Confessions of a Group Fitness Instructor

1. You know that merengue we did? I choreographed it in the car, forgot what I was going to do and made it up on the spot.


 On the same note, do not be afraid if I come up and want to booty pop and shake with you.

Zumba thumb1

2. If you’re talking during class, that’s my hint that it’s too easy. I ‘ll make it my mission to change your words into huffing and puffing 😉

3. I like when people dance in the front row with me.

4. I don’t like when people wear flip flops to class. Any class. Please wear sneakers. Best shoe fail moment: sparkly wedge shoes. No joke. I asked her if she would mind switching to sneakers or do class barefoot instead.

Sneaks thumb

5. I’ve used the same combo and music for my beginning aerobics class forever… and I’ll probably never change it. (For the record, it’s Motown music and we do: grapevine, V-step, hustle, rocking horse, walk up for 8 counts -with arms going up for 2, down for 2, up 1, up 1, 2 claps for the 8 counts- walk in a circle, “scoop” to the right and left, mambo cha-cha combo and stomp combo)

6. When I can’t decide what I want to do next, it will usually be burpees into push-ups into planks <— combo of destruction

Plank 2

7. The song I’m playing has a “bad word” in it. This is when I start cueing to distract, or take it into some plyometrics. Jumping lunges! LET’S GOOOOOO!!

8. We eat vegetables, protein and fruit in the locker room before teaching… we also eat cookies and frosting. Some of my favorite classes happen to be the sugar-buzzed ones.

9. Yelling and smiling are always encouraged 🙂

10. There are days when I don’t feel like teaching. Either I ate too much for lunch, am tired, miss my baby, my to-do list is running through my mind, I’m sick of my warm-up song or just don’t have my mojo. You give it back to me. Instructors feed off of participants’ energy, and every day I’m thankful that I get to do what I love. Teaching fitness is kind of like pizza: even the bad days are really good. 


Confessions of a personal trainer

Gym class etiquette

Getting into group ex

Post Navigation:


  1. Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness on July 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Love this post Gina!!!! As a group fitness instructor I can more than relate to everything on this list!!! The only one I’ve never seen is flip flops!!! I can’t believe you had a participant in sparkly wedge shoes!!! Craziness!

  2. Suzi @ Confessions of a Fitness Instructor on July 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I do most of those things too 8)

    The funny thing is, even though we try to distract people with our yelling during bad words, unless it’s really obvious I don’t think they notice anyway!

  3. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on July 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Love this!!! And flip flops?! People are ridiculous!

  4. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on July 17, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Ahhhh I love this post Gina!! I’m an instructor too and I can totally agree with some of these confessions – especially the distracting cues/ long ‘Let’s GOOOOOO’ to cover up the bad words! 🙂 In fact, that’s exactly what’s going to be happening during one of the songs in my spin class tomorrow morning!

  5. Anna S on July 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Hahaha. This is great. In Jazzercise yesterday the instructor’s mic was broken. In one of the songs she actually said, uh oh now I can’t talk over the dirty words. It was great.

  6. Jess on July 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Haha this made me laugh! So true! Totally relate to choreography in the car! 🙂 I can’t believe someone wore sparkly high flip flops!!! Unreal!

  7. Jenn B on July 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    I was literally just looking at continuing ed credits and felt my eyes crossing. What have you done to stay current in your certifications?

    • Fitnessista on July 17, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      i do a lot of the online and mail-in credits- it’s super easy

  8. Natasha H on July 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    That pizza looks soooo yummy!

  9. Marie-Santé on July 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Fun! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. Anne on July 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    I absolutely love this post! I don’t attend very many classes outside of spin but I still thoroughly enjoyed this post.

  11. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance on July 17, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    No way did someone wear flip flops and/or wedge shoes to a cardio class?!?! lol.

  12. Simply Life on July 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    oh this list is too fun!

  13. AnnMarie on July 17, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    This post is so great–love the pizza analogy. I am fairly new to instructing but am addicted! I teach 6 classes a week right now.

