Bothersome Things Fitness Instructors Do

Hey you guys!

First of all, thank you all SO much for your supportive comments & thoughts yesterday. I really appreciated every.single.one. You all are the bomb!

Second of all, today’s post will be a sort of continuation from yesterday-so please speak up! I’ll try to keep this as light as possible, but just know in advance this post is meant to be semi-funny (especially since I AM a fitness instructor), so please no one take offense!

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Real quick though, as part of a personal-life update here are just a few random thoughts….

Yesterday was a really good day. I love to-do lists, I am so grateful I have a job where I can work from home, and I like spontaneous dates out during the week!

Does anyone else in the working world think it’s still sort of a ‘school’ night during the week?? heh. Technically it is for my husband since he is in school (he went back to school last Fall), but he didn’t have much homework so off to the dollar theatre we went!

{source}

We saw the James Bond movie (Skyfall) last night–it was pretty good! I grew up on Indiana Jones, James Bond, & Star Wars, so those movies tend to appeal to me though (so do romantic movies & comedic romance. Oh and Pitch Perfect<–that’s in a class all by itself. Hah)

*****

And now, compiled from a list from you all (in the comments) and some of my thoughts/things I’ve seen, the bothersome things fitness instructors do:

Bothersome Things Fitness Instructors Do {the foreword}

Some of these are quite laughable (that they even happen), especially since I’ve seen them all.

And to be honest & up-front right away, I am no perfect person or instructor at all, so there has been times when I’ve had the music too loud for some people’s tastes (they come & tell me & I turn it down<–it’s actually kind of hard to tell up front how loud it is for the whole room), when I sing along to lyrics (hahah), when I’ve been late (4 times in my teaching career–a car accident hold up, a random traffic jam x2, & bad weather), when I’ve made a bad joke, when I’ve been annoying in my cues, or when I’ve forgotten a choreo piece.

I am human.

However, I do try to be aware of these things & find out what people like & don’t like. (I try to ask my regulars what I could do better or what they like/don’t like–which is great feedback to hear!!)

{see: human. at the 5 o’clock hour.getting ready to go teach}

For example, I have a class who loves when I am a bit sarcastic, and a class who would rather me not joke around. I have to adapt my teaching to meet that need. I also teach GRIT which incorporates an entirely different teaching method (more short phrases & more “let’s smash this workout” & get-in-their-face type stuff). And then of course Zumba is taught with a more fun/upbeat/sexy mood than a “let’s get crazy sore together” type mood. Ya know?

Personally I think that is where a lot of annoyances come–when the instructors don’t recognize what the tone/mood/energy/music of the class type & members are<—and then it comes off as un-authentic & stilted. And is often quite bothersome to members! To be completely honest, I’ve totally done that before & learned from it.

{see my teaching schedule right now}

Another thing I’ve learned–fitness instructors can NOT take themselves too seriously. It will just turn out badly, for all parties involved.

I used to take everything so seriously & got so wound up about the smallest things (“oh no she left early, she hates my class” or “oh no there are only 20 people here, what did I do last time to make them mad?” or ” do I look bad in this fitness outfit” etc.etc.) It was a tough (& long road) to learn that I do NOT need to be so serious about it all & take such quick offense to anything that might’ve gone or seemed wrong in class.

After all, it is just a fitness class. 😉

(I say that both joking & for reals. Nobody messes with my fitness classes–I love teaching!—but then again, it is just a fitness class.)

Alright, I’ve stopped making sense…..

So here ya go, the thoughts from people’s comments (if they have a blog their name is linked!) & some of my own that I’ve observed!

Bothersome Things Fitness Instructors Do

1. Starting late/coming in late (repeatedly)! {Ashley}

2. Yelling in the mic!

(major ugh on that one. You can use a loud voice to match certain parts of songs, yes, but yelling?? NO way.)

