An Awkward Start

You better believe I’m taking full advantage of BodyPump classes while I’m in Jacksonville. My parents’ gym had a lunchtime BodyPump class on the schedule today, so I worked at home through the morning before heading out for a mid-day break to work up a sweat.

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After I set up my little station, I sipped on water as I waited for the class to begin. The instructor asked whether or not anyone was new to BodyPump and one woman timidly raised her hand. I expected the instructor to walk over to the woman and give her an overview of the class to make her feel more comfortable, but she kept her microphone on and asked the woman her name from the front of the room. Once she knew her name, the instructor then said, “Uh oh! Everyone watch out for Caroline! She’s new!”

That was it. She didn’t give Caroline advice or tell her what to expect from her first class. She didn’t tell her what equipment she needed. Nothing! I’m sure the instructor thought she was being playful, but I instantly felt awkward for Caroline and could tell other members of the class felt a little uncomfortable. What if this was Caroline’s first group exercise class ever

Thankfully the woman next to Caroline helped her figure out what weights to grab, so she wasn’t too lost. Still, it was a rather awkward start to the class and I’m just glad Caroline was a trooper. I hope she didn’t feel too singled out!

Lunch

Lunch today was a tuna salad sandwich served on toasted Ezekiel bread with a sliced apple and sugar snap peas.

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Nice and filling.

Question of the Afternoon

  • Have you ever felt really uncomfortable in a group exercise class?

The most uncomfortable I’ve ever felt during a group exercise class was when I took my first hot yoga class at a real yoga studio. Yikes. I was waaay out of my element. I’ve also felt really, really lost during a step aerobics class, but I just laughed at my lack of coordination and kept stepping and tried my best to pretend I knew what I was doing.

Comments

  1. says

    oh my gosh – I feel so bad for her and I wasn’t even there! I am glad there was someone to help her out. I always feel lost in step aerobics too. . . I am just not coordinated enough for it! Are you loving Body Pump 84? I think the shoulder track is a killer!

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  2. Christina says

    I tried a Les Mills Body Jam class once……it was hysterically awful. I was totally uncoordinated in a class of extremely coordinated people!

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  3. Judy says

    UGH! I can totally relate to Caroline! The first time I went to a yoga class at a real studio, I was having such a hard time and was getting cramps in my feet, and the instructor informed me it was because I was overweight. Needless to say, I never went back. LOL!

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  4. says

    Oh my gosh that poor girl! Whenever I try a new group fitness class, my horrific scenario is exactly what happened to that woman! I hate being singled out but the fact the instructor didn’t help… UGH, I would cry. Run and cry haha!

    I didn’t have a bad fitness class experience except I got a little windy during pilates. THAT was embarrassing because I was taking it at college. Needless to say, I stayed in my dorm more than usual that week.

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  5. says

    Wow. That’s awful! Everytime I have tried a new class I try my hardest to look around and fit in so that I don’t appear “new” for fear of these types of situations! Poor girl!

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  6. Caitlin says

    Ummm yikes that is literally my worst nightmare. I once had a personal trainer single me out on an eliptical to tell me that this was the worst piece of equipment to be using for “my body type” (a comment I’m still confused by). Nothing like a little unsolicited mortification to promptly end your workout!

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    • Laura says

      That actually happened to me once, too! I just looked at the guy and said, “You know what, I’ve had an awful day and it’s a miracle I’m even here so just leave me alone.” He never talked to me again after that, but I’m pretty sure it’s because he thought I was crazy…not necessarily because he felt bad. Either way, it got the job done!

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  7. says

    omg that poor woman! My worst experience was going to a Barre class in Charleston and the instructor didn’t come into the room until right when class was starting (so I couldn’t introduce myself as never taking a barre class) and she didn’t even acknowledge me until after the class was over, and that was only to get me to sign a waiver!

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  8. says

    hahaha I just took a pole dancing class last night with my friend and some of the moves made me feel awkward LOL but other than that, I’ve never had that experience. Poor Caroline. I would have been completely turned off

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  9. says

    I thought it was the job in the instructor to help new people out?! My BodyPump instructor always helps new people and explains the weights and stuff to them. She makes a point to help them rather than other people in the class because she’s the professional! Poor Caroline. :(

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  10. Michelle says

    I took hot yoga for awhile and I never do things like that so I felt super awkward. But the instructor said we should take it easy the first class and even suggested we just watch (since the heat was a little much). I gave it my best try though! I think it’s essential that the instructor make newbies feel as comfortable as possible…especially if they want them to keep coming back! I don’t know what your instructor was thinking! Sheesh. Poor Caroline!

