15 Tips from an Instructor’s Experience as a ClassPass Participant

In October Michael and I packed all our stuff into a POD and set off on an adventure. We took what could fit in our cars, and hit the road. Our only goals have been to (1) spend time with our family/friends, and (2) see all the National Parks. We’re two months into the adventure and so far we’ve been in 6 states, hiked 1 state park, and spent tons of time with our families. Some may call us crazy, we simply say we are experiencing life.

How am I working out?

As a nomad I can’t hold down a regular teaching gig or train clients, so I said good-bye to everyone in Florida and (again) become a fit pro participant (read about my first experience with this 2 years ago). For the first time in a long time I had no gym memberships or a regular place to workout, so I hoped on one of the latest trends, ClassPass, and started exploring classes all over.

If you’re not familiar, ClassPass is a monthly membership program in which you pay a certain amount based on your home city and can attend a certain number of classes each month at participating gyms and studios. It is available in quite a few large cities, and with the flex plan you can travel anywhere using your membership. While they need to expand their city offerings, they do have a lot of really great options for those with commitment issues and don’t want to simply go to one small studio or gym daily. (Yup, pretty perfect for my ADD self!)

The studio and gym offerings are very broad, including yoga, pilates, barre, cycle, kickboxing bootcamp, CrossFit, and even providing open gym times for those wanting to sweat on their own. Due to my ankle issues and inability to do lots of high impact stuff right now, I tend to find myself at the yoga, pilates, or cycle studios as I know I will be in a safe environment.

Why am I telling you this?

My first week on ClassPass was in Atlanta, and while I was there I kept thinking I should write a review of each studio and class that I attend. But then I thought, who really wants to read that (although, if you do, shoot me an email and I’ll share). So instead I got the idea to share 15 things I’ve learned as a ClassPass participant for one month, attending classes in 3 states and about 15 different studios.

So without furtherado, here they are:

  1. Being required to sign-up for a class, and then being penalized (aka. paying) for not showing or cancelling will get my ass out of bed at 5am, even when I don’t want to.
  2. Instructors should introduce themselves to each individual student at the beginning of class (not just a general class intro). Whether this is by standing at the door and chatting as students enter, or by taking the time to walk up to each individual as they are in “their spots”, it really is a nice touch.
  3. Small classes are great. Many of the studios cap classes between 4-8 people, which may seem tiny to those who teach classes with 30+ participants, but these small numbers are really a great feel.
  4. Instructors who walk around, coach, and correct is more motivating than the instructor who does everything with participants.
  5. If you do choose to participate with your students, for the love of God, look at us! There is no reason in 2016 that you need to teach with your back to us, especially if there is not a mirror present.
  6. Always ask people you don’t know about injuries they may have. My fucked up ankle restricts me from doing quit a bit, and I’ve been looked at funny by instructors when I modify because they don’t know about my ankle.
  7. Teach for the full amount of time listed on the schedule (or for the case of ClassPass, listed on the app). I’ve been to a number of classes that are listed as 60-minutes, and the instructors have finished 30, 40, 50-minutes and told us to “stretch and finish on our own”. Yea, no, not cool at all. I paid, you give me what I paid for.
  8. There will ALWAYS be new people in classes, whether they are new to exercise, or new to your class, respect them. Remember they don’t know your “lingo” and if you choose not to demonstrate (or have another student demo) then they may feel a bit behind the entire time.
  9. Don’t be trendy. In the 15 studio’s I’ve been to, only 2 tried to be trendy and do movements that are contraindicated or unsafe for that format. That means the other 13 studios stayed true to the original intentions of the format and taught successful classes as such. [If you’re curious, the 2 classes were cycle – they danced on the bike, and barre – all we did was pulse and work in releve, not cool.]
  10. Little extras can really impact an experience. From things instructors did (individual hand shakes to everyone before class stared) to great perks of the facility (showers with salon level products), those extras make a difference.
  11. Don’t give up on people because they are late. My first day in Atlanta put me with an uber driver who took the longest way possible, getting me to the studio 10-minutes late. Luckily the instructor was still there (even though I was the only one signed up), and gave me a great class. If she would have left, and I would have shown up, then needless to say I would have been pissed. I was in an unfamiliar town, without a car, and going to a place I’d never been….don’t hate because I’m late.
  12. Variety is the spice of life. Don’t get offended because people are not always in your class, they may just like variety and change.
  13. Knowledge is evident. The difference between yoga & pilates instructors versus cycle instructors is astounding. This is due to the training level required – the mind/body formats require 200+ hours of training, cycle requires 8. We all start somewhere, but don’t stop your education with one course, one training, or one certification. In this case, more probably will be better.
  14. Okay, be trendy in your space, not your exercises! In #9 I mention not being trendy, this only applies to instructors and class plans. More trendy studios got higher regards from me, and overall had a better atmosphere.
  15. Be friendly! I know this sounds crazy, and obvious, but it blew my mind how many times I went into a studio and someone wasn’t nice to me – whether it was another participant, the front desk person, or the instructor. All because you don’t know my face doesn’t mean you can treat me like scum!

And just for fun, a few of my worst experiences included:

  1. No shower in a cycling studio for a class taken during lunch break (yay, I patted myself down with papertowls).
  2. Being required to pay for a “mat rental” because I didn’t have my mat with me (sorry, can’t bring a yoga mat on an airplane)
  3. No water fountains or cold water available in the studio (really, do you want people dehydrated?)
  4. Watching others dance on a bike while cycling (get over this trend, my power output numbers proved that traditional positions and ride efforts produce higher gains).

I would love to attend one of your classes while on this nomadic adventure. Let me know where you are, and if/when we end up that way let’s connect!

Follow all of our crazy adventure on Instagram @ournomadicadventures and my personal story @summer.sides.

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Summer Sides

Founder & Fitness Educator at GXunited
Summer is a self-proclaimed exercise science geek who loves learning about the ways the body moves in order to help people stand taller, move easier, and perform better.

Her fitness career began over 15 years ago and has provided her with some cool opportunities to train athletes, create certifications and CEC courses, teach group ex, and most recently, join the realms of academia as a full time Lecturer of Exercise Science in Denver CO.

She hopes to inspire both budding and veteran fit pros to understand 4 basic concepts; (1) train movement, not muscle, (2) create the mind/body connection, (3) have purpose in movement, and (4) respect the story that everyone brings to the table.

Through GXunited, she hopes to #inspirechange in the fitness community - creating a more educated and purposeful movement experience for everyone by elevating the level of education required of fit pros.
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