3. Saying the same things over & over!

4. When they don’t workout too! {Linz}

(haha. This one drives me crazy too!! When they just stand there or hardly use any weight on their bar again & again. This actually makes the workout less authentic for the participants & probably is why it drives members cray cray)

5. Not correcting form! Or giving good pointers to follow along to!

6. Not having situational awareness! {Amanda E}

(Julie’s story about the new person in BP<–so sad & so true. Instructors: be aware!!)

7. Groaning loudly into the mic!

8. Not knowing the choreography!

(this one is probably my top one that drives me nutso. if you’re going to be an instructor, put in the time & effort to BE an instructor-one who knows the chore0)

9. Very loud music or screaming!

10. Being too wrapped up in his/her own workout!

(they’re checking themselves out the entire class & not really paying any attention to their class. ugh.)

11. Only being kind/welcoming to certain people!

(so sad when I see this happen)

12. Talking too much or too little!

(I think both are annoying–but I have to be honest, I do talk quite a bit, but I try to make it all useful! <–i.e. why they should bring elbows to bench height, where they should feel it, etc. So this one is sort of controversial? Like when is too much?  Sometimes I throw in a story or two when short & appropriate. Members have told me that helps to keep their mind off the pain. What do you guys think?)

13. Not engaging in proper or role-model form!

(you don’t have to be crazy fit to be a fitness instructor, but you do have to know the correct technique.)

14.  Being overly negative!

*******

And to end this–these are obviously pretty small things in the grand scheme of it all, so don’t fret if you’ve done some of this before. But I don’t think it’s ever a bad thing to check in with people who TAKE classes & see what they think.

And finally, I love what I do. I love that I get to be responsible for helping people have a good workout! I love having that responsibility/power! :) (And those who want to teach, BIG TIP: recognize that you must desire this, because that is the real secret to a class going well–the instructor’s passion.)

To be a force for good in the world of so many at the gym is an honor I am grateful to have. I seriously thank my lucky stars & God that I was able to get into this side-gig thing (there were many failures along the way p.s.), for it truly makes me who I am! :)

If you’re ever in SLC, please email me & you can come to one of my classes. Yay!

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Well, have a great day! <3

Which ones did I miss?? What do YOU find is pretty bothersome that YOUR fitness instructors do?? Anything that YOU love that they do that stands out to YOU?? 

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Comments

  1. Great post (as always!). I personally love when instructors talk the whole time – it takes my mind off the pain and helps keep me focused… I think that’s part of the reason why I love bikram – the instructor talks for pretty much the whole class and there are constant reminders for what we should be doing! Instructors who yell are just plain annoying… in the mic or at people haha I need more positivity!

    • Thank you so much for that–it is always interesting to hear from the members’ perspective if it’s annoying or not. I think some people LOVE it & others don’t. Glad to hear you do, because I do TOO!! :) xo

  2. I never really had any of these problems when I used to take BodyAttack (the only class I took on a regular basis), but I can definitely see how they would be frustrating!
    More than anything, I think I appreciate enthusiasm from an instructor. Get excited about the workout, and it’ll help me get excited!

  3. YES! Great post. I hate when instructors scream (and try to never do so myself!!). And seriously, know your choreo. If you don’t have time…don’t teach!

  4. This is a great post :). I also like it when instructors greet people by name (or make an effort to learn someone’s name, at least, especially in a smallish class) and seem to have some sort of passion or personality for what they do. I was doing yoga at the gym and they got a new instructor, she wouldn’t talk to anyone before class or after class… after class she just stood there like she wanted everyone to leave, even though there was no class after us. But, I guess maybe she will improve as she teaches more :). The best thing is when the instructor is excited about what they do and offers to help you with the move after class if you need it (like the infamous clean and press!).

    • Oh yes, being a new instructor is super tough–I bet she’s really nervous 😉 I think with time, you’re right, she’ll be more inviting. Thanks for your thoughts!!