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  11. Ashley says

    The worst experience I had was during a step aerobics class. I’m so uncoordinated and couldn’t keep up with the choreography at all. I was there just to work up a sweat and have fun, but the teacher kept calling me out in front of the whole class. Correcting me and saying I was doing the steps wrong. I’m not proud of it but that’s the only group exercise class I’ve ever walked out of right in the middle. :-( I haven’t been back to that class but I do love Body Pump!

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  12. says

    Oh man! BodyPump is no joke! You need at least a little instruction to know what to do!! How sad. I’m glad she had someone to at least show her what weights to get!

    My first time in BodyPump, I had no idea what to expect! I thought I was pretty strong but I kept having to stop and take weight off. It’s killer! :)

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  13. Brittany says

    I totally feel for Caroline and you Julie! I took a Step class recently and boy can you say two left feet! I didn’t know which way we were going, always way behind and couldn’t get the steps right to save my life! Glad to know I’m not the only one! Ps. Sadie is adorable. My husband and I had a Vizsla, best breed ever!

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  14. says

    In college I feel like FSU’s gym was where you went when you were already super in shape and were there to socialize. I felt so uncomfortable doing the weights and machines, and surprisingly the group classes is where I felt the most comfortable. I would go with my sorority sisters and we would help each other out or encourage each other! I even went to a few classes alone and it was great because everyone there really wanted to get in a great workout rather than stand around, socialize, and judge.

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  15. says

    That’s awful! It’s definitely intimidating trying a new class for the first time, especially if you don’t know anyone else in the class to give you pointers or help you out. Glad Caroline stayed and hopefully she’ll continue to come back. Hopefully that instructor won’t make the same mistake to other new comers!

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  16. says

    Oh my gosh! I would have been so embarrassed! A little insensitive of the instructor!

    In other news I’m about 1/3 of the way through The Secret Keeper and I think it’s great so far! Really keeping me questioning what happened!

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  17. says

    During this one class where you lifted hand held weights mixed in with lots of cardio (like burpees and stuff), I said to the teacher, “I would rather use these weights for hours than do burpees for 10 minutes…and in front of the whole class she said, “That’s because you pick the lightest weights possible, Sonja. It’s not like you’re even lifting weights at all.” ARGH!

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  18. Annie says

    Poor girl! I recently started pump too and so far have had 2 different instructors. Both of them went through the basic moves, told me what to expect, helped me with the weights… I didn’t feel at such a loss and as a result fell in love wih pump. It’s definitely a class where every beginner needs a minimum of guidance!

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  19. says

    I can’t believe the instructor did that!! I hope that was not her first gfit experience ever…I would have been mortified!! At least she had nice participants to help her out :)

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  20. says

    My most uncomfortable class was also a hot yoga class. It seemed like no one else in there was sweating in there and I thought I was going to drown in a pool of sweat. There was no talking before or after the class either so I felt like I totally didn’t belong. Luckily any other group fitness class I have taken was great.

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  21. says

    I’ve been made to feel uncomfortable in a Zumba class before, but was able to laugh it off. Singling someone out publicly like that is just never a good idea. No one wants to be the newbie!

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  22. Ariana says

    That is so frustrating!!! I hate when instructors take the time to find out if anyone is new, but then don’t really do anything to make them more comfortable in the class. It’s like just pointing out that they are new so that EVERYONE knows that they are new. That really stinks and I absolutely know how that feels.

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  23. Andrea says

    That is so horrible! One thing that I love about BodyPump (and any Les Miles class) is that the instructors are consistently very good – I guess there are exceptions to every rule. My most uncomfortable class was unfortunately a weekly experience. My gym only offered one power yoga class a week and the instructor was amazing. I took her class every week and every week for at least a month she asked me my name and each time I said, “Andrea”. Well one week, she kept praising Julie and saying great job Julie to which I thought nothing of, until I was the only one in the class doing a difficult move and she said, “Great job Julie.” It was then that I realized that I was Julie. I didn’t want to correct her in the middle of the class, so every week for about a year (until I moved to Denver) I was Julie. In fact, one day I was in the gym with my husband and I ran into my yoga instructor and she waved and said, “Hi Julie”. My husband couldn’t stop laughing.

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  24. says

    Aw man, that’s not cool.. The instructor could have said that to be playful and then help her out! That’s just irresponsible and completely unprofessional.. I would NEVER do that to a student..

