Being a group fitness instructor is just about the best job in the world. You meet amazing people, help folks get healthy and relieve stress, learn the latest research in health and wellness news — all the while getting in an awesome workout. Score!
However, there are those moments when your students do things that are so off-putting, downright dangerous and/or just plain distracting that it takes all of your inner strength to not yell out “Stop doing that!” (The time a student actually took a call during class comes to mind for me.)
Today, we talk about the six bad habits that instructors wish their students would drop right away …
1. The Phone Addicts
Even with the ringer turned off, cell phones that beep, buzz and light up during a class are just plain annoying. Look, we totally love our smart phones, too, and want them within reach at all times JUST IN CASE. But is it necessary to check them every five minutes during class? If so, please take it outside. Otherwise, put the phone away, keep it out of sight and enjoy your “me time” uninterrupted. Namaste!
2. The Talkers
Of course, we all look forward to hanging with our workout bestie and that time to socialize is super important. (Like, we REALLY believe in it!) However, it is the instructor’s to job to teach the whole room, and it is really difficult to do that when having to compete with other voices. Instead, catch up over a smoothie break after class. That way, teachers like me will not have to use their patented “stink eye” to quiet you. (Mine is lethal!)
3. The Late Arrivals/Early Takeoff Crew
The biggest class offenders I hear from irritated students are the habitual late-comers/early dropouts. Nothing will “harsh your mellow” quicker than the perpetual “shows up at least five minutes late for yoga” person or the “take off as soon as they sense the cool down is beginning” peeps. Teachers create a full program for each class so please honor that effort by arriving early and staying until the end. You paid for the time, so make the most of it!
4. The Space Cadets
It is totally normal to be confused and not “get it” when participating in a group class (like every single time I have attempted Zumba!), especially when you’re a newbie. But it is so irksome when the culprit is a faulty attention span that you have to keep bringing back into the class time and time again. So keep your head in the game to get the most out of every workout session.
5. The “Poor Form No Matter How Many Reminders” Peeps
A good instructor knows how to pick out and point out faulty movement patterns, but there are some students that — no matter how often you try to correct them — insist on using improper form, such as a curved spine, slouched shoulders, etc. Really pay attention to the cues and check yourself in the mirror to make sure you are performing each move correctly. Ask out loud for help if you are unsure. Bad form leads to muscle imbalances and then pain — and no one wants to deal with that!
6. The Space Invaders
My experience has been that most people are averse to conflict, but if there is one thing they will complain about, it would be people who invade their personal space. I have heard about everything from the “flips her hair in my face” girl to the “floor hog” who tries to gain the most space for themselves in a small room. Try to remember that gyms and studios are shared spaces that belong to all of the members. Be mindful of other people’s boundaries and — to paraphrase diva Mary J. Blige — have no more drama in your class time!
What are your personal gym pet peeves? —Margo