  5. This was great to read, especially because I would love to teach group fitness in the (somewhat) near future. I think you making the point that group ex instructors can’t take themselves too seriously is KEY and something I’m going to need to constantly remind myself of at first. No one is perfect, and there’s no way we’re going to be able to please every single person that comes into our classes. I just love when instructors are enthusiastic about what they do and know what they’re talking about – I think those are the main things!

  6. Great list! I once had an instructor that would talk about her ex-husband while teaching a kickboxing class . . . like taking out her anger on him during the class. It was definitely a little awkward!

  7. I agree with all those…and funny thing is I had an instructor on Thursday that did every single one of those things!!! I left the class annoyed, even though I got a good workout. If she would of toned it down and not done some of the things above I would of probably enjoyed her class…

  8. I agree with all of those! I especially can’t stand when they’re late, I want my full hour that I paid for dammit haha!

  9. Danielle says:

    Awesome list and fabulous post! Honestly I love all my fitness instructors in the morning because they are all like you – upbeat and positive! I’m pretty lucky to have a group of great instructors at my gym for the morning group fitness classes – I don’t come in the evening but I’m sure they are good, too 😉
    My only gripe is for the Master Swim coach, but not sure if that one really counts… anyhow, I’m not a former swimmer like most of the others, but want to improve. Well, he really directs the class for experienced swimmers, which I get, but leaves the beginners for last, and feeling confused as the couple of us who go don’t speak “swim terms” and end up just doing our best with what we can figure out. It’s not that big of a deal, the coach is a really nice guy and I know he’s not there to ‘teach’ us to swim, I guess I just wish I could keep up with what he was saying and that he would speak up since I can never hear him. lol
    Anyhow, for me any instructor that is positive and tells us we are doing a great job wins me over anyday! I love postive feedback :) If I”m ever in SLC, you better believe I’ll be crashing one of your classes, that was be so super duperly awesome!!!! 😀
    xoxoxox

  10. Jennyb says:

    i must be really lucky, or too absorbed in my workout, but none of my regular instructors do anything that annoys me. if they run late we set up for them so they are ready to rock if they get held up. Sure one of them can’t really sing in tune but thats just part of her.

    Maybe its because i know them all very well & as a gym/studio we socialise and get to know each other a lot too, so they are more like friends.

  11. Hahah. I love these ones. I think it’s great you can have a sense of humor about it all:)
    Some things used to drive me nuts about instructors, but then I realized um I would probably be a mess if I tried to get up in front of a whole group of people and try to teach a class that pleased everyone. It’s just not possible all of the time, someone could have a bad day and not like it simply because they have a bad attitude. I try to just look for the positives in each class and then I can always enjoy it more!

  12. SO true.. I just had to repost this on my personal FB page. As a Zumba instructor myself, I admit, I take things too seriously sometimes..ya know, the “small things”. It’s hard to get past sometimes when your loyal followers think your playlist that day was “boring”, when you think you’ve worked your butt off on the playlist for that week! I try to remind myself that one person’s opinion doesn’t matter, and you won’t have it all, ALL of the time. There are just better weeks than others, for whatever reason. I also think passion is huge, and by far the best quality for an instructor to have. I think people love my class (or even hate it for this exact reason,too) because I am SO overly passionate about what I do, and I probably look like such a huge dork! haha! I sing every single song, and I’m sure that’s annoying, but I CAN’T HELP IT! LOL. Knowing choreography is key, but knowing how to QUEUE your class is even bigger & way more important. You can’t just do the routine as if you were a student, you need to be ahead of the game by 2 seconds so prepare them for a move change. But yes, overall, you cannot please every single person, but as long as you know you’ve given it your all, that’s what is important!

    • Yesssssssss cueing is SO important!! Thank you for noting that :) Esp in Zumba. Whooooweeeee, have I seen some crazy stuff. hah

  13. I think the most important thing is for instructors to be friendly and welcoming. I’m not a teacher but I go to TONS of group fitness classes, and the best ones are the ones with the friendly teachers. Sure, we’re there to get exercise, but if you can become friends with the instructor and other class members, it’s more motivation to come again and again. I love the gym for the exercise AND for the social aspects.

