If you’re taking a pre-choreographed class or some sort of all cardio-based class, like cycling, step, Zumba, Turbokick, cardio dance, etc. your fitness instructor is most likely right there, doing the whole workout with you. But have you ever taken a fitness class where the instructor wasn’t doing the workout with you? Ever wandered why? It’s not because they’re lazy. It’s not because they don’t want to sweat…
It’s because it’s NOT THEIR WORKOUT. Allow me to explain:
1. Class is for YOU, not us.
This workout is for you, the participant. It’s not for the instructor. Instructors do their workouts on their own time. This is YOUR time. YOUR workout. The instructor has programmed it with a certain goal (i.e. build YOUR strength, sculpt YOUR abs, burn YOUR calories, improve YOUR performance, etc). They’re showing you what to do, how to do it, then keeping track of everything from music, to time, to technique, to class energy, etc. Sure we will demonstrate the exercises and do a few reps, but don’t expect us to turn on beast mode and get after it while everybody else watches. It’s not about us.
2. We can’t correct you if we can’t SEE you.
If I’m doing pushups, I’m looking at the floor. Which means if you’re doing pushups incorrectly, I can’t see it and therefore can’t correct you. Which means you may get hurt. And that’s not ok. The same goes with lots of other exercises. When an instructor is running around, jumping around, or going different directions, it’s not possible to keep an eye on the participants. We are there to lead the class, but also to provide modifications for all ability levels, correct bad form to prevent injury, and make sure every single body in that class is taken care of. If I’m focused on my own workout, I can’t be focused on yours.
3. We like to make the rounds.
I’ve taught small classes at corporate facilities for 2 or 3 people. I’ve also taught classes at gyms that have had 70+ people attend on a regular basis. If I’m standing in one place at the front of the room, there’s no way I can keep an eye and communicate with everybody in the class. Especially those who like to hang out in the back row, in the corner of the room (where I usually go when I’m taking class). In my case, I will usually set up the exercise, explain it, demonstrate it, then do the first few reps with the class to get them started. Then I like to make the rounds.
While I’m cruising through the room I’m doing a few things: correcting incorrect technique so nobody gets hurt, giving harder/easier options for people that need different challenges, and the most important part – getting small bouts of 0ne-on-one time with each participant that’s taken time out of their day to come take my class. Do you like when you get attention from an instructor? Do you like when you get adjusted? Do you like when somebody knows your name? I do. But not everybody wants attention. I know which participants don’t like to be bothered. I’ll correct them if needed, but otherwise, let them do their thing. I find who needs what by getting to know them when I make my rounds.
4. Instructors don’t need to workout several hours per day.
There have been times when I’ve taught 32 classes per week. In one day I’d teach Strength and Conditioning, Pilates, “Interval Athlete,” Cardio Hip Hop, and Bootcamp. If I did every single workout with my class, every single day of the week, I would have wound up injured, sick, and/or completely burnt out. Most full-time fitness instructors teach multiple classes per day at multiple facilities. Sure, doing a couple per day is no big deal for fitness professionals, but working out 5+ hours per day is simply not good for your body.
5. In addition to being instructors, we are also coaches.
Did you ever play a sport? Did your coach ever do your workout and practice with you? Probably not. They have a whole team to look out for. They are there to make sure technique is correct. They are there to push each member of the team to their best ability. They make the rounds to each player. They are there to watch. To notice when to push if player is feeling good and can do more, or if something is “off” and needs to be backed down. If your coach wasn’t paying attention to you, you probably wouldn’t have benefitted and excelled. It’s the same in your fitness class. We are there to lead, look after, and push you… because we want you to do well and improve.