Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Group Fitness Etiquette

My no-tap step days are off to a rocky start.  Last night, after practicing for a combined total of 6 hours, including an hour and a half before class, I subbed for the second time at my gym.  See below post for what no-tap step looks like.  I got the first part of that combo down--through the twirls.

I won't hail myself as a hero because it was a pretty rocky class.  I'm getting better, but that doesn't mean it's a class I'd want to take.  I wasn't surprised when two people left my class halfway through.  It's okay, it's not my class and I made it pretty clear that I'm learning no-tap step and that it's not easy.  I definitely appreciate the people who stayed and stuck it out with me...But the manner in which one woman left my class inspired this post. 

Never taken a group fitness class?  Need the rules for the road? Here ya go.

1) No talking during class.  This is pretty self explanatory.  It's fine to come in chatting, exchange a small comment with your friend, mutter to yourself, etc., but full blown conversations are both rude to the instructor and to the other participants. Plus, think about it like this, if you can talk while you're in a class, you're not working hard enough.

2) Be careful how you leave a class.  I've left classes before and I never hold it against someone when they leave my class halfway through, but please be considerate on how you do it.  The first reason has nothing to do with my feelings, but more of safety concern.  When you leave a class, give a little wave when the instructor looks at you.  We're most concerned that you've gotten injured or aren't feeling well.  Second, if the class isn't something you like, you're not happy with the sub, etc., as frustrating as it may be, please don't throw your arms in the air, scoff, and storm out of the class, leaving your bench behind.  If you're not getting the workout you came for, by all means, excuse yourself.  But be polite.  Instructors have a pretty thick shell, but for the sake of other participants, make your exist quietly.

3) Clean up after yourself.  Enough said, right?  If you took it out and used it, you can put it away (neatly, please). 

4) Be aware of others.  Recognize that the word "group" in group fitness means that there will be others around you.  In a crowded class, I know it's hard, but try to respect other's space.  Try not to block someone out from the mirror, make sure that if you're in a class that moves around the floor quite a bit to give ample space to yourself and those around you.  Likewise, need a water break? No problem--but when you come back, watch out for arms and legs of those between you and your space.

5) Timely Arrival.  I'm actually really chill on this one for my Sunday class because it's mostly my regulars and they're comfortable with our schedule and they know what they need for class.  Here's the deal: instructors are asked to start their classes on time and end on time.  You come to a class because it fits your schedule, right?  Right!  We like to keep it that way and if we spend the first 5 minutes of class in set up, you're losing valuable workout time.  Best practice is to follow the instructor rule--if you're not there 10 minutes early, you're late.  I recognize that some gyms are really bad about leaving time between classes, but try to get there at least 5 minutes early, especially if you're new to class, so you can ask for help if you need it--this is especially applicable for cycle classes.

6) Listen to Cues. Instructors are generally told to never specifically tell someone they're doing something wrong.  Now, in some classes, usually an abs class or a yoga class, it's common place for an instructor to walk around making corrections to people's form.  For the most part though, we recognize that you don't like to be called out in a class.  So we give general cues.  Example: "When doing a triceps kickback, make sure your upper arm is stationary, you should be only moving from your elbow down," if I'm saying it, it's usually because I'm seeing it.

Other things to keep in mind:
- If you are thirsty, don't wait for a break--get some water
- No one will remember if you were good, bad, or if you said "woot!" in the middle of class.  Embrace the energy, it makes class more fun and you'll burn more calories
- Take your instructor up on their invitation to have you talk to them post class.  We love talking to you and answering your questions. We're nice.  Please introduce yourself, especially if you're a regular.
- Push yourself.  Don't waste your time coming to class for a sub-par workout--we want to see you sweaty.
- Have fun.  If it's not fun, we've not done our job. 

Happy group fitness going!

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