    The teachers I love most are the ones who talk a lot, and even who sing or crack dorky jokes on occasion. The ones who don’t take themselves too seriously and who SMILE and look like they want to be there! Great post. :)

  14. Lauren says:

    This is a great post! I agree with much of what you said. A few additional pet peeves I have are:

    1) Talking about what’s going to come up next in the workout during the entire current set. I’ve found this to be frustrating in spinning classes.

    2) Not having any structure in the class. I like when the instructor has prepared a workout, rather than seemingly randomly having us do different things the whole time. Classes without preparation are either really random and drag on or really boring!!

    3) Asking everyone in the class what they ate for breakfast before getting started (wasting time!) and giving every person a lecture on the fact that they didn’t get “enough” protein

  15. Most fitness instructors are really good and passionate about what they do. The only thing that irks me is when they overstep their education boundaries. I put in a lot of time and money for my Doctorate, and it really bugs me when someone who hasn’t pretends to know…. 😉 And, I totally believe in “school” nights right now.

  16. Texting! There’s a trainer at my gym that texts while his clients do their reps. It makes me so angry!

  17. Now that I’ve been to one of your classes I’m in love with you (as an instructor!) I wish I lived closer! You know how to kick my butt! You are amazing!

  18. I loved this post! My best fitness instructor actually didn’t workout with us! It was a circuit class with 6-8 people in it, and he watched each one of us practice each move one on one, then continually walked around encouraging and correcting form during the circuits. If I was struggling with flipping a tire or push-ups he joined me but he never lost track of any of us! Great instructor.

    • That’s a really great point! In circuit type classes- I can see why they shouldn’t work out with the class. I bet he’s real good! And like in GRIT, I’m not supposed to ‘do’ every single rep, so that I can get out on the floor & coach one-on-one.

  19. THIS IS SOOOOO TRUE! I took a pilates class the other day and the instructor was just NOT GOOD – He was explaining moves we were going to do while we were doing two other things and no one understood what the hell was going on!!! LOL. Needless to say, when I go back, yeah I am going to make sure he is not teaching!

  20. I love it when instructors talk a lot, it’s distracting! Half the fun of the Jazzercise class I go to in KC with my mom is how funny the instructors are and the stories they tell! I also really appreciate it when instructors tell you specifically what you should be doing and feeling: like be sure to use your abs here, etc. The only times I don’t like a lot of talking are when the instructor is just chatting with a regular instead of focusing on the whole class, or when they are talking so much about other things that they aren’t telling us what to do and we all get thrown off. I SO wish I could take all of your classes!

  21. I love this!! And I have to say- when I’m teaching, I try to be aware of ALL of these things. Most of my classes are early morning- but when I teach in the afternoon, my crowd is a complete 180, and I have to cater to them differently. I definitely don’t take myself too seriously and say some silly stuff (and yes, even sing to the music), but there’s definitely a time and place for all of that. I know that I can joke around a lot more with my Tuesday morning Spinners than I can with my Sunday morning group. My Monday and Friday pumpers are MUCH different than my Wednesday ones. You just have to feel ’em out.
    When instructors don’t know the choreography and KEEP messing up, that annoys the crap out of me (especially on the rare occasion that I take pump from someone else). I’m not perfect and I mess up too sometimes, but I make a big effort to LEARN IT. It really annoys me too when teachers don’t coach and subtly point out when someone’s form needs attention. When I notice that, I just give a general reminder to the entire group about what the correct form is. Most of the time it works.
    There’s also one instructor that I LOOOOVE, but constantly makes this high pitched “woooo!” sound that makes my ears bleed…

  22. Great post! I love all of your points, both as a fellow instructor and an occasional participant (although I must admit, I like being in charge more than being a participant LOL!).

