I really enjoy group fitness classes, especially spinning and bootcamp classes. But, they can definitely be hit-or-miss. To me, the instructor is what either makes or breaks a class. While I don’t tend to focus on the negatives around here, I’ve had my fair share of group fitness instructor fails over the years and thought it would be fun to share and commiserate together.
My Top 5 Group Fitness Instructor Pet Peeves
Pet Peeve #1: When the fitness instructor doesn’t change up the routine from week-to-week. Last year I decided to switch things up and started attending this bootcamp class at my old gym. I really loved it at first. The instructor played great music and had great energy. But, as the weeks went by, I sadly learned that he never changed up the routine. Week after week it was the same thing over and over and overrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…… (Sorry, I nodded off there for a sec just thinking about it.) It got old and boring real fast so I stopped going. It was a real bummer because I liked the instructor’s personality and I really liked the bootcamp-style class.
Pet Peeve #2: When the instructor doesn’t change up the music from week-to-week. When I was living in LA, I attended this spin class regularly for about a year-and-a-half. Well, I kid you not, the instructor did not change up the music for that class the ENTIRE TIME! Never! To make matters even worse, every now and then a newbie to the class would complement the instructor on her music selection. In my mind I would be screaming, “Noooooooooo!!!!!!”. To this day, against my will I have the “Don’t Ride the White Horse” lyrics etched forever in my mind. (If you’ve never heard this song, it’s got to be one of the most annoying songs ever.) Unfortunately, the day and time of that class was what worked best for me so I kept going back, otherwise I would have been long gone. I seriously contemplated using my ipod and headphones in the class but I never did because I feel like that’s rude.
Pet Peeve #3: When the instructor is mean. I attended this spin class one time (different from the aforementioned one) and the instructor was literally yelling at people, calling them out, telling them they weren’t going fast enough or doing it right. But, she wasn’t doing it in a nice, encouraging and motivating sort of way. She was being very demeaning and nasty about it. A couple of people actually left the class and she made rude comments to them and told everyone else in the class that once you come in you can’t leave. She also got really mean if she thought you weren’t keeping up or following along and, get this, she scolded you if you paused to grab a drink of water! I was so stressed out during this class and really, really wanted to get up and walk out. I breathed a big sigh of relief when it was over and needed some major decompression afterwards. It was one of the most uncomfortable experiences I’ve ever had in a group exercise class ever. Isn’t exercise supposed to relieve stress, not cause it? Well, not in her class. Needless to say, I made a point to never return to one of her classes again.
Pet Peeve #4: When the instructor doesn’t do the workout. Now I completely get that group fitness instructors need to periodically pause from doing the workout to go around and check form. I’m totally cool with that. What I’m not cool with is when an instructor doesn’t do the workout, doesn’t go around checking people’s form, and instead spends the entire time checking herself out in the mirror. Yep, I’ve been to a couple of classes where that’s happened. Besides the fact that this is really awkward, it’s just not cool. To me, part of what makes group exercise classes really challenging is getting to watch the instructor’s pace and power and trying to match it. In a spin class, for instance, when I am able to see the speed of the instructor as she pedals, it gives me a benchmark of what to strive for and helps me push myself harder.
Pet Peeve #5: When an instructor doesn’t come prepared with a plan for the class and just wings it. To me, this shows a lack of care and dedication and is disrespectful to the people participating in the class. It means a lot to me when I can tell that the instructor put a little time and thought beforehand into the workout routine and, from my experience, these tend to be the best workouts. (This, of course, doesn’t apply to last-minute subs.)
Phew! That was a lot to get off my chest. Now that I’ve said my peace, let me flip things around and tell you what things I like in a group fitness instructor (besides, of course, the opposite of everything I just mentioned). To sum it up, I like instructors that pick good music, have good energy, and give me an awesome and tough workout. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.