Fitness Instructor Cliches

Hi guys! How’s your day going? So happy you liked the pizza/flatbread recipe! Let me know if you give it a try.

The past few days have been interesting. I’ve had to avoid the temptation to use my left hand in daily life (or face the stinging consequence). That means avoiding exercises that involve gripping anything (just about all chest, back and arm workouts) which is pretty lame since exercising is a big stress reliever for me. Oh well, I’m thankful that it wasn’t a more serious injury (although, the numb portions of my thumb are fairly disconcerting). Also, the pilot’s been helping out a little more with things like helping me get my shirt over my head or seperate the kombucha skoby baby from the mother. We will rebuild.  

I was really craving a salad today, but instead of taking an hour to try and dice everything, it all went in the blender for a lovely blended salad and homage to my raw-food-loving days. 

Miso  1 of 1

Blended salad  1 of 1

Good thing Liv had already had pizza and fruit for lunch because she was NOT a fan. Even though I told her it was salty like a soup, I don’t think she was expecting the taste. :/

Here’s what went in there:

1 zucchini

1/4 avocado

2 celery ribs

a red bell pepper

1 cup (maybe a little more) of water

lots of spinach

a heaping tablespoon of miso

-Just blend on high until smooth!

Blended salad  1 of 1 2

I taught a barre class this morning, which was a lot of fun. It got me thinking about fitness instructor cliches, because over time, I’ve become very aware of the things I say while teaching various classes. When I taught at the resort, it didn’t matter if I said the same things for the most part, because guests were always rotating and classes were almost entirely fresh faces. Now that I have *regulars* again, I really want to make sure they get something new/different out of every class. It’s been easier because even when the people are the same, the meat of the class, energy and vibe are always different. But, I really want to rely on form cues instead of cheesy instructor cliches to give an awesome class.

Are there any things you notice your instructors saying time after time?

Anything you particularly love or loathe?

I personally can’t stand it when instructors tell me to smile during a class. I can’t smile, I’M FOCUSING. And, if I were smiling the whole time it would look super creepy 😉

I LOVE when instructors give awesome form cues, remind me of correct positioning/posture, and make me want to work even harder. 

Excited to hear your thoughts!



Post Navigation:


  1. Allyn on August 6, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I quit going to a certain spin class because the instructor would (without asking) turn the knob on my bike to increase tension if he decided I didn’t have enough and/or wasn’t working hard enough. I ended up being able to do it, but it still irritated me. More importantly, (unbeknownst to him) I’ve had three knee surgeries (all stemming from fitness activities), and I also happen to be an attorney, so it’s just a bad idea to screw with my equipment while I’m using it. 😉

    • Fitnessista on August 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      that made me cringe to read it!

    • Vicky on August 7, 2014 at 11:39 am

      I have had this happen to me before as well. Not cool!

    • Angela on August 7, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      That is horrible!

  2. Heather on August 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    When I was a regular in my old body pump classes, I loved when the instructors would call out my name in class to say how awesome I was doing. They would do this for other people in the class too. I loved it because A.) they took the time out to get to know me and B.) It gave me a nice little confidence boost. I’m working hard to create some nice, positive relationships with my new instructors because I really do think it makes all the difference 🙂

    • Fitnessista on August 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      one of my favorite things about the barre studio is that we’re encouraged to learn and know the names of everyone in class. i think it makes a huge difference, especially when i take a class and the instructor makes a point to verbally high five by calling names out

    • Sarah S. on August 6, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      My favorite body pump instructor does this too. It definitely helps with the motivation factor.

  3. Tracy on August 6, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    It’s funny you brought up the “smile” comment. Just this morning during yoga we were holding balancing chair for a verrrry long time and our teacher said it helps if we smile….. what? That would be an extremely forced and strange looking smile! I didn’t! Haha!

    Love love love form cues, especially in yoga. It helps me work on improving and takes my mind off of holding a pose for an extended time.

  4. kam on August 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    one time i decided to try out a new studio that a friend went to. before class, i mentioned to the owner that i am a gym member at another gym nearby (this gym’s competitor i think)– bad mistake. at one point we had done so many pushups, and i had lifted heavy bench presses the day before, that on one of the circuits i went to my knees for pushups. i was no longer completing a full regular pushup and my gym that i love would rather us modify than not get our chest to the ground. so i did. and this studio owner teaching the class stopped the class, turned the music way down, and pointed out to everyone that i’d be going to my gym for how long? i answer- 1 year- and she says it’s unbelievable i can’t complete more than 10-15 real pushups in a row. what she doesn’t know is a year ago, i couldn’t even do one pushup! she also stopped the class another time because we were supposed to do 15 burpees, and again, i was completely gassed and needed rest, so i rested and drank water. she stopped class again and made me do the last 3 i missed (because she literally counted mine) while everyone else watched. please don’t make me feel like an out of shape slob in front of all these people i don’t know simply because you’re mad i go to the competing gym (or whatever the reason). NEVER would i return. i’ve never left a group fitness class feeling so icky as i did after that class.

    • Elizabeth on August 6, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      Ugh, that makes me angry for you!

    • Fitnessista on August 7, 2014 at 12:28 am

      that is absolutely horrifying

  5. sara on August 6, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    There is a barre teacher who always says “Better, (insert name here).” and for some reason it REALLY irritates me. I think it is because he usually hasn’t given any prior cue to adjust the positioning, so I am always wondering what I am doing that is “better” than before.

