14 types of instructors that you should make sure you are NOT!

By Jennifer Sage On May 23, 2012 Under coaching

Read this (sort of) funny article: Top Ten signs That You Have Run Into a Bad Group Fitness Instructor.

Only takes a little imagination to transform these descriptions into an indoor cycling class instead of an aerobics instructor. Have you met these instructors? They aren’t you, are they?

Nope, because you are the opposite. You are an empowering coach who is the following:

  • you are concerned more about your students’ workout than your own
  • while you correct your students for poor form, you do it diplomatically and with empathy, ensuring that they understand the reasons for correct technique
  • you celebrate any students who might be more fit than you (because it certainly IS possible!)
  • you find that balance between blaring your music and barely being able to hear it, playing music that inspires your class
  • you know when to talk and when to shut up, and you don’t bore your students with stories of yourself all the time
  • you are committed to your class, only finding subs when absolutely necessary
  • you are fit and strong and practice what you preach
  • you know as many of your students’ names and goals as possible
  • you vary your class profiles often
  • your passion shines through and you love what you do!

Four more I’d like to add to the list (and the things you probably do to make sure that isn’t you!):

  • Unprepared Polly: She runs in 1 minute before class, completely unorganized, and has to dig deep into her bag to find her music, cycling shoes, headband, heart rate monitor, etc and decides her profile when she turns on her iPod. By the time she’s ready, it’s 5 minutes past. [You on the other hand are conscientious and come in early, already prepared and dressed, profile ready, and spend time greeting students and setting them up.]
  • In-Your-Face Frank: more than just a boot camp style, he yells every command at the top of his voice. He gets in the face of his instructors and scares them into doing what he says. If he thinks they aren’t going hard enough, he turns their resistance knobs up for them. [You, however, motivate your students through inspiration. You know that sometimes a whisper is louder than a scream, but you also know the right moments to use a powerful – but not high pitched – elevated voice on those rare moments when it has the most impact. You never touch your students’ resistance – instead empowering them to increase it themselves.]
  • Sloppy Sam: He wears sneakers, baggy shorts to his knees and a cotton t-shirt, that within 5 minutes of class starting, has huge unsightly, sweat rings that eventually merge by the end of class. Sometimes his t-shirt even has torn-off sleeves. He probably also grunts when he teaches. [See the next one…]
  • Sexy Sadie: She wears very short shorts, revealing her curvacious glutes that she works so carefully in the weight room. No cycling shorts for Sadie, it hides her curves! Her bra-top reveals her ripped abs, and when she bends over to put her hands on the handlebars, it’s no wonder she has a line of men fighting over the front row! She makes sure to wink at them whenever possible.
    [Neither of these is you – You take your role as a coach seriously and know you are projecting an image from the moment you walk in, before you ever say a word. You always wear cycling shoes and whenever possible, cycling shorts. You may not wear a cycling “kit” but make sure your top is not overly revealing, and is a fabric that wicks moisture. It’s fine to be proud of your figure, and since it can be warm in the studio, a Lulu Lemon tank top is perfect. Professionalism rules your choice of outfits and your demeanor.]

Do you have any more to add?

EDIT (next day): I just thought of another one…

  • Stalin Steve: he rules with an iron hand, like a dictator. Has to make sure everyone knows he is the “Big Dog” at every moment. Students’ desires do not matter.
    [The alternative is the instructor who believes his/her class is more like a democracy. Even democracies have leaders, and when it comes to safety, stricter rules can be applied, but always with empathy. But there is still a leader who takes the desires of all their constituency (students) into consideration. A dictator rules by fear and intimidation, but your students follow you and do as you ask because they trust and respect you. You care about their needs and always offer modifications.

“Instructors tell you what to do, they push you through the door; teachers show you the door for you to walk through; coaches give you the power to find the door yourself.” Which one do you want to be? (Thank you Sandro Morelli, Spinning® MI, for that quote)

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Shirin
    May 23, 2012
    4:49 am #comment-1

    yay to your list, nay to the other!

  2. Bill
    May 23, 2012
    9:42 pm #comment-2

    Any chance you could publish Sadie’s club locations and class times?

  3. renee shapurji
    May 24, 2012
    3:48 pm #comment-4

    Ego Ed: Comes in unprepared, but always ready to self boast. he scrolls through his ipod picking music at random while he tells you to “keep pedaling.” He is dressed in cycling shorts that look to be so painfully tight to emphasis his well endowed anatomy but the women love him especially when he comes by to turn up their resistance knob and give you that “personal attention.” No plan but everyone loves him because he plays great upbeat music all the time and “that’s what i want.”

  4. Shari
    May 24, 2012
    11:23 pm #comment-5

    Ironman Ian: Comes into class, announces he is training for an Ironman and that this is the workout that HE NEEDS to do today. Music is loud, thumping house music and there are no verbal cues.

    Spinnin’ Stu: Little resistance, stands 90% of the time while “running”. Yells at the class the same cue over and over again: “Faster! Faster!”

    Music Mike: Feels he is the expert on music. No plan – just four moves – Sit & Pedal, Sit & Pedal Faster, Stand & Pedal, Stand & Pedal Faster. Each change in position is followed by the phrase “…to the beat”.

    Saddest part – They are all “instructors” that I have had.

  5. Jennifer Sage
    May 25, 2012
    3:16 pm #comment-6

    Shari, those are excellent additions! er…excellent “bad” additions! 😉

  6. Carla
    May 26, 2012
    1:02 pm #comment-7

    Dangerous Dan: Wants to be the “popular kid” disregarding form, technique and proper setup. One dimentional and knows nothing about proper biomechanics or training. Just gives the crowd “what they want” without understanding that he can’t be the clown that entertains the crowd giving them ab, chest, arms and pedalling with no resistance to keep the class entertaining because he has no real knowledge and isn’t on a quest for more. He just wants to be fun. Turns his nose down on those who are concientious because his class is full.

  7. Shari
    May 27, 2012
    8:27 pm #comment-8

    What a list! Love the additional contributions. Gives us all something to think about.

    And I need to know–who is the other “Shari”?!

    🙂 Shari Miranda

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