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  25. Katherine says

    I went to a yoga class with my newly pregnant sister in law a couple of weekends ago. She was only 11 weeks at the time, but had to tell the instructor for safety reasons. The instructor proceeded to preface every difficult pose instruction with “If you’re not 11 weeks pregnant…”
    So for instance, “If you’re not 11 weeks pregnant go into a twist, if you are, go into child’s pose”.
    She said it every time! my sister in law laughed it off as good fun, but someone more uptight would have been pretty annoyed! Especially since it was so early on in her pregnancy and she was only telling people on a need to know basis.

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  26. says

    Oh my goodness! I am absolutely SHOCKED that the instructor did that to Caroline! I would have felt completely embarrassed.

    I try to laugh off awkward and embarrassing situations when they come to me and not let it get me down! Hopefully Caroline can do the same and all others who has this happen to them!

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  27. says

    I wonder why the instructor even asked if anyone was new.

    I love Zumba, but the worst group class I’ve ever taken was a Zumba class. When I was a member at the Y in Green Bay I decided to visit another Y across town with a different instructor. The instructor stood in the middle of the crowd and didn’t give any verbal instruction. It would have been fine if everyone could see her or if she was doing basic moves, but she was not! At that point I had been going to Zumba for over a year and I was still completely lost. And she did have a mic because she would randomly yell awkwardly things like “woo hoo!” I ended up walking out because I felt like I was going to run into other people!

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  28. says

    This makes me want to cry! I’m not confrontational, but I probably would have said something to the instructor after. I have *zero* idea why she would do that, but she needs to know it’s unacceptable. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can email the GM your experience. Just give them plenty of information and they should be able to ‘re-train’ their instructor. I promise, they’d rather have that information than let that instructor keep running loose. (I used to be a sales manager at Gold’s Gym and I appreciated criticism as much as praise.)
    They’re supposed to be fostering a nurturing, learning, work in progress environment. Shame on her. Also, BP rocks!

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  29. says

    OMG! Is that instructor serious!? Who does that!?

    I’ve definitely been new to class before and always appreciate when an instructor comes over to check in or fill me in on the class structure. I specifically see spin instructors do this regularly which I think is absolutely necessary given the specific basic knowledge one needs for the call outs.

    That instructor is out of line and if I were that person, I’d feel so awkward and quite possibly never go back to the class again.

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  30. says

    My worst first class was Zumba. Everyone else was a regular so had the moves down… I was all over the place. On top of the fact I can’t dance. I was fortunate enough to have a head start in yoga, because I took it in college so beside some realignments, I was never “singled” out.

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  31. says

    Oh my goodness – I feel bad for Caroline & I wasn’t even in the class. Poor girl. Instructors really can make or break a class for me. I used to teach spin & I always tried to make new people feel welcome & ensure they felt comfortable on their bike.

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  32. says

    That’s terrible! I can’t believe the instructor did that! It’s very irresponsible since bodypump is hard to navigate at first. It requires a lot of equipment and you never know how much weight to put on when you first start going. :( this makes me sad. Maybe you can say something to the gym about that instructor, because someone could get hurt!

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  33. says

    Shouldn’t it be the instructors job to help others out. That is very odd. You should try and make everyone feel comfortable in a class. I definitely think instructors can make or break a class for me!

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  34. Lisa says

    I second the Zumba comments! My friend and I went together our first time, and the only instruction the chick gave us was “stand in the back and try to follow along” Once the music started, it seemed like I had suddenly grown an extra left foot and forgot that my arms are attached to my body at the shoulders. To top it off, everyone else was regulars and socialized before and after the class, as my friend and I stood around awkwardly waiting to get to the lockers.

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  35. Amy says

    That sucks for her! I am glad someone else in the class was nice and helpful. The first Zumba class I ever went to, the instructor singled me out for not doing one dance correctly- it was a very Latin dance, and I just couldn’t do it. She was being playful, but to be honest, I was soooo mad. In fact, I never went to her class again and just went to another instructor’s class. One time after my first Step class (so much harder than it sounds!) a lady in the class who clearly goes regularly came up to me and said “good job, I am so glad you came” etc. I am sure she did it because she could tell I was new, but it was nice that she came over, and also nice that she didn’t point out the fact that I was new. Ok, this is long- I am sure we all have good/bad gym stories!

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  36. says

    BodyPump is a class that is very important to have a little guidance in if you are new. You can really injure yourself if they don’t teach you proper form. I don’t know what that instructor had going on in her mind when she did that, but that’s not cool.