  6. Domi @ Eat, Pray, Lift on August 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Saw this yesterday and had to come back to put in my two cents. 😉

    Like others mentioned, it really frustrates me when instructors use food/calories as a motivation in class, like “You better EARN those Christmas cookies right now!!” (That was from a spin class teacher…) Food isn’t something earned by excercise (ever heard of BMR? haha) or anything else, or used as punishment!! But in general I get really upset about people promoting diet culture, so it’s not just specific to group X teachers.

    What I LOVE is teachers who are encouraging and remind us to take ownership of our workout. “Ready to challenge yourself? Let’s go! Need to scale it back today? Here’s a modification…” etc. In a spin class, one teacher (different one, haha) said something along the lines of “If you fail, that’s a GOOD thing, because it means you’ve given everything you’ve got! You held nothing back, and that’s a success!” I hated her teaching style the rest of the time, but that one line was perfect for me in that moment, and it’s stuck with me for over a year since. 🙂

    Oh, and I looooove when yoga teachers come around at the end of class during savasana and give you a shoulder/neck/earlobe massage with lavender oil. Not sure that’s a “thing” elsewhere, but teachers at my studio do it and it’s by far my favorite part of any yoga class, ever.

    • Jacquelyn @justjacq on August 6, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      The yoga studio I go to does the massage and it has ruined all other yoga studios for me! It keeps me coming back lol

      • Fitnessista on August 6, 2014 at 6:48 pm

        it’s the most heavenly ever 🙂

  7. Amanda F on August 6, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    One of the bodypump instructors at my gyms sometimes sings the lyrics to the song (while wearing a mic). It is super distracting because (no offense to her) but she doesn’t have the best voice. It’s really hard to keep proper form if you’re laughing.

    Also, the same instructor always sounds super scripted (like she’s a robot)… It’s not motivating at all. Just super awkward.

    • Alana on August 6, 2014 at 11:50 pm

      Why do they sing!! This isn’t karaoke hour! Totally my biggest instructor pet peeve , followed by telling me I’m burning soooo many calories unlike the poor slobs at home eating donuts and bacon.

    • Tracy on August 7, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      I LOVE the singing if it is motivating lyrics!!! I sing along too! 🙂

  8. Tricia Coniglio on August 6, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Yes, I love proper form and being pushed. I think it is a nice reminder to smile but, I agree with you, it is not possible to do it the whole time… or even half the time.

  9. Lindsey G. on August 6, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I hate when instructors chit chat while you are getting through a hard set of exercises or holding a pose. I need to focus and the chatter drives me crazy. Love when they call you by name like “You can do this Lindsey!”

  10. Fiona on August 6, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    I love when they give cues too! Sometimes it can just be a quick ‘sit back in those heels’ for a squat or ‘watch your back’ during deadlifts that can make a huge difference to the workout. I agree with the others about the instructor calling you out in a positive manner, like ‘keep going, you got this!’ Always helps to feel like someone is pushing and cheering you on!

    I also love when instructors tell us how hard they are finding the class! Often my spin instructor will comment on how bad her legs I know..If she’s hurting…I’m doing something right too ’cause I’m hurting!!!

  11. Aisling on August 6, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I love when an instructor remembers me (doesn’t have to be by name). I also love an instructor with lots of positivity, who thinks it’s great the class turned up in the first place. I’m sure your classes are lots of fun, you seem to have such a lovely vibe about you.

  12. Sarah b on August 6, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    My favorite instructor ends every class with, ” Celebrate your wins. Decide what’s next. Go get it!!!”

  13. Elizabeth on August 6, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    This may sound selfish but I don’t really want to hear about the instructor’s personal life during class. Workout time is me time– I am sorry your car broke down or your neighbors kept you up late, but I don’t want to hear about your daily annoyances while I am in class.

  14. Leah on August 7, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I get up early to go to a 5:45 AM Pure Barre class JUST because the teacher is so great! Otherwise I’d go to an evening class. 🙂 Here’s what I love: She is always happy, always encouraging, telling the whole class, “You guys all look so amazing — keep it up!” She’s happy and enthusiastic but not toooo much if you know what I mean. 🙂 She always shows modifications and never makes anyone feel bad about using them (sometimes teachers do make you feel like you should do the full move, not a modification), always reminding us to work with our own body, wherever we are at — but also encourages us to push just a little harder for those “final 10” counts. Truly, the instructor makes the class. I love most of the teachers at the studio but this one is the best — the only one I avoid is the one who never verbally corrects, just grabs your arm/leg and moves it into place for you — it makes me feel bad and it’s kind of weird.

  15. Julianna on August 7, 2014 at 11:45 am

    My biggest pet peeve is when an instructer has the music BLASTING. I’m talking concert-level, ears ringing later loud. I think sometimes they are behind the speakers and don’t realize how loud it is, but I always feel like it would be rude to say anything.

    • Fitnessista on August 7, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      i don’t think it’s rude at all! i like when people tell me if the music is too soft or too loud, because the volume is different throughout the room

  16. RAwR on August 10, 2014 at 9:19 am

    There are two things fitness instructors do that annoy me! One is to touch me without permission. Another is to single me out in front of the group. One woman asks at the beginning of each class “Who’s new?” Then she makes them say their name and every few minutes will ask them questions over the microphone. I’m at the gym to work out, not to socialize.

    I love when instructors remind us that even if we miss a step, it’s OK, because we’re still getting a good work out.

    • RAwR on August 10, 2014 at 9:26 am

      I also loved one instructor who would ask at the end of class “Who’s new?” Then she asks them to describe the workout with just one word – they usually pick fierce, or awesome. Then we all put our hands together in the middle of a circle and shout that word. It’s fun.

Leave a Comment

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