Rants Of Group Exercise Instructor [+ A Cho Fashion Show]


You’re going to see some very cheesy, ridiculous photos of me posing in front of a mirror in this post. But I had to do it. I just had to.

There are certain companies that are very generous to bloggers- and Chobani is one of them. I wasn’t all that familiar with Chobani before I went to the Blend Retreat, of which they were a sponsor. They certainly treated us attendees very well, and have continued to share the love ever since! Not only have they kept me stocked with delicious (plain!!) Greek yogurt, but they have also contributed to my ever-fashionable wardrobe, about 90% of which consists of gym clothes. They were kind enough to send me some of their sweet Nike Olympic gear yesterday, which was such a nice surprise to find on my doorstep!

I immediately tried on the pants and shirts.

They fit like a glove! How’d you know my size, Chobani? :)

The black shirt is super comfy!

Thanks for the love, Chobani- I’m a happy camper.

And a tired one, apparently.


Okay. So the rest of this post is going to be rant-esque (that’s why I had to start with something happy!). As you know, I teach several group exercise classes including Spinning and Bodypump. I teach at two different branches of the same health club, both of which are in the same town. Oddly enough, the vibe is completely different at both gyms. One is great, the other is just… weird. And I’ve come across people and behaviors that are a little shocking.

I don’t want to sound like a whiner or complainer, but feel the need to get it out there. There are certain things that people do that drive us group ex. instructors crazy. And I want to share them with you, just in case you are an offender. :)

This is a short list of inappropriate actions that I have witnessed in my four years of teaching group exercise classes- many of them more than once.

Here goes.

1. Arrive to class on time. It’s not that hard. Everyone else makes an effort to be there on time, and so should you. Especially in a class like Bodypump, where the equipment set-up takes time. When you arrive late, you disrupt the entire class.

2. Leave your cellphone in your purse, car, locker, whatever. You would be shocked at the number of people that I have seen texting during class- or even worse, actually answer the phone while class is going on! I understand that there may be a time when you are expecting an important phone call, and if that happens, kindly excuse yourself from the room and go talk in private. I actually had someone sit in the front row of my Spinning class last week who took out her phone and texted the entire time. I’m not making this up.

3. Save your conversations for before/after class. I understand that you have friends in class with you. I have met many of my friends this way- and I think it’s great! However, when you are talking the entire time a class is in session, you are disturbing everyone around you. Voices carry- and if you hear the instructor turn the music up louder, maybe take that as a cue that you should shut it.

4. Don’t just do “your own thing.” If you are coming to a group exercise class, I would assume that you are there to do the workout. If you just want to do your own thing, please use the studio during another time of day when it’s empty. I see this mostly in my Spinning class- where someone is in their own little world, pedaling away and not listening to instruction. I even had one lady listen to her iPod the entire time while doing her own thing. Um, why are you here?

5. If the class is empty, don’t stand in the back. It drives me crazy when there aren’t many people in the class and everyone stands in the back of the room. It’s not like I’m not going to see you if no one is front of you. And it’s pretty awkward when there’s an entire 3/4 of the room between us.

6. Wait until the previous class is over to enter the exercise studio. It’s awesome that you’re really excited for your class to start. But if you arrive early and there’s another class going on, do not enter the studio until it’s done. Standing there staring at everyone with your hands on your hips isn’t going to make it end any earlier.

And now, here are some good things to do:

- If you like the class, or think that it was especially good or challenging- let your instructor know! We LOVE to hear that stuff.

- And on the opposite end, if there’s something that you didn’t like- also let us know! I definitely like to get feedback- good or bad- so that I can improve and make my classes that much better.

- If there’s something that you would like to do more of in class, or a certain song that really gets you pumped- tell your instructor! Most of the time, they’ll love the suggestions and use them! I have people give me song requests all the time- I love that!

- Challenge yourself- and remember why you came to class. It’s your instructor’s job to motivate you, but it’s your job to respond and give 100% effort!

- If you need help with something (like a specific exercise, for example), just ask! Your instructor will be more than happy to answer any questions after class.

- Group exercise is a great way to have fun while working out- and it also (in my opinion) makes the time fly. So, give in- and have fun!

Alright. Stepping off my soapbox now…

Are there any gym behaviors (even if they don’t have to do with group exercise) that you find inappropriate or just drive you crazy?