    The one thing I’d add from the participant’s perspective, is instructor’s who don’t tell you what the lesson plan is. I hate going to a class and not knowing how many sets or reps we’re going to do, whether there will be cardio intervals etc. But I’m a bit anal, I know.

  23. I feel exactly the same way about instructing! One thing I hate is when the instructor compares their effort to yours- in a blatantly rude way (it’s arrogant). AND when they are bossy. There’s a diff between instructing and being a dictator- like no going on phones or lecturing members. People have lives and I’m a-okay with people using phones in between tracks as long as it doesn’t distract anyone or cause any commotion- people have lives and commitments.

    Yes this is one instructor in particular haha 😛

    I think conversational talk is good- using layers, they should only be doing it at the end rly or when lyrics call for it. But if it gets in the way of the choreo or cueing then it’s an issue.

  24. Totally agree with those! I had one instructor who taught Turbo Kickboxing and she would constantly say “come on people” or “Okay people…”. Everything was “people”. The class was always 100% girls, so “people” just really bugged! Anyways, I bet it would be so hard to be an instructor though because everyone is analyzing you. I wish I could take one of your classes, because I am sure you are fantastic!

  25. I have three teachers who are completely un alike. I have one that actually looks at her class as her other family and that watches over us like a mother hen. She pushes us to our limits but preaches safety as well. Can be a little sarcastic at times, but always make sure that she gets everybody out on time because it’s hard having the first class in the morning. I have another one who leaves it up to us to check our form. I find myself always leaning towards the one who just really cares about her students with me being one of them.

  26. DonnaMarie says:

    TEST

  27. DonnaMarie says:

    Its great to have a chance to vent about this.. I have been doing classes for over twenty-five years and have seen a lot in that time. My number one pet peeve are instructors who make personal remarks about class members during the class. There is no need to do this, ever and there is no excuse for it. For instance, singling out a member and saying she is somehow doing better than everyone else. This is so wrong for these reasons. First of all, it is the instructor’s job to demonstrate the moves and how to do them properly, hers and hers alone. If she cant do this, she has no business being there. Singling out someone as better than the rest is just rude. I personally have found that some, not a lot thankfully, of female instructors use this as a tactic to put down some members who threaten them. For example, if a member comes in who is exceptionally fit and may even have a better body than the instructor, she is threatened and jealous. So she deliberately picks out a member who is obviously ‘less than’ the object of her jealousy, and butters her up repeatedly, while blatantly ignoring the woman who is making her jealous. I know this sounds nuts but if you have ever experienced this you know it happens and chances are if it bugs you, YOU are the object of her jealousy. I have found that this is a ‘headgame’ that some women in general use in everyday life, not just in fitness classes. I am wondering if any other women out there have experienced this and how they dealt with it?
    My second big peeve are instructors who either can’t or won’t do their own class.
    Third, ones who use us as captive audiences and force us to listen to personal details about herself, like talking about her kids. This is incredibly annoying. I don’t force anyone to listen to me talk about my daughter, and I sure as heck don’t want to hear about anyone else’s. Unless they are willing to let me talk equally about my poodle, of course.
    That’s it…thanks for listening and great workouts to all!

  28. DonnaMarie says:

    Okay I have more to say…I just found this site but promise not to hog too much of the space…lol
    I don’t agree that instructors need to be friendly. When I hire or use a professional, I am not looking for a friend. I am looking for a competent professional who is going to provide the service they are trained to provide. That means arriving on time. If you are late for a good reason, explain and apologize briefly, then get to work. Don’t force me to listen to personal conversation; I don’t care about your kids, or how your week went. Do the class without making personal remarks of any kind about any class members. You can be inspiring, energetic and effective without doing this, if you are good. Finish the class and thank us for coming. Do not use the cooldown to blabber about your personal issues or anyone elses. Once the class is over do whatever you like but just be professional please. Thanks again for listening.

