8 Things I’ve Learned From One Year As A Fitness Instructor
March marks one year of teaching for me at Sweat. During that time, I’ve also picked up some teaching gigs at a couple other places in the city, but I credit Sweat for helping me break into this industry and grow to the level I have in just a year. As I mentioned on Friday, I’ve also taken on the position of Director of Social Media in addition to teaching, so it’s safe to say that I’m pretty invested in this business.
It’s been a crazy year and I have learned a lot both personally and professionally. In typical thinking out loud fashion, here are eight things I’ve learned from one year as a fitness instructor.
1. There are no stupid questions
I got my job at Sweat by trying out ClassPass for a month. I immediately fell in love with the workouts, but since I wasn’t working at the time, I couldn’t afford a membership and I knew I wanted to come more than 3 times a month (the limit for ClassPass). I emailed the owner to let him know how much I loved working out there and he suggested that we meet up for coffee that week.
When we met, he let me know that they had a program that provided me a membership in exchange for working a few hours a week at the front desk. He then told me about an internship program where I could eventually teach if I was interested. Since I was in the process of getting my personal training certification, this sounded like the perfect plan. The rest is history.
If it hadn’t been for me reaching out, establishing a connection, and asking if there was any way I could continue to come, my whole time at Sweat never would have existed.
- Passing the NASM Certified Personal Training Exam
- What to do with a Personal Training Certification
- How I used GoFundMe to Raise Money for Personal Training
- How to Get A Fitness Job With No Experience
2. It takes time
As much as I willed myself to be the best instructor I could be right off the bat, it took time for me to find my comfort zone and own each and every class. It took patience and practice until I was able to feel comfortable pushing others and adapting workouts as I saw fit. During all of my initial feedback, I was told by more experienced instructors that it just takes time to get to that spot. My experience definitely proves that.
3. My energy comes from others
Sometimes teaching a class at 5:15 am means that I’m not my most energetic (hello staying up to watch the Oscars). Thankfully the cold, windy walk to work helps to wake me up, but sometimes it can be a struggle to exude that much energy that early in the morning.
Once I start teaching, however, I’m often inspired by the motivation and dedication of everyone who electively showed up that early to make healthier choices. I crank the music, get my mic on, and soon am finding energy I didn’t even know I had. Reminding them that they made the decision to wake up and come in reminds me that I did as well.
4. Fitness brings people together
I’ve seen so many friendships form within the fitness community. As you start coming to the same classes, you meet the same people, and a great community starts to form. I’ve made so many great connections both from teaching and from showing up to work out alongside my clients. Everyone is always so supportive and it’s such an uplifting environment.
5. My hair will remain up 98% of the time
The only time I end up wearing my hair down these days is on the weekend and that’s only if I actually feel like taking the time to do it. Most days I shower and throw it up in a bun on the top of my head. It’s super fast and convenient, but sometimes I miss having it down. I could technically style it if I really wanted to, but I’m likely to be working out the next day and will have to wash it again anyway. #fitnessproblems
6. You’re an authority
Clients who come to your class view you as an authority on the subject of fitness and movement standards, and they should. I make sure to thoroughly explain each movement and correct form throughout the class. Many times people will come up after class with questions or just because they want my opinion on fitness or food-related topics.
7. Exercise clothes are an investment
Earlier in my blog days I spent a lot of time talking about how I would never spend money on expensive workout clothes. I got a lot of my stuff from Target and Old Navy and would wear Hanes undershirts to work out in. With the amount of time I spend wearing athletic clothes and working out in them, I soon realized that you get what you pay for. Some of my pieces from Target and Old Navy are fine, but several of my pants have started to wear thin and have some issues with the seams.
These days, I look at athletic clothes as an investment. I buy a lot of stuff from Lululemon and Nike, but I still cringe at paying full price. I have only bought one top at full price, and everything else I’ve gotten through the Mercari app that I wrote about a couple weeks ago. Seriously, it has saved me a TON of money and the clothes have all been amazing!
8. There’s good and bad days
Some days I love what I do and some days I think that running all around from place to place (this includes my personal training clients) is going to burn me out. I pine for the long stretches of day from last year when I had much less work to do and I spent a lot of time reading. These are usually only fleeting thoughts, since what I get out of helping others is much more rewarding than sitting along by myself at home (but oh, how glorious it is).
Some days my teaching is on point and other days I finish a class and know it wasn’t my best. Either way, I know that all I can do is show up the next day and do the best job that I can.
I look forward to seeing what another year will bring with both my teaching and individual training. If you’re ever in Chicago and want to stop by, shoot me an email and I’ll get you in for free!
- Instructors: What are some things you’ve learned during your time teaching?