful because I believe that teaching an AKT class is equivalent to performing. All of our team’s AKT Trainers take the class alongside our clients to ensure that they are motivated throughout the entire experience! 

 

Do you think it’s an easy transition for dancers to enter the world of fitness? Do you often see AKT Trainers who’re well-versed in both previously?

 

JS: I wouldn't necessarily say it is "easy" for a dancer to enter the world of fitness and be great at it. I think having a dance background is a great place to start, however, each trainer goes through an extensive AKT Certification program where they work one on one with our AKT Master Trainer to learn anatomy, kinesiology and how to individualize a group workout to fit all types of needs. That's the beauty of AKT, it's like getting personal training in a group environment - but with neon lights, loud music and a disco ball!

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What types of backgrounds in dance or arts do you see the most from resumes to become AKT Trainers?

JT: Our Trainers have a variety of dance experiences, from those who just did dance growing up all the way to those with professional dance careers - and all paths in between! Most have dance teaching experience either at a local dance studio, dance camps or may even teach dance fitness. Our trainers with professional experience come from the arenas of musical theatre, dance teams, cheerleaders, dance companies, and more! We want AKT to be a place where those with experience in the arts can cultivate a new passion and continue to grow and develop a career!

Do you think it’s an easy transition for dancers to enter the world of fitness? Do you often see AKT Trainers who’re well-versed in both previously?

JT: Fitness is a great transition for dancers for so many reasons. I know that well because I transitioned from musical theatre to fitness and I see it happen constantly across our new locations as well! At AKT, we're rooted in dance and movement, so that part of the class translates well to dancers. As dancers, we've worked with our body for many years so we have a deep understanding of how we move more profoundly that just learning from a textbook can provide. With that, we can translate these concepts differently to our classes both verbally and physically. I've had many clients tell me how they've "done that exercise in a different workout" and that the way it was explained at AKT really helped them to understand it better. We're also used to using music and memorizing complicated choreography which helps in learning new class content. Dancers are also great performers and accustomed to being in front of people, which is a skill that helps them in commanding a fitness class in a positive and motivating way! 

What ideal background, qualifications and personality does an AKT Trainer have?

 

JT: Ideally, an AKT Trainer will have a background in dance, and experience teaching dance or fitness. No additional certifications are required, but having a higher degree or a certification in a fitness-related subject is a huge plus! The biggest thing that we look for is people who are passionate about what they do - that passion is going to flourish as they take on our comprehensive certification, learn new concepts, and develop and hone their skills as a trainer. Even those who have fitness experience comment on how AKT has taken their ability to the next level!

 

I like to describe our trainers with three keywords - emulous, kinetic, and tenacious. They are emulous in that people look up to them as they are an excellent example of a positive and healthy lifestyle. Kinetic describes their energy and how they are able to transfer their energy to the clients in our classes. And tenacious describes that strong-willed attitude that is always seeking to learn and grow!