    I also struggle with Step classes. An instructor never made me feel bad but I just can’t get into the flow of it and then I end up not getting a good work out. I’m just not coordinated enough. Tell me to do a jumping jack, I’m good.

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  37. says

    That is too bad! The instructor should have discussed modifications she could make to any exercises that may be beyond her current level and give an initial dose of encouragement and welcome. I actually went to an aerobics class last week where it was the instructor’s second time ever teaching, and it was a little awkward because I could tell she was nervous. I’d be nervous too, but it was still kind of awkward- multiple awkward pauses throughout the class.

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  38. says

    Poor Caroline!! Just reading this, I was uncomfortable for her!
    I’ve never had a bad experience in a group class, thank goodness, but I seem to be the person my TRX trainers like to pick on in class. It’s all in good fun, and I’m {pretty} sure they only do it because they know I like joking around!

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  39. says

    That is not a way to welcome someone into class. At least in my opinion. As someone who has done group exercise before but is still severely intimidated by it, that would probably be enough for me to just get up and leave. If I don’t feel comfortable, why stay?

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  40. says

    I felt a little out of my element during my first Bikram yoga class too..but by the end of class I felt great and was glad I tried it. Poor Caroline! Sounds like it must’ve been so uncomfortable for her, makes me sad. It takes a lot of courage to walk into your first group exercise class alone!

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  41. says

    One time in college, my friend read the group fitness schedule wrong. We showed up for boot camp and we were instructed to take out shoes off and the small class started to do plies. It obviously was not boot camp. We felt rude, but we left the class because it wasn’t something we were interested in.

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  42. says

    That’s so funny that you post about this today – I went to my first bodypump class this morning after a several month hiatus and our instructor asked who was new and I decided to raise my hand because I wanted to let her know that I tore my tricep muscle at the last bodybump class I did and that I was nervous to use too much weight. The instructor went around and talked to all of us individually and she was great – telling me what amount of weight I should expect to use, but to go decrease if it was still too much. She also made sure to let us know before every exercise, just how much weight to add or decrease based on our warmup weight!

    Long story short – had this instructor singled me out like yours did, I would have been HUMILIATED!! And possibly not have wanted to return! I was shy enough using the light weights that I did today. Shame on her, I say. I’m sure she didn’t realize what she was doing, but shouldn’t it be part of her job description to go talk to the newbies? For safety if anything.

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  43. Amanda says

    I’ve been to a few spin classes where the instructor doesn’t take the time to ask if anyone is new and you can tell that there are people who have never set up their bike before. I have seen people who don’t know to raise the bike seat and handlebars, which is so dangerous and uncomfortable!!

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  44. Addison says

    Poor Caroline! I’ve never had an awful fitness class experience, but one time after a treadmill class I was taking, the instructor handed me a towel and said, “It’s okay, I sweat a lot and drip on the treadmill when I run too.” Yikes!!

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  45. says

    As an excahge student in Belgium I decided to take aerobics class at the University gym in the middle of semester. Except the gym was handball court packed with 200-300 well coordinated students with a hard coreography practiced for 2 months. And the class was in Dutch. Did I say I was all over everybodys feet? At least I thought: well, no one knows me…Untill I steped on a toe of my labmate :)

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  46. says

    Oh that is SO sad. Poor Caroline :(

    And it makes me LIVID. As a BP instructor myself, that is a HUGE no-no. You always welcome new people & help them out. Hello?!?! They have to know what to do! Ugh. One of my biggest pet peeves ever with instructors. Those who know how to lead a class & be kind to all should lead classes, and those who are just rude & won’t welcome new people need to step down. Sorry. This is just a matter of the heart <3 It makes group x look bad when instructors do stupid things like that!! :(

    In other news, I am loving 84!! How are you liking it?

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    • says

      i know! it seemed very, very out of character for a les mills instructor. i’ve been taking bodypump for years and have never seen an instructor act that way toward a new participant.

      i really like 84 – especially the jump squats!!!

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    • says

      I teach BP, too, and I try to identify new people before classes so that we can go over weight selection and moves. If I know someone is new, too, I’ll make sure to demonstrate the moves before starting each track. Definitely a lesson to show up early to class! My gym is pretty small, though, and it’s easy to know the regulars. It’s such a bummer that the instructor didn’t handle it better. I think some instructors have bigger personalities and might not have realized that it could have been taken differently.

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  47. Emily says

    Ironic timing – I’m doing my very first hot yoga class tonight! My husband and I are trying it together and I’m a bit nervous. Just hoping to come out alive.