  1. Well, in China, people would SMOKE while working out. Not even kidding. I believe that falls into both the “inappropriate” and “crazy” categories. But I hear plenty of ridiculous stories from Joe’s gym(s) as well, especially in the customer service area, where grown a$$ adults act like spoiled little children. And then you get into the personal training, where a select few people seem to believe that now that they are paying you, they own you. Holy moly, Joe has the patience of a god, but me and my temper would be kicked out of the gym business in a minute!

  2. Great tips! I would add one important thing: WEAR DEODORANT!!! And shave your pits.

  3. Chobani is so cool!

  4. I totally agree with all of these things, both as an instructor and as a member.

    For me another would be that if you sign up for a class and then can’t make it, call to take your name off the list. I get that things come up last minute, but if you know in advance, it’s common courtesy.

    I could probably do a whole post on bizarre gym behaviors (and I just may). People are WEIRD! :)

  5. Great post Lauren! I can only imagine what you experience some times.

  6. I’m still to chicken to take a group class, but this morning I was greatly annoyed by people not wiping off machines. This one dude left a machine literally DRIPPING. Even worse, there was a guy being led by a personal trainer, machine-hopping and neither one of them wiped off a single thing. Dude, you WORK FOR THE GYM, you know better!

  7. Hehehe I have a few close friends that are Group X instructors so this sounds quite familiar. My spin teacher actually says- PUT YOUR PHONES AWAY- no cell phones in my class! HAHAH!

  8. Like this a lot! I teach BP, too, and I have one participant who will do whatever abs he feels like and adds clean and presses for funsies. He does come early and is friendly so I give him that. We also have people who love the back and won’t ever come up. My biggest pet peeve is not enjoying the ride. Maybe I’m not very engaging as an instructor (still new) but it wouldn’t hurt to crack a smile!

  9. My number one pet peeve happened a few weeks ago in body pump (not in your class though). There was women in front of me that was working with 2 1/2 pounds on each side. Normally it wouldn’t bother me but when I made a noise trying to get the weights up on a benchpress- she looked back at me and made a face. Also, some lady came in thirty minutes into the class and her husband came in and talked to her- while class was going on. Then she left 5 minutes later and came in for the last ten minutes. You see the craziest things on saturday mornings- in class ;-)

    • Oh. Add noises to my list of peeves. Not the one like what you made (a legit one), but the ones that ‘roided up dudes do (or non-roided up dudes do) to sound macho. LAME.

  10. Your list is spot-on! People at my gym are generally really polite (in part, I think because it’s all women!), but every once in a while there’s someone who walks in late, or has a conversation with a friend during class, or does her own thing. Instructors are generally strict about not letting in stragglers or calling people out on stuff (nicely, of course), and I definitely appreciate that. Cell phones are also not allowed on the gym floor except to listen to music. If someone texted or took a call during class, I think she’d get the death stare from the entire room. haha

  11. We used to have a woman bring her 5 year old boy into class. It would have been somewhat OK if he sat on the bench and behaved, but he usually ran around and tried to move people’s weights and mats. I finally had to be the one to tell his mother off. She didn’t really like me so much after that, but I’d rather not have that liability on my hands!

    Oh, and farting in class. I mean, I get that some people can’t help it, but seriously just don’t eat broccoli before class.

  12. Oh my. I haven’t take a group class in a while – although I love them. I used to take some classes in Spanish when I lived in the DR and at first, I was constantly being singled out by the instructor in the middle of class!! Haha. My hips just didn’t move as well!! Whenever I read about your teaching, I think — I’d love to go to one of her classes!!!!!

  13. These are so awesome. I get SO annoyed with the people in my Body Pump and Zumba classes.

    Another huge pet peeve (and I’ve never seen this at any other gym than the one I just started going to 3 months ago) is people leaving early! Especially Body Pump! Every class about 10 people (or more) start packing up and toting all their equipment across the room so they can leave early. Which means, traipsing around and in front of those of still trying to follow the instructor. Or stepping around us when we’re trying to the abs portion. SO rude!

    • What time was that class? if it’s a class over lunch, they might need to leave early because of strict lunch policies at work. I work at a university and our lunchtime classes are all based around the fact that fac/staff need to have time to shower/get back to work, so they’re typically 45 minutes.

