13 Things Your Aerobics Instructor Won’t Tell You

Fitness instructors from across the country vent about what pushes their buttons, and reveal what you should know before arriving to the fitness studio.

By Amy Zerello
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    1. Follow my lead.

    I get aggravated when students do a different workout than the one I’m teaching -- and they're in the front row! You come to class but choose to do your own thing... really, what's the point?!

    2. It takes a lot to be entertaining, funny, and likeable

    all while trying to motivate people to do things that will cause them pain. I think the 80’s thong leotards and side-ponytails gave aerobics instructors a bad rap. We’re also not all super bubbly and rail-thin.

    3. Leave your cell at home.

    Can you not exercise for an hour without checking your text messages?

    4. Yes, I’ve embarrassed myself.

    I was chewing gum while teaching and it flew out and stuck onto the mirror in front of me during class. Oh, and it was bright green!

    5. Coffee's my friend.

    When I don’t feel like teaching I have a GIANT cup of coffee. I usually don't feel like teaching when I’m tired or run down, so caffeine usually does the trick. And if that fails, keep smiling. As the saying goes, fake it ‘til you make it!

    6. Preparing is a lot of work!

    Pre-choreographed classes, like BodyPump and Turbo Kickboxing, take hours of prep. We’re sent materials every 6 weeks and we have to review and learn all the music and choreography before we teach it to you.

    7. Stop weighing yourself constantly.

    Newbies expect miracles without realizing that while the added muscle may not make the scale drop, it will bring the pants' size down. But you can’t change your physique simply by working out; 80 percent of any change and fat loss is the result of a clean diet.

    8. I wish you’d be more vocal

    when you’ve had a great workout, but save the moaning, grunts, and other weird noises for home.

    9. Music matters.

    When I want you to work hard, I use really upbeat songs with pounding bass. If we’re doing something that requires a slower tempo, I turn it down. If the music sucks it doesn't matter how high energy or good the instructor is. It’s also about what I like. If it’s not something I’d work out to, it never makes it to the class playlist.

    10. Dress appropriately.

    Ladies, consider wearing a cami or additional liner under your low cut Lululemon or Lucy yoga tops. I get an eyeful I really don't wish to see when you're in downward dog. And guys, don’t forget your liner shorts! I don’t want to see anything poking through your gym shorts in class!

    11. We don’t all have perfect relationships with health and fitness.

    People assume we spend our days eating salad without dressing and train ALL the time. Sometimes I’m tired, cranky, hungry, or want a pizza but I have to put on the show. Sometimes I want to veg out and eat junk food, and sometimes I actually do!

    12. When you're sick, stay home.

    You may want to sweat out your cold or flu, but I don't want your germs, especially when you want a really good workout and position yourself in the front row and cough and sneeze your way through the class.

    13. It kills me when you come into the fitness studio without water!

    Proper hydration is just so important that I mandate a water break just after the turbo section of class. It’s my biggest pet peeve because I am going to make you sweat! See also: 13 More Things Your Group Fitness Instructor Won't Tell You Sources: AJ Pantoni (oxfordathleticclub.com), Sara Hauber (sarahauber.com), Sharyn Zerello Mastropaolo (teambeachbody.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 (kalleyfitness.com), Cate Wade, Lauren Lorenzo MS, ACE-CPT (Fork in the Road Consulting, LLC), Cate Wade (fulcrumfitness.com), Mike Tubbs, personal trainer, nutritionist and martial arts instructor (exhalewellness.com)

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    Your Comments

    • JFaye

      I teach and completely disagree!

      How I feel:

      1. If you come to my class but prefer to do a little freestyle – I don’t care – I care about your safety – as long as you’re safe – cool.

      2. I love 80s workout gear and want to teach in a leotard – seriously.

      3. I don’t care if you check your phone – I understand we live in a busy society – and I for one get hundreds of work emails a day so completely get it.

      4. I don’t chew gum and teach – unprofessional!

      5. I love coffee, but have recently given it up in lieu of tea.

      6. Prepping is a lot of work, but it’s fun, get another job if you don’t like it.

      7. Agree – but I have this problem too.

      8. Make whatever noises you like – refer to number 1.

      9. I can’t see this one on my computer.

      10. It’s a gym – wear whatever you want – and hey, if you got it, show it off.

      11. Who said this? But actually recently I’ve been on a strict eating plan and love it.

      12. Okay – as long as you’re not contagious I’m cool with you coming – just spray off your mat please – and I know when I’m not feeling so hot, a good sweat always makes me better.

      13. I don’t care what you do – refer to number 1.

    • Angellida

      1. Follow my Lead…the reason we do a different workout is because your workout is not good enough in certain sections and needs something more OR it needs to be modified because of injury/fear of injury. You are here for us, not the other way around.
      2. Of course it takes a lot to be funny, likeable, etc. You are rewarded with good attendance, smiles, and you get to keep your class.
      3. We text when we are bored with your class. I’ve found that people tend to text and do other things when the class is not engaging enough. And why would someone leave their cell at home? Its a MOBILE phone.
      4,5. Unimportant/Do what you gotta do.
      6. Part of being a good instructor is to prepare the materials. Why should group ex be any different? There are no free breaks.
      7. Please stop criticizing participants. Newbies and oldtimers alike have difficulties with the scale. Just teach the class, have fun, and don’t worry about how much we weigh.
      8. Agreed

      9. Agreed. Music’s gotta be top notch, heavy bass.
      10. You are the one who should be more careful about how you dress. All eyes are on you. All too often I see instructors showing up in t-shirts, faded pants, and raggedy eighties sneakers. Remember we are looking to you for inspiration, so dress the part!
      11. Most people are concerned with what they themselves are eating, not you. Eat whatever you want, but don’t get too fat. There’s little use in learning fitness from someone who is not fit themselves .
      12. Agreed…its kinda gross working out next to someone who is hacking.

    • Chelsea

      I’m an instructor I agree with every thing said !!! Awesome job

    • Leora

      Shall we stretch before or after walking and runnng?

    • Mosekits

      Very nice….!

    • Mosekits

      ….have we become such slaves to tech gadgets?its like answering your phone on the toilet….we should get a grip!!

    • april

       Also please put on clean clothes before you go to the gym. There is nothing worse that being stuck next to someone who has on the same smelly gym clothes from the last time.

    • april

       Also please put on clean clothes before you go to the gym. There is nothing worse that being stuck next to someone who has on the same smelly gym clothes from the last time.

    • Yoliyarcia

      Good reminder for us having enrolled in gym classes.
      Just that i maybe in front and may not be 100% following not because i do it intentionally.
      Just in front because the space remaining is in front and i am about to be late for class by a few minutes.
       

    • Llcfitz

      I like and drink water much better than I used to so when I can get my own way again and start going back to the gym, that will help a lot…water is better for your health and weight-loss