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  48. says

    Oh that is a little harsh, you’d think she’d figure to help her being it was her first time or why was she really asking who was new?! That’s sad, hopefully Caroline wasn’t too bothered and it won’t ruin her chances of wanting to go again, at least her neighbor was helping her! I would have felt so awkward if I were her!

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  49. says

    During college, I went through a Zumba phase, and I always felt awkward when the classes began; I felt like I needed to warm up before busting a move! And I would get really self-conscious if I couldn’t execute the moves exactly right. Luckily, my nerves lasted about 10 minutes, and I loved the classes after the initial awkward beginning. :)

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  50. says

    Poor Caroline! I am not sure I would have stayed through the class if that were me. That instructor needs some gym manners. Playful or not, some people (especially in a gym) are really sensitive. Ek! Thankfully she had a good samaritan next to her.

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  51. says

    I had just joined a new gym and I was trying to make it to my first yoga class after a late day at work. I must have read the wrong schedule because I ran into an intense body toning class just before they started. The instructor didn’t really talk to me much, just helped me grab the things I would need and placed me in the front of the room. I had no idea what I was in for and I definitely didn’t eat enough for that kind of workout. I ended up walking out halfway, afraid that I was going to pass-out. When the class ended, I went back in to get my stuff and the instructor just said “see ya”.

    I hated that! No are you okay? No thanks for coming? No will we see you again? It makes me feel like it kind of made her think that I can’t get through the class, and really having to leave a full classroom early from the front of the room was embarrassing enough. I never went back.

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  52. says

    My zumba instructor always does that too. She doesn’t necessarily do it in an awkward way but I can see how it might be uncomfortable for someone who is pretty quiet. I hate getting picked out of a crowd but thankfully I’m a regular now. Poor girl, I wonder if she’ll come back!

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  53. Danielle Dumont says

    I, too, took a step aerobics class for the first time once. I obviously didn’t know the routine but I was doing my best, and the instructor kept telling me to lower my step down a level on the microphone because I was struggling, and kept saying “man you guys are a hot mess back there!” referring to me and my mom who were laughing as we clumsily tried to get the routine until she wouldn’t just let us be. It made the class pretty irritating for me because she made us feel like outcasts, but we continued on and once she let up, it was more fun. Regardless, I felt like maybe a positive attitude or a ‘don’t give up, you’ll get it!’ would’ve been a lot nicer….

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  54. Michelle says

    Omg that is awful! Poor Caroline, I bet she’ll never come back, ugh. I have to say I am impressed by your compassion and empathy for her, that speaks volumes about you!! I wish all people were that thoughtful:) You should start teaching body pump at your gym!

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  55. Shannon from Chicago says

    Wow that is terrible! Body Pump is a pretty complicated class, and if you are not a veteran weight lifter, it can be kind of dangerous! My worst experience ever was a step aerobics class, too. I am pretty coordinated and athletic, but I could not keep up at all. At one point the teacher was trying to discretely single me out in the front of the class to show me the basic moves that everyone else already knew, and the woman next to me had the nerve to say, in a nasty tone, “She is doing that for you, you know.” I was so embarrassed.

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  56. Dee says

    Your enthusiasm about body pump makes me really want to try it!! I’ve taken a yoga class once and was so intimidated! I was definitely new to it, and I know the instructor was just trying to be helpful, but she was stepping on me toes, pushing/pulling on me, and even said “yea, it’s not easy, is it?” I was so embarrassed! That was my last class :( haha, I shouldn’t let one bad experience ruin yoga for me, though! I’m sure there are other instructors that I’d feel more comfortable with :)

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  57. says

    Ugh! As a new BodyPump instructor this makes my blood boil! We are taught in training how to welcome new participants and advise them on their weight selection. THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING. It is so important to make new people feel welcome, prepared, and confident. Group Exercise classes can be intimidating; especially one with a barbell! Ahhhh! I hope Caroline comes back and finds a better instructor to take classes from!

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  58. Therese says

    I finally went to my FIRST BODYPUMP class EVER! I went during lunch time too. I was nervous at first, but thankfully my instructor was super helpful and even helped me set up my equipment. I also thought of you & how much you love BodyPump which helped me move out of my comfort zone! Thanks Julie!

    PS I loved it! That was my first group fitness class. I never knew that they could be so fun!! I have always just stuck to running.

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  59. says

    I’ve only been to zumba, but I don’t like it much tho. It was awkward every time I went lol. I wish there was a body pump class in my area and a friend to go with. It sure is popular!

