Instructors throughout NYC have been scanning their class takers with a more curious eye for the past few months… wondering if that skinny, reserved but formidable looking blonde in the front row could be the infamous Lactic Addict from RateYourBurn.com, an increasingly popular blog site where anonymous fitness devotees rate classes, teachers, facilities, and give other insightful tips and commentary. While there has been debate among instructors about the potential negative impact such a site can have (the opinion of one person influencing how hundreds of readers will perceive an instructor, especially if said instructor just happened to have a bad day), there has been no doubt that RYB has left a mark on the fitness community and serves as a reminder for instructors to always bring their A-game. Browsing through their reviews, I would say they have been fair and spot on as far as expectations from a members perspective (solid cuing, good energy, motivating, looking the part), with a touch of humor, and making it clear when their thoughts are based on personal preferences. Needless to say, I was caught off guard and biting my nails when my review popped up, but thankfully I was caught on a good day LOL
That said, group fitness is a two-way street. The members also contribute to the total class experience, and it’s the interchange between you and I that creates a dynamic environment. Instructors share our experiences with members to each other, both good and bad… And while opening up a website reviewing individual members may be a stretch, I figured it would be good to blog about our expectations as well.
1) Please arrive on time. Coming in late and setting up, especially once we have begun the warm up and are moving around… In my ViPR class, it may result in a ViPR uppercut to your chin.
2) When you first come into the studio, smile or say hi to us. It makes us feel like real people and not an automatic exercise dispenser.
3) It’s common practice for instructors to inquire about injuries during the intro, but introduce yourself and volunteer any issues you have. If an instructor comes up to you in the middle of class to correct your form and you finally tell them you strained your adductors during some really rigorous sex (ok, likely through a sports activity, but if it WAS sex, we appreciate honesty), it can be a distraction from the flow of the class.
4) Sunglasses. Make me understand, please. I have yet to be in a studio that bright, or seen teeth that yellow, to require sunglasses in the main studio. Unless you’re a celebrity, and even then, a celeb would probably want private training (Kerry Washington, call me)
5) Good instructors usually give exercises, along with regressions to make it easier or progressions to make them harder. Please do the exercises that the instructor gives you. It’s one thing when Grandma with her hearing aid and glaucoma is in sculpt class doing bicep curls during push-ups. We can get over that. But if we’re doing roundhouse kicks in kickboxing, and you’re doing Jean Claude Van Damme spinning split jump kicks, it throws everyone off or it forces people that are not as capable to attempt what you’re doing. Then that person trips, falls on someone, or kicks them, a fight happens, and we instructors have our hilarious Facebook posting for the day.
6) Certain classes are designed to use low weights for higher repetitions. And some classes are not. Most sculpt and cardiosculpt classes require heavier dumbbells to push you to fatigue. Ladies, doing bicep curls with 5lb weights will do absolutely nothing for you. Your purse probably weigh more than that. By now, many blogs and tv shows have told you that using heavy weight will not make you look like Arnold, unless you have an abundance of testosterone or A-Rod’s juicer. But this hasn’t sunk in for many of you. It’s ok to go heavy, to get tired quickly, put it down, and then eventually try one more. You will get stronger and still be lean, and have Michelle Obama arms (or if you are a Republican, whoever you find fit and fab)
7) No one loves Lululemon more than I do. But please make your fitness goals a little more meaningful than to simply “be skinny enough to wear their clothing” LOL…
8) If an instructor asks the class how everyone is feeling, please answer, even if you’re winded. There is nothing more disheartening to us than hearing crickets during a class. Especially if it’s apparent that we are really putting our heart and soul into our delivery.
9) You know your level of fitness and what you are capable of. But don’t approach the class thinking of who you are right now. Look in the mirror and see the person that you want to be weeks from now. Leaner. Stronger. See that person doing one more rep, holding on for one more second, squatting a little lower, jumping a little higher. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else in the class, as long as you are giving your 110% that’s all that matters. Seeing that is what drives us and motivates us to continue to help you reach your goals.
Most instructors I know are really good people, with their own compelling personal stories that led them to help others find their best selves. Please recognize that to you, it may be an hour out of your day, but this is our livelihood, and we have dedicated our lives to making your life more fulfilling. And you can’t really assign a number of stars on that.