  29. I have three instructors with three different personalitys. I have one by the name of Jackie and she just looks at her classes that she teaches as her other family. Always arrived 15 minutes before class, meets and greets everybody and just has a caring personality. Can be a little sarcastic at times but mainly she only does that to me. She overcame cancer just last year for the second time.

  30. Trevor says:

    I cannot stand it when instructors face the class. We are supposed to mirror their movements but it gets so confusing. I want them to turn around and face the mirror so that I am figure out what I a supposed to do and not be confused all the time!

    • I was looking at myself in the mirror doing the lunge track and I was told that my knees were doing crazy things. Not to mention my teacher and I worked on my issues of balance, core stability and range of motion. So, with that being said, that’s why my teacher Jackie really does not encourage us to use the mirrors. Our safety is always her main concern.

      • Mirrored group exercise studios allow participants to see the instructor and the instructor’s reflection. If the instructor faces the mirror, students can see the instructor’s face (in his/her reflection) and they can see the instructor from behind to mirror his/her movements. For most people, learning movements, especially complex ones like in advanced step, kick boxing, dance is easiest using the technique of mirroring. All people use this learning technique for a wide variety of things. So, instructors should face the mirror for major portions of their classes, facing the class periodically throughout when moves aren’t as complex (and request mirrors if there aren’t any).

  31. Emily says:

    I was teaching at a ladies gym for a while. One of the ladies in my class used to insist on driving me or picking me up as sometimes I would take the train downtown. It came to a place where she wanted to have contact outside of the gym like text messaging and facebook. I’m a professional and know better where boundaries are. Outside contact never occured and my bosses didn’t do much to help the situation. After all it is fitness and this experience wasn’t. Any thoughts or feedback is appreciated. Thank you!

    • Well,
      I wish I could help with that. I have a teacher by the name of Jackie who went into cardiac arrest after finding out she had cancer again and her doctor told her no driving and she had to depend on her husband and students to take her places. It took her four months to get back to teaching but she’s been back for awhile now. I wish I could help. I’m sorry

  32. I just came across your post :) Not sure if you are still checking the comments here, but I thought I would share my pet peeve. I love my zumba instructor, she’s great, I love the class. But there is one thing she does time and time again that is super annoying. She likes to drag some folks in front of the class and point at them as an example for the rest of the class. And there is this young girl that the instructor, who by the way is a woman, puts in front of the class all. the. time. The girl is OK. Not especially fit or not really great at zumba or anything. I think the instructor just likes that girl for some reason. But I personally find it very annoying. I wonder if it’s just me :)

    • Has she ever gotten you up there? How would that go??
      I do call outs. Like, “oooo, Martha!!! Love that salsa!” Or I will dance with a participant for a 4 or 8 count to play it up. You have to be really careful to make sure you know the person, because the worst thing is trying to approach somebody who gives you the “don’t come near me face”! I kinda make eye contact and give thumbs up, especially when I can tell someone is working really hard or has had a breakthrough…samba is a killer and when somebody finally ‘gets’ it I make a point of acknowledging it, sometimes in the moment and sometimes after class. But knowing your class is the only way this works.
      I had one class where I was giving some much needed instruction on particularly difficult sequence and just had the worst time trying to get a couple of women from disengaging from their full blown full volume conversation. I ended up addressing them, as wells a group of four regulars on the opposite side of the room, explaining that the way the stage and studio is built, the conversation flows right up onto the stage, and I asked them if they needed to continue, to please chat off the dance floor. Unfortunately I did lose those ladies. I feel terrible about it, but I had a whole other class that was really trying to learn a move, so I think I did the best I could.

      • She has! And it went very well, I think :) I think she only did it once though. Other times she just looked through me like I didn’t exist. Mind you, I really love dancing, am good at it, and I’m friendly, etc. I think it’s not a problem if instructors call out different people at different times, but when it’s one person over and over again, it’s annoying. I have since stopped going to that instructor’s class, even though I really liked her choreography. I’m going to 3 other instructors now and love them all. I’m having so much more fun with Zumba now :)

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