      I agree though — for BodyPump? That’s rude and distracting. If you can’t do a class with lots of equipment in the time scheduled, don’t go. Pilates or yoga would be another thing (if you can quietly make an exit unnoticed) … but seriously.

  14. Very cool gear! I love Olympic clothing!

  15. I’m totally guilty of standing in the back of an empty class…awwwkward for sure.

    Yay for Choboni, they are the MOST generous!

  16. Every time I read your posts about teaching it makes me miss Bodypump class so badly!! I wish my current gym (that I have no desire to go to) offered it!

  17. Oh my goodness! LOVE this post.

    Seriously–I have people in BP do their own thing. I’m like, UM why the heck are you here?! It drives me BONKERS. Oh and the thing about people standing in the back when it’s an emptier class drives me crazy too. Seriously?! I’ve never had major texters or phone talkers/or even chatty people in my class, but I also turn up my music pretty loud & move real quick so there’s not room (or quiet) to do so.

    YAY for group ex! It’s a weird, fun environment that ROCKS! :)

    p.s. love the clothes. Now how do I get some lovin’? hehe

  18. love chobani for that reason, so giving! and yes I can relate!!!! I actually turn my music WAY UP if they are talking, then i will put it on mute real quick just to call them out. Bahahahaha i am mean!

  19. The closest I’ve come to a group class is the DVD’s from Turbo Fire ;) I’m seriously too chicken to go to a gym!!! You look absolutely fabulous in your new Cho gear :)

  20. Chobani is awesome!! I can’t imagine some of the things you see in class! I want to start teaching, so I might be hitting you up for some suggestions!

  21. Your rants are so similar to mine!! I hated the people who took up so much space because they needed 30000000000 different plates. I just seriously dislike when people don’t wipe down their machine. I don’t want to touch their sweat.

  22. I love this post! I want some cho-gear. :)

    As far as your rants go, I don’t teach, but I participate, and I can tell you all of those (except for 1, which I’ll explain) piss me off as a participant.

    So #4. I don’t 100% agree with that. Maybe your spinning lady couldn’t get a bike of her own in the gym? Or maybe she started the class, didn’t like it, but didn’t want to interrupt her workout? Or maybe her ex-boyfriend showed up at the gym and that was her only way of escaping. I don’t know. But unless the person is disrupting your class, you shouldn’t let it get to you! (if they’re disruptive, KICK ‘em out!).

    My point is this: You don’t know what’s going on in somebody’s life, or what their situation is. I modify exercises all the time during classes because I know the harder version, or the easier version, or I’m modifying for my ankle. A yoga instructor got really upset with me last night during class because I was doing a different pose than what she was doing. Her class was about relaxing, so she was doing easier poses, but a lot were bothering my ankle, so I modified to something I know and could do. I didn’t have my ankle wrapped so it wasn’t obvious what I was doing. It just looked like I was trying to be a showoff (which I do in TRX, and bodypump … not gonna lie, but NOT in yoga — I can’t even touch my toes — yet).

    Anyway — unless you have a repeat offender who’s actually disruptive … just shrug those people off. You do a stellar job and obviously have people there to do your class.

  23. I agree. I think talking and texting mid-class are so rude, and I’m not an instructor (maybe one day). It’s distracting for me just trying to ride along side them. A pet peeve of mine you didn’t mention is sound effects. I hate the grunting angst noises coming from the males in the class. Really its uncomfortable to listen to. Get your sh!t together and breath man.

  24. I love Chobani! And who doesn’t love new workout gear!? :)

  25. Chobani Love says:

    Lookin’ good, Lauren! So glad you’re enjoying the gear. Hope you’re having a wonderful week!


  26. I’ve been takeing BP and arobics for a very long time. I’m always getting singled out by my teacher. It dose’nt bother me though. A very long time ago one of my teachers told one of my classmates to be careful not to drop the weights on the floor and the moment her back was turned this person started to make a face and just did his own thing. I wanted to slug this person. I’ve almost done that but when my teacher says something and I know the reason behind it, I just do what I’m told.If you can’t listen to instructions from people and not know how to react appropratily then you should not be in a classroom setting. That’s my opinion anyways.

Comments are welcome (and encouraged)!