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  60. says

    Like you said, the instructor was probably trying to be playful but still, she should have known better. Group exercise classes can be very intimidating and I think extending a helpful hand would have been more appropriate!

    I once took a hip hop class and while I love to dance and have pretty decent rhythm I am not the best with choreography. It takes me a few times. Well, it seemed everyone in this class was able to pick it up but me….even the “older crowd”. I decided not to go back, lol!!

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  61. Laura says

    Last night I was uncomfortable. I decided to go to an interval class. I had no idea what it would be like. It was as bad as middle school PE for me. We had to pair up with someone and then they did wall sits while we did the circuit. I’m a very slow runner and just starting to get into shape. I felt so bad for my partner. Her legs must be very sore. They kept having to wait for me to finish to move on to the next part of class. Ugh.

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  62. says

    My first “meditational” yogo, which btw I thought was a regular yoga class and my PHONE kept going off and the ringtone was WAY too obnoxious for those meditating!

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  63. Carrie says

    This is why I am so intimidated to try new fitness classes which is so sad! I don’t think it is right to single people out like this and, unfortunately, it has happened to me on two separate occasions. Luckily, my “piloga” instructor has redeemed my faith in group fitness because she was so sweet by coming up to me to introduce herself at the end of the class and really make me feel comfortable!

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  64. says

    So I REALLY want to try body pump but that is exactly why I haven’t. Any suggestions for a newbie? (You know, besides talking to instructor before they have a chance to single me out?)

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  65. Candi says

    I’m glad someone was there to help her; too bad more people didn’t or call the instructor out for that rudeness. I hope people from the class spoke to her during and after to give her encouragement.

    I went to a pilates class where the teacher was constantly calling people out for their form. It really bothered me at first. Then once she had us sitting, knees together, and she wanted us to put our feet flat on the floor. Well, I have a belly. So it was either feet flat on the floor or knees together, but not both. She kept saying, “knees together! Knees together!!” so I finally had to yell, “I’ve got too much going on right here (pointing to my belly) to do both. So do you want my knees together or my feet flat on the floor?” I kept going, because I refuse to let instructors intimidate me. I eventually came to realize that this was just her style because she truly wanted everyone to reap the benefits of having the right form. But I would have never known this if I gave up.

    I often make it a point to talk to new people in classes that seem to be lost. Sometimes it can make all the difference for someone that lacks “gym” confidence. =)

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  66. Amber says

    That is mortifying! I have two similar experiences one at body pump and one at step. I was called out by two different instructors in front of everyone. It was so embarrassing I haven’t been back and I love the type of workout I get from body pump I just don’t want to be embarrassed or scared I’m going to do something wrong.

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  67. AJ says

    WOW, that was kinda crappy of the instructor. You would think she would have given the new person a quick overview of the process. Honestly, I feel super awkward in most group fitness classes because I’m SO uncoordinated. I did BodyPump and it was ok, I did a cardio kickboxing and felt out of sync. I guess I’m a loner when it comes to the gym!

    -AJ
    FitTravelerAJ.blogspot.com

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  68. says

    I definitely felt out of place at my first spin class when I wasn’t given any instruction about how to set up the bike, how to turn the resistance up, etc. It was a very cult-ish studio in NYC and I left thinking I hated spin and didn’t try again for over a year. Turns out I love spin, just with the right instructor and with some help to get set up!

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  69. Chelsea says

    I took a Zumba class once. I am so incredibly uncoordinated. And everyone there knew all the moves and everything! I had to laugh at myself to get through it, but it’s not cool when other people were laughing at me! Needless to say that was the last one I ever took. I do love bodypump though!

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  70. Jillian says

    This is so similar to my first ever experience with body pump! The instructor asked who was new but then just went on her way setting up for the class. The lady next to me told me to get a set of the lightest weights and everything else I needed. During the legs track I believe I was asked my name then she announced to the rest of the class that I was slacking by using a little bit of weight. At the time I was 250lbs and it was my first experience with any weight lifting/ group exercise class.

