How to Be An Amazing Fitness Instructor

Every year, my fitness partner in crime (hey girl hey! Hi Emily!) and I go on a fitcation.

We find a cheap flight, book as many classes as we can, and fill our suitcases with snacks and workout leggings.

It’s an insane whirlwind of trip where we try and not kill each other out of hanger (pro tip: find yourself a friend that excels in hanger management) and try and get inspiration from other instructors.

This year we found a cheap flight to Denver and spent 51 hours eating and spinning and Pilate-ing (pretend that’s a word, please and thank you) our way through the city.

10 classes later we found some AMAZING studios and instructors who ignited our SOULS.

I know, I know…it sounds like hyperbole but there were so many instructors that reminded me WHY I love group fitness.

No matter where we go and what class we take, the themes of a good class or great studio are consistent. Also, surprisingly simple.

  1. Say ‘hi’

There was a common theme with the studios and the instructors that we loved. They said “hi!” to us as we walked through the door. Asked us if done (insert random exercise before). Asked us our names.

It seems so SIMPLE but there were studios that didn’t even talk to us… and, surprise!, they ended up being the studios that we did not particularly like.

TL/DR: Say “hi” to your newbies

2. Inflection is your friend

We went to one Pilates class where the instructor was saying all of the right things.

In theory, her words were SUPER motivational. In practice? *insert side eye here*.

As I walking out, I realized the reason the words didn’t impact me because there was no inflection. It was monotone the whole time and ended up being the most boring class I’ve ever taken.

TL/DR: Inflection matters. You can say all the right thing but if you’re voice doesn’t change, the words don’t matter.

3. Don’t cancel class

We decided to take back to back Pilates classes at a studio 30 minutes from our hotel.

Friday morning we got up early, grabbed a lyft, and set out on our merry way.

15 minutes before class was set to start, we each got an email from Mind Body alerting us that class was canceled.

I’m going to level with you guys: I was livid.

It was too late to book other classes and we were leaving the next day so we couldn’t use our credit. I understand that things happen and classes need to be canceled. However, letting MindBody send the email informing the class is cancelled is NOT cool.

My friend and I both have worked in fitness for for 10+ years and she currently manages a studio. We both agreed that not sending a follow up email was pretty poor customer service.  We then reached out to ask for a refund and never got a response back! The whole thing was frustrating and left us with a terrible impression of the studio.

TL/DR: If you’re going to cancel class, reach out and send a personal note. Also, please respond to emails if you’re a studio.

4. Be authentic

There were three different instructors that blew us away (enough where we want to go back to the studios) and the instructors were so incredibly different. One played pop music and did a lot of Tabata moves, the other played EDM with long fast sprints, the other played hip hop with a lot of choreography.

What they had in common is that they were authentic.

They were kind and funny and comfortable in how they were teaching. They also gave their clients grace and the permission to be “weird” (as one of our faves put it).

They didn’t seem nervous when they hopped on the stage… even though, let’s be real, teaching can be scary AF.  They wanted us to succeed and we could feel that motivation in our bones. In fact, I burned more calories in those classes then any other class I’ve ever taken.

TL/DR: Be real. Be kind. Care about your members and your clients. Push them and teach them they have the strength inside them to reach their goals.

It was a wild trip filled with an incredible amount of sugar and caffeine. The Pilates and Spin teachers gave us a lot of inspiration and the confirmation of what it takes to be a great fitness instructor. We’re already planning our next trip and I’ve promised to try and not get hangry so much (try is the operative word).

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