13 More Things Your Group Fitness Instructor Won’t Tell You

More secrets from your group fitness instructor, including how they do (or don't) prep for class, what irritates them the most and why you need to be on time.

By Amy Zerello

Male Fitness Instructor© iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Anything goes. Sometimes, I review the order of my exercises. Sometimes, I just fly by the seat of my pants… no plan, just fun! Other times, I completely check out mentally during class.

Be careful what you complain about. When I’m cranky and short-tempered I’m more likely to make you do something hard and brutal because you whined about something else.

Music helps me bring some of my personality to the table. It also helps me connect with students; I take requests and will download songs for them. Who wouldn’t want an instructor to play their personal power song?!

I’m constantly learning. I prepare classes by reading, watching videos, attending workshops, and taking other instructor’s classes. I can’t tell you how many times my family’s walked into my office only to find me on the floor contorted into some unusual position for the latest ab or outer-thigh exercise that I have just discovered online. They used to ask what I was doing, but now they leave before I force them to give it a try.

When I don’t feel like teaching, I grab a straw and suck it up. People pay us good money to train them, so even on our “off days” we have to put on that smile and bring the energy.

Everyone started somewhere. Don’t worry if other people are using heavier weights, higher steps, or going farther while stretching. The fact that you are there participating at all is the most important thing. You have everyone’s respect as long as you show up and give your best effort, and no one can ask for more than that!

It irritates me the most when you refuse to try. Fitness is one of the only things in life where you can achieve success simply by trying harder than you did yesterday.

Work within your own limits and abilities. If I suggest a modification for an exercise, it would be helpful if you’d follow the suggested guideline. It’s for your own good!

Some exercises make people fart. Get over it. Reverse crunches do especially, most particularly while squeezing and lifting a fit ball. I think it means that they are working hard, and giving a huge effort. Some people I think are so mortified when it happens that they leave class that day and never come back. I wish they wouldn’t care as much. I don’t!

I’m not your doctor. I’m also not your therapist.

Be on time. Showing up late to class is rude and disrupts everyone. Plus, you miss the most important part of class — the warm-up! The best is when you walk in, 5 minutes after class starts, to set up your bike or your mat and you’re on the phone!

This isn’t my only job, and I wish you wouldn’t assume we’re all meat heads who enjoy working out 24/7.

We bear witness to embarrassment. One time, a yoga ball popped while a heavier gentleman was on it. (It was a “yoga” ball and not a standard, durable, Swiss Ball.) I was mortified.

I’m pretty open with my classes. I find a healthy amount of openness with my students helps them see me as a person who just loves exercise, not some sort of Goddess on a pedestal.

Plus: 13 Things Your Group Fitness Instructor Won’t Tell You

Sources: AJ Pantoni (oxfordathleticclub.com), Sharyn Zerello Mastropaolo (teambeachbody.com), Sara Hauber (sarahauber.com)
Keri Cawthorne (ironmountainmovement.com), Josh Guerrieri A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer (FitWit.com), Virginia Nicholas M.A., R.N. (Moving Breath Pilates), Jacky Burke (BodyDefinitions.com), Laura Dow, Charla McMillian, J.D., CSCS (FitBoot.com), Andrew Kalley (exhalewellness.com)

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