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  71. says

    oh man, for something like Bodypump I’m sure we’d ALL want some instruction, including myself. And now that I think about it I have taken an aerobics class when I first went to college for elective credits, and here I was thinking that I never experienced group exercise, hahh! That class was def. fun but hard for me simply because of the coordination. All the dancey stuff always confused me as I’m super bad at dancing and moving my body, but the cardio part wasn’t too bad thankfully, or else I wouldn’t have passed the class 😛

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  72. Rachel O. says

    I was going to a spin class with one of my friends one night and we followed the procedures – sign up half an hour before and show up five minutes early (we were there about ten minutes early). When we got there, the instructor had already let everyone on the waiting list in and there were no seats for us! As it turned out, two of the other women in the room were also instructors and were so kind as to give us their seats – one went up on the center seat while the instructor for our class walked around while she talked – because they didn’t sign up. The instructor spent the rest of the class making my friend and me feel awkward and apologizing to everyone else for the confusion and the awkward situation of her walking around. She would not let it go – even though it was her own fault for letting them in too early…after class she even told us not to her spin classes anymore…

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  73. says

    I took one group exercise class, knowing it was going to be a challenge for me but unaware of how hard it would actually be. I was towards the front which was probably a bad idea in the first place and half way through felt like I was going to pass out if I didn’t get a drink of water and cool off. I was so embarrassed stopping during the exercise and walking out to the hall way for a drink and tried to sneak back in like nothing ever happened but I am sure that everyone was looking at me! It was super embarrassing that I couldn’t keep up.

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  74. says

    I have NO shame so I don’t really get embarrassed (lucky me). If I’m new to a class I don’t bother waiting to be asked if I need help I go ahead and ask first. If I was Caroline I probably just would have taken it as a joke and asked what equipment I needed. It would be really unfortunate if that was her first group class ever though. :(
    In Zumba I know I’m uncoordinated but I keep moving and make the most of it so I love it anyway.
    It’s what you make of it I guess. I figure you’re not at the gym for anyone else, you’re there for you so who cares what anyone else thinks?

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  75. says

    haha wow Julie this it’s funny you posted about this because I did feel a little awkward today….I tried a kick boxing class for the first time ever and everyone around me looked super studly and I was just sooo lost!!! all those jabs and upper cuts…..haha I was just bouncing around the whole time. Luckily no one singled me out…I feel like new people usually just want to go to the back of the class and blend in so that is too bad the instructor treated her like that :( hopefully she was ok and will come back!

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  76. sarah says

    IRS so funny I had that exact thing happen to me in my FIRST EVER pump class I had absolutely noidea what I was meant to get or what weights to use. And thus was with a fitness group I’ve worked with for some time and even though I knew pretty much everyone there I was so embarrassed I’m yet to go again and try it again I am only now tossing up with now going and its been about 4 months haha hopefully I don’t feel so foolish this time around

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    • says

      though i can totally understand why you’d feel silly, in my opinion, it is the instructor that messed up and definitely not you! i would definitely try again (maybe w/ a different instructor?). now that you’ve taken one class you’ll know what to expect. i really do love bodypump and felt like this experience was a fluke. i hope you have a better experience if you decide to take it again!

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  77. says

    Ahh! As a fitness instructor, I cringe hearing stories like that.

    Depending on the gym, some instructors aren’t “allowed’ to actually leave the stage (if on one), but I agree, there are more subtle and helpful ways to bring a new participant into the class. No one likes being singled out in a negative way. How uncomfortable for everyone!!

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  78. says

    One fitness class I went to only ended up having one other person show up, and it was a new class I hadn’t tried before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Luckily the instructor was really sweet and she ended up giving us a more individualized class which rocked!

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  79. says

    I’m with you on the step class. The first time I went I spent most of the time laughing and standing. I kept going though and now I got every Saturday morning, who would have thought?!

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  80. Cheryl says

    I had a rough experience at my first spin class. I had never done it before and I had no idea how high to put the resistance and what to expect. I ended up having placed the resistance too high and was dying after about 10 minutes. The instructor never offered any info or asked if anyone was new–she just started the class. I haven’t spun (is that the right lingo) since!

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  81. Carol T. says

    I have been a member of a local gym for several years and have never taken any group classes…some of the particpants make the new people feel uncomfortable.. I will just stick with the equipment and work at my own pace…

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  82. Christine says

    I have always been scared to death to try a group fitness class. I’m not very athletic, not in very good shape, and very shy. I’ve always wanted to try yoga, though, so last Saturday I bit the bullet and signed up for a beginner’s yoga class. I went early and talked to the instructor to let her know it was my first time and I knew nothing about yoga. She was so nice about it! She showed me around their studio, showed me the props, and assured me I had nothing to worry about. She told me to feel free to ask any questions during class. During class she helped me with some of the poses by walking over to me and moving my arm where it should be. She always smiled and made me feel comfortable. I’m glad that it was a positive experience because now I am looking forward to going back for my second class tonight!