  14. Julie on July 17, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Love this post!!! I teach boot camp & Zumba classes so I know what you are talking about!
    I’ve had & done most of those. Especially yelling over bad words. I always hope they don’t notice. Then my sister will come to class & laugh cause she knows what I’m doing.

  15. Lauren on July 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    As a fellow group fitness instructor….I can totally relate and agree!

  16. Averie @ Averie Cooks on July 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    People that talk in class, don’t come properly dressed with workout shoes or sneakers of some sort on…baffling!

  17. Katie on July 17, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    LOVE this! 🙂

  18. Karen on July 17, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    I’m so with you on all of the above. I teach at 5:30 am so I’m usually – not always- making it up as I go along. At that hour if people are standing around conversing they will do bur pee jumping jacks combos forever !! And I do the same warm up everyday. Deal with it lol.

  19. britt on July 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    that pizza seriously looks delicious. now i’m craving pizza 😉

  20. Abby @ BackAtSquareZero on July 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    So funny. Nice to see it from the other side as I am going to a class at 8:30 tomorrow. Really though, sparkly wedges, who does that? How did you not just laugh?

    • Fitnessista on July 17, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      working at a health resort, i see some amazing “costumes”
      one lady did zumba in a golf outfit, visor and sunglasses. it was awesome

      • Robyn (girlonraw) on July 18, 2012 at 2:12 am

        Was she drunk after a day playing the holes? Maybe lost a dare ? Lol

  21. Sandy on July 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    This was such a cute post, it made me smile. My mom has been a fitness instructor for over 20 years and a lot of the things you said hit home. Especially using the same warm up routine for the beginning of your aerobics class. Haha

  22. Jessica Kempainen on July 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    As a fellow group fitness instructor, I LOVE this post!! People talking drives me crazy & I instantly make them regret that 🙂 and I’m totally with you on the burpees! ha

  23. Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food on July 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    YESSS!!! These are so true! I am so guilty of putting together my Jazzercise classes in the car on my way to teach or even just picking my songs as I go along (GULP!)!!! 😉

  24. Julie on July 17, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    This is so funny 🙂 Love these posts!

  25. @pluvk on July 17, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Haha, I love this! 🙂 I’m a college teacher, and sometimes I’m just NOT feeling it. But if the students are interested in the subject, ask questions, etc., then it’s exactly like you said – I feed off their energy!

  26. Eva @ committed2nutrition on July 17, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    HA! love this! As a fellow Zumba Instructor I totally feel you on this – I choreograph so much in my head in my car that I totally get cocky and think when I execute the routine in the class, it comes out exactly how I pictured in my head.. WRONG! lol. I do not get that lucky all of the time. I also HATE when people talk in my class… I find it rude, but I don’t have the guts to quiet them because at the same time I don’t want to be rude, ha. I also get SO SICK of hearing the same songs over and over, but I don’t always have enough time to come up with new ones.. ahhh life. What did you think of ZIN 39?

  27. Laura @ She Eats Well on July 18, 2012 at 12:02 am

    I love this post series! I wish I could take a class from you sometime…but alas, I live in CA. Also, I still need to take Zumba. My Mom and my Sister recently started and love it!

  28. Kelsey @ ZingAnything on July 18, 2012 at 1:15 am

    I loved this! I can’t believe someone showed up to your class in wedges. Craziness.

  29. Kimberly on July 18, 2012 at 1:18 am

    When hiking in Cinque Terre, Italy there was a sign at the trailhead indicating no high heels. I thought it was hilarious and took a photo. Now I realize some people really need to be advised about proper footwear. Yikes!

  30. Leslie W on July 18, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Super great post! I wonder what my Zumba teachers (who are my cousin and friend) are even thinking and I know them!
    Have you ever thought about doing a more “out in middle of nowhere” type shopping list for people who have limited access to the good stuff? I know you lived somewhere that wasn’t super modern before so maybe it would help some people…like myself. 😉 Just an idea! 😀 No gluten-free places here yet. lol We still get eyerolls and “what is gluten?”

