Things Your Fitness Instructors Want You to Know

Happy New Year!

As we all know, a new year is often accompanied by new resolutions. Ultra common among them is the “join a gym, get in shape, eat better” trifecta.

As a fitness instructor I can personally attest to the fact that January is the busiest time of year for me. Classes are packed and new energy flows throughout the gym and it’s a pretty awesome time to be in the industry! There’s no bad time to begin (or get back into) a fitness routine but if resolution season motivates you to get moving then, sister, jump on that train and give it all you have!

In my experience group fitness is the perfect way to start, or keep up with your fitness goals. The buddy system doesn’t just work for elementary school field trips…working out with friends, new or old, can seriously motivate you to keep going (sometimes peer pressure is a good thing!) Your instructor’s job is to guide you through the moves safely and effectively all while keeping the energy in the room positive and uplifting. You’re there to grow; we’re there to guide you. Group fitness gives you the feeling of a team of people all cheering you on! If you haven’t tried a group class yet, I highly suggest you do! 

Whether you’re a gym veteran or a workout newbie there are a few things you should know about how the group fitness process works. So I’m here to give you some simple guidelines of what’s expected from you as a participant as well as certain behaviors you might wanna avoid in order to get the best results possible! 

  1. Everyone is welcome!

I get it, some of you are there to make friends and socialize while others are there to just do your own thing and get on with your day. Whatever category you fall into you’re fully capable of smiling at the member next to you when they say hello. This is especially important this time of year when new members are trying to  find their place in the group. We all have our gym friends but there’s no need to be cliquey. If you see someone who looks lost or confused about the format of the class or what equipment they need then help them! Be the person who makes someone feel welcome and encouraged! Who knows, you may just be the reason they stick to their healthy resolutions! 

If you’re new to class introduce yourself…we are psyched to have you! If you have any questions…ask them! We’re there to make you feel welcome and encourage you to keep coming back! You got this.

  1. You don’t own “your spot”.

Some people like to be in the back corner, or front and center, or to the left of the instructor in the second row…

Yes, you can have a preference about where you like to conduct your sweat session. No, you don’t actually have any right to be in that spot. 

I’ve seen grown women walk up to someone in a spin class and say “You’re on my bike.” HOLY CRAP! I’ve also seen people give dirty looks and comment loudly about another member being in their preferred spot. GOOD LORD! 

No to all of this! If your gym doesn’t let you reserve bikes or machines or real estate in general ahead of time and you have a specific preference then you’re gonna just have to get there early enough to claim your space. And if it’s taken then guess what? Tough! I promise you, you burn the same amount of calories no matter what side of the room you’re on. Stop being crazy!

  1. Please, please, PUH-LEEEEEEZE don’t talk during class!

I simply cannot stress this enough! There is nothing more distracting to both the instructor and your fellow class members than having to listen to you give Jenny your favorite crockpot recipe in the middle of the workout. You might think you’re being quiet but you don’t realize how loudly you have to talk in order to be heard over me on the microphone, the music playing and everything else going on around you. Let me assure you, I can hear you. And it’s distracting me from effectively doing my job. 

If you can carry on a casual conversation, are you really working to your full potential? Plus, you might miss an important cue or instruction so it affects your workout as well. I know you really want to tell Debbie that your daughter made honor roll this semester but please do so before or after class. 

Oh, and PS…the please don’t talk rule applies to cool down as well! Some people view the cool down and stretch as an indication that the class is over and they are free to chat away. In reality the recovery portion of the class is just as important as the work itself. Be respectful of other members who are getting their cool down on! A good guideline is, if the instructor is still speaking there’s still something she’s trying to teach you so get the full benefit of her knowledge and save the chit chat for outside of class!

  1. Follow the instructions and ask for modifications as needed.

I can’t tell you how many times I see people making up their own moves in my classes. I assure you that fitness instructors spend quite a bit of time structuring their workouts to make sure you’re getting the most benefit possible. None of it is random. 

Say I’m leading the class through a plank series and you instead decide to do a bunch of bicep curls. What if I’m doing a bicep series next? You’re gonna be pretty burnt out at that point! And you’ll have missed out on an entire muscle group! If you have any injuries or limitations please ask for a modification rather than make up your own workout. Your instructor knows which muscles she’s trying to work and likely knows, like, a million other ways you can work that same muscle! Ask us, we’re pretty knowledgeable about this stuff!

  1. I work hard on my playlists…please respect that!

I personally think music is the backbone of any good workout! You want to be motivated to move and sweat and there’s no better way to get into the zone than with a good beat or powerful lyrics. Instructors use their playlists as a way to guide and shape the class…and they put A LOT of time and effort into them! So I cannot see any possible reason why a member would feel the need to yell out “I hate this song!” in the middle of a class. And, yes, I’ve had that happen. 

If a song is on my playlist it’s for one of two reasons:

  1. I like the song for a specific reason or,
  2. Someone has requested it

Everyone has different tastes in music. Imagine you absolutely LOVE a song and request it be played in your favorite spin class! It finally comes on and…someone yells in the middle of it how much they dislike it? It would be uncomfortable to say the least. As an instructor, and a person, I have songs that I absolutely cannot stand. But if someone requests one of them you can bet I’m going to play it for them! It’s not my class, it’s yours. And I want to play your favorite jams!  I’ve had people say “Ugh, never play that song again!”. Ummmm…this isn’t your wedding, you don’t get a “Do Not Play” list. You can suffer through one song you don’t enjoy. And if you hate an entire playlist then maybe that particular instructor’s class isn’t for you.

The best way to ensure you’ll be into the music is to make requests yourself! We love to know what you WANT to hear, not what you don’t. 

6. Good vibes only!

Exercise is a great way to clear your mind and change your mood! A good workout can totally turn your day around. We all have frustrations, but when you walk into a class try and leave anything negative at the door! You’re there to do something positive for yourself so embrace that! Use exercise as a treat for your body and mind and you’ll make it a habit in no time!

See you in class!!

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