Go For The Burn!


Fonda Ain’t Got A Motor In The Back Of Her Honda!

Today is a super exciting day for me, but I need your input. I get to go back to teaching my classes at the YMCA today after my medically induced absence. This is the last restriction that needed lifted before life basically goes back to normal, and I’m really happy to remove the last roadblock. Starting next week, I have even picked up another class that will have me teaching back to back on Tuesday nights-heads up, Jeff, I’m going to be a hangry monster those nights! 

My question is this: what makes a good group fitness instructor? Jane Fonda is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about fitness instructors, but not in the good way. I’m never going to be that “Go for the burn!” teacher. The best instructors I’ve taken classes from are funny and self deprecating, in crazy good shape, or have good musical taste. But I could be a weirdo-I’m the girl who ate pepper salad every day for lunch for two years, after all. What makes you keep taking someone’s class? Is it the teacher, or is it the workout? Do you remember anything they said after you left the class? And conversely, tell me what makes you avoid a particular instructor? I had an instructor who seemed to use our cardio class as his own private dating hotline-he kept giving out his digits during class and complimenting the shapely ladies on their form. Gross! 


11 thoughts on “Go For The Burn!

  1. A good instructor can really make all the difference…I like friendly and funny. I have one instructor who takes me for body pump and pilates and she is friendly, speaks to every one in the class, speaks to every new person, finds out their name and remembers it!
    Conversely I have been the new person at a (not particularly big) class and the instructor didn’t even acknowledge that there was a new person in the class and only spoke to the “regular clique”

    • That’s the worst! It’s a fine line because you don’t want to necessarily “call someone out” for being new, but at the same time you want to recognize that you as the instructor are aware that they are new and explain things a bit better. I try to introduce myself privately before/after class so it’s not a “HEY EVERYONE LOOK AT THE NEWBIE!” thing. Awk-ward!

      • That is very true!

        That is what sarah the pilates / pump teacher does she speaks to everyone new as they arrive before the class starts.

        the other class teacher didn’t even acknowledge I was new or there when I went up to give her my ticket for the class…I never went back!

    • There’s a fine line you walk between screaming “HARDER! FASTER!” and encouraging. I instinctively revert to advising everyone how much time is left on an exercise but I need new innate phrases to yell out. 🙂

  2. Personally, I love the workout. The instructor has to take genuine interest in the proper form of each student, as well as switch up the routine to challenge the class and the advanced students.

    I avoid any teacher who walks around the room staring at themselves at EVERY TURN IN THE MIRROR! “We get it lady, you think you’re hot shit. Help that persons form before they throw out their back!” That would have been hot yoga. Guess it was hard to her to keep her eyes off her own half naked body….. HAHA!


    • Oh lord! Thankfully, narcissism isn’t my thing, so I’m always checking form and effort. This time of year it’s tough to find ways to make sure you challenge your faithfuls but don’t ignore the fact that some newbies may need some modifications. I feel silly yelling out cheesy encouragements but sometimes you really do need a reminder!

  3. I haven’t taken a group fitness class in forever. But I like someone who is amusing yet serious about the class, talented enough to call out instruction and correction without making a person feel like a fool. Someone who comes into the class with a plan. There is nothing worse than a “what to d0 you want to do?” “What do you want to hear?” coming from the instructor.

    • I totally agree-I don’t wing it well. I always, always come to class with a printed plan-that’s not to say there’s not some adjustment on the fly but I have a general list at least. Thanks for the feedback, every bit helps me be a better instructor!

  4. Great to see your return to form! I hope you enjoy your classes!

    Hmm a good instructor: obviously has to be enthusiastic about whatever form of exercise they are taking. Aware of who is in their class and chat to them first, maybe to find out about fitness levels or health problems but mainly to welcome the person to their class. Should always be positive (even when they have tripped over their step continuously in the class and are now throwing a temper tantrum… Yes, red face! ‘Twas I…)

    On one of my runs recently when I was trying to motivate myself not to stop while I was running up a hill I kept remembering what our spin instructor kept saying to us about looking strong, having strong legs, having good form etc. It helped outside his class.

    The slightest hint of negativity, even if it comes as part of a compliment, can be enough to put me off. One spin instructor remarked how nice it was to see me coming back so often to her class because the first time she saw me she didn’t know whether I would be able to manage it or not!!! I didn’t go back to her class after that!

    • OH that would have been terrible! I apologize for fitness instructors everywhere that someone would say something so condescending! That’s so awesome that you took your spin instructors advice and applied it to running! Thanks for the kind words, we had a great class last night!

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