  31. Bek @ Crave on July 18, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Haha, I love it when you have a talkative class and they wont to ‘woohoo’ and ‘yeah yeah’ with you.

  32. Tara @ Sweat like a Pig on July 18, 2012 at 3:11 am

    I’m not a group fitness instructor, but I was a dance teacher for three years and I’m definitely guilty of making up choreography on the spot. I used to teach mostly young kids, but I had a few classes of older students aged 14-17 where I would play slightly ‘riskier’ music. I would just make sure I was yelling over the swearing 😉

  33. Melissa (Better Fit) on July 18, 2012 at 3:23 am

    Haha- I love it! I agree in particular with #10. Clients give me so much energy and excitement. 🙂

  34. Amanda on July 18, 2012 at 7:08 am

    I think that even the other participants will feed off each others energy. I know sometimes when I’m not feeling a workout if someone I’m near or with is pumped I get into it and enjoy myself.

  35. Amy on July 18, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Really enjoyed this post missy! I just posted about my first class teaching experience yesterday. Nerve wracking doesn’t touch the sides!

  36. Meagan on July 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Are those Asics your running shoes? I wear the exact same ones! I just got my new ones (GT-2170s) in from Zappos yesterday. I paid for the free shipping, and they were delivered less than 24 hours later. Love it! 🙂

  37. Em on July 18, 2012 at 9:21 am

    2, 7 & 10 are SO true! i teach spin and have been known to get veryyyy vocal all of a sudden when i realize the song i’m playing has one too many curse words…

  38. Athena @ Fitness & Feta on July 18, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Love, love, love this post. As a fellow fitness instructor I just found myself nodding along to each and every point you made. Almost reminds me of the post I did on fitness instructor pet peeves…!

  39. Annette @ FitnessPerks on July 18, 2012 at 11:55 am


    I teach group ex classes tons every week–and I can say the exact same things! 😉 Esp the bad words-or ‘too sexy’ words–just start yelling cues 😉

  40. Rebecca @ Miss Magnolia Munches & Moves on July 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I wear Asics G-2160s, too. In fact, I have that exact pair!

  41. Victoria on July 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Hi Gina! Great post! I was wondering if you could recommend sneakers specifically for Zumba class? I have been using my running sneakers, and they’re starting to bother my feet. Thanks!!

  42. Megan on July 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I am a zumba/spin/power muscle/kickboxing instructor 38 weeks pregnant with my first baby and I have just loved reading your blog throughout my pregnancy. And yes, I can relate to all of these things- so true! Thanks for sharing your life!

  43. Roro on July 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Love this post, when you taught at Moody me and my friends would workout in the far back and then as time went on we started working our way up to the first. It really was more fun in the front then the back. Specially when we got the routine down and wanted to showoff a little 😉

  44. Jen on July 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    You are adorable! I’ve been lurking for ages but thought I’d finally speak up! I always love your take on things and you’re positive attitude is contagious! Thanks for all you do.

  45. MegS on July 18, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    This was a great post! You are such an inspiration Gina! 😀

  46. Britt on July 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    I have always wanted to be a fitness instructor and may have my one and only chance to get certified this fall.. Which would you recommend ?? There’s a few different ones and I’d really value your opinion 🙂

    • Fitnessista on July 20, 2012 at 1:02 am

      check out the link at the bottom of the post! it’s all about getting started

  47. Michele on July 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    My favorite Zumba instructor comes up with new routines every 8 weeks for each of her classes and I mean completely new routines. She will never repeat a song from a previous routine. I love that every 8 weeks we never know what we’re going to get! Keeps it fresh and keeps us on our toes.

    • Fitnessista on July 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      I have a secret for you: theyre most likely from the DVDs Zumba sends us. It makes coming up with new stuff much easier, and def makes classes more fun!

  48. Tara on July 20, 2012 at 6:05 am

    As a fellow group fitness instructor, I can definitely relate to you on almost all of those “confessions!” especially the one that mentions that sometimes we just aren’t in the mood to teach…but once that first participant walks in the door that slight hesitation or want to go back home is completely gone! 🙂 I love group fitness!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.