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  83. says

    I did my first bodypump class tonight and was pretty much that girl! I really had to half ass everything as their were no extra instructions and I was stuck in the back. Hoping it’s a little smoother next time :)

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  84. says

    I actually haven’t gone to many classes for this reason! I don’t think of myself as “shy” nor would anyone that knows me but being in a class full of women is some how daunting. What if I can’t do it? Will I look silly? I am too chubby to be in these pants? Lots of self doubt! Then one day I saw this very large woman in Zumba just having fun…I thought she is enjoying this not stressing. That is what a workout class should be like- why am I worried about others!?

    I think this really is something for instructors to help there classes feel confortable! I want to lead group classes (working on that now) and make everyone enjoy working out and making new friends.

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  85. says

    That sucks. I have totally been in group classes at the gym were I spend more time wondering what to do next than working out. I just read you first yoga experience story which I think is pretty common. I learned yoga in collage, so it was a course with the same instructor once a week and everyone starting at the same level, no yoga experience. I have not seeked it out but I wonder if yoga is taught this way any where else because it was a great way to learn the fundamentals.

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  86. says

    You had me feeling bad for Caroline, too! Glad someone was there to help her. I always feel out of place whenever I go to something new. Which is why I prefer to work out on my own. I would love to try Zumba or something like that but I haven’t been able to talk any of my friends into it. Less awkward when you aren’t the only one who is new!

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    • says

      hahah, oh I agree with you, Georgia! I want to go to Zumba classes, but refuse to go on my own (and none of my friends will ever do it with me). It’s reeeeally out of my element…and I teach HIIT group fitness classes for goodness sakes! I have preferred to just avoid the awkwardness that is certain to ensue, but have told myself that I need to try it this year :)

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  87. Christa says

    I took my one and only Zumba class about 3 years ago and I vowed never to go back. My feet werent connected to my brain for that hour, and I just got frustrated with myself and took it out on the instructor. I was literally close to tears! I realized Zumba is NOT my workout of choice, but I’m one of those who when I’m new tends to take up space in the back of the class. My Pilates instructor (she also teaches spin as well), is great about asking every single time if there is someone new in class and then exlpaining what to expect and if we will need any equipment. After the class she also tells us to communicate with her if anything felt off or hurt in anyway as well as giving modifications during the class for those with different fitness levels. I basically love her.

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  88. ct cupcake says

    I teach Pure Barre and we try to introduce new clients to a regular attendee in the class. I have to ask, if you knew Caroline was a new and looked uncomfortable, did you consider saying hi to her and introduce yourself?

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  89. says

    Oye! This is exactly why I’ve been hesitant to take Body Pump. I’m hoping to convince a couple friends of mine to start up with me so that we can look silly together, then I won’t be so worried!

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  90. Lindsey says

    Whenever I teach Zumba I always teach facing the class instead of leaving everyone to stare at my butt. (who wants that anyway, speaking of awkward). If someone is new, struggling with an injury or beginning his/her fitness journey it’s important to modify exercises and provide support so they continue attending and become more confident. What if that person had never worked out before? You could be the key person to help them get into shape!

    The other night I went to a hip hop class at my gym. The instructor asked if anyone was new, I along with a few others raised their hands. She then said “We’re so glad to have you, Welcome!” As great as it is for someone to be friendly and to feel included it’s also important to take a minute to two aside before and after class to give someone a rundown and touch base to see how class went.

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  91. says

    Yum that tuna looks good!

    Oh my god- how rude! Usually as an instructor I’d suss them out before the class starts or just get them to raise their hand, offer them welcomes and give them plenty of tips.

    I hope Caroline returns!

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  92. Molly says

    I am a group fitness instructor and Director of a facility. I would reprimand that instructor so fast she wouldn’t know what hit her! I train mine to speak to every person in the class as they are walking in. I also will not allow them to call anyone out unless they are doing something that is fixing to seriously hurt them. It is so important to “connect” with every person in your class. I have one instructor that stops people after class and teaches them moves that they are struggling with. And guess what? Her numbers are the highest!

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  93. Pita says

    I teach Pump. Not only should the instructor have approached Caroline to make sure she had the appropriate equipment (I turn my mic off when I help new members) we are trained to give weight selections at the beginning of each track for both new people and regulars – to prevent injury!!

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  94. Pita says

    Also just wanted to add, I teach step and some other formats that move fast – those of you who feel embarrassed or silly – dont!! :) these type of formats take several classes to catch on, don’t worry if you are off, it happens anytime someone is new. Trust me the regulars understand, they were there once also! Once you get down a class like step, it can be one of the best workouts you’ve ever had! Stick with it :))

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