Do’s & Don’ts of Running a Fitness Studio

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Running a fitness studio is hard work. Unless you’re a franchise owner, there are constantly decisions you have to make that will ensure your business’s success… or demise. After running my own fitness bootcamp, taking class at many studios around the country, and speaking with lots of colleagues, I’ve noticed several consistent owner/operator behaviors that will affect longevity. Here are 10 Do’s and Don’ts for those embarking on (or in the trenches of) their own fitness studio.  [Read more…]

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You Know You’re A Fitness Instructor When…

This month marks my 10 year anniversary in the fitness industry! Whether you teach yoga, pilates, cycling, strength, cardio, bootcamps, aerial, dance, hiit, or whatever else, your job as a professional instructor is a tad different than others…

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You Know You’re A Fitness Instructor When:

1. Between teaching classes and your own workouts, showering should happen quite frequently for you, but doesn’t always…

2. When you separate your laundry piles into “dark fitness clothes,” “bright fitness clothes,” and “towels.” You hardly ever use your dryer. [Read more…]

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Why Your Fitness Instructor Isn’t Doing The Workout…

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{TRX Rip Trainer photo via ACE}

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 wondered why? It’s not because they’re lazy. It’s not because they don’t want to sweat… wait for it…  [Read more…]

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Fitness Class Etiquette

Inspired by my sometimes rather unfortunate experiences over the past decade as a Professional Fitness Instructor, I’ve compiled my list of top 10 Fitness Class Etiquette rules for participants, so you don’t wind up ruining the class experience for the other participants… and also so your instructor doesn’t despise you.

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1. Don’t come in more than 5 mintues late.
  • It’s rude and it’s distracting (for the instructor and the participants) to watch you stumble around the room and get your equipment while everybody else is working out.
  • It’s unsafe. We’re not just being mean or intolerant. You can pull/strain muscles, and could possibly pass out if you jump into a workout without properly warming up. If you’re already warm and can get the instructor’s attention, ask if it’s ok to jump in if you’re late! We’ll likely be ok with it if you respect the rules and are warm first!
2. Silence the cell phones and NEVER answer it during class! Especially during quiet classes like Yoga, Pilates, and Meditation. (This goes for answering emails too!)
  • Again, it’s rude and there’s nothing worse than being in the zone and having it interrupted by an obnoxious ringtone.
  • If you are on call for work or waiting for an important call, put your phone on vibrate, keep it close, and let your instructor know before class gets underway. If class has already begun, wave them down and let them know!
  • If you HAVE to take a phone call during class, just leave the room before you start talking.
3. Don’t come to a high intensity class on an empty stomach.
  • We really don’t want to have to revive you if you pass out. We will, but we don’t want to.
4. Don’t come to a high intensity class after you’re JUST eaten a big meal/drank a huge cappucino.
  • Please eat at least an hour before these types of classes to give your body time to digest the food. Your blood needs to be going to your muscles during your workout, not your digestive organs. Puking in class is gross and also counterproductive to your own workout. Plus, you’ll be “that guy/girl” from now on…
5. If you’re injured, let the instructor know! We will give you other options.
  • We can’t read minds. Come tell us about your injury or condition before class starts. You can also flag us down toward the beginning of class if we’ve already started.
  • We can and will give you alternative options. Certain exercises are contraindicated for certain joint issues: i.e. jumping lunges are BAD for people with knee issues. We can give you something completely different so you’re not risking further injury or just standing around.
6. Don’t complain that class is too easy until you’ve taken the harder options.
  • If I give the class a harder option and nobody takes it, I’m going to make the assumption that you’re not ready for a harder level. I had a girl come to me and say my class was too easy once. She was in her mid 20s and really fit. She was also using 3 lb weights and ignoring all the advanced options I was giving. I gave her the benefit of the doubt (maybe she had a lot on her mind that day), but I was still annoyed.
  • Pay attention: Good instructors always give easier and harder options for exercises. You might have just been in the zone and missed the cue to add a jump, or switch weights to create more of a challenge.
  • If you don’t know how to make things harder, or you missed that cue, please ASK for more. Instructors want you to be challenged, but you have to communicate.
  • That being said, the same goes for a class that’s too hard. Pick lighter weights or a more beginner level class that’s more suited to your needs until you’ve gotten to a higher level.
7. Group class is not the coffee shop, save the conversation for after.
  • Most instructors don’t mind a little chatter, BUT the class doesn’t want to hear your hour-long discussion with your BFF. And some of you are incapable of whispering…
  • If you’re gonna chat a little, stay in the back, keep it down, and at least pay attention and keep up with the class. I’ll call you out if we’ve moved on and you’re still on the previous exercise…
8. Don’t crowd in!
  • Did you see my post yesterday? If a class is already packed, go hop on the treadmill and wait for the next one. EVERYBODY hates it when people (especially late ones) try to squeeze in. You leave no room for others to workout or yourself. Come earlier to get a spot next time.
  • Hit up the gym floor staff for a couple of exercise ideas if you need help. Chances are, if they aren’t with a client, they’re bored anyway, and every trainer loves to give out challenges.
9. If there’s a sub teacher, don’t leave immediately. Give them a chance, you may love them!
  • You may love your regular instructor, but you’re not being loyal by refusing to take anybody else’s class, you’re being a punk; somebody who is afraid of change and can’t be bothered by another instructor. Try something new, and you never know… you may end up finding some new, fun exercises, or another great instructor!
10. If you really don’t like the class, don’t come.
  • I had a guy come to my class for two YEARS and he complained about something almost every time he came in – the music, the exercises, the time of day, etc.
  • Nobody is forcing you to come to my class. My ego isn’t so big that I’ll be in tears if I don’t see you again. Not everybody loves me (most people do, but not everybody) so quit complaining and go do something else!
Having said all these things, please don’t think instructors hate you. We don’t. We LOVE that people want to come take our class instead of working out alone. We love all the regulars that keep coming back each week and offer so much fun and energy. We live for our participants and you make our jobs completely worthwhile! Most people rarely do the things above but there’s always somebody…
Any questions? Ask away! fitwithflash@gmail.com
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