The Life of a Fitness Instructor

The Life of a Fitness Instructor

There is a lot of misconceptions around the Life of a Fitness/Class Instructor…..the majority of people think because you are a Fitness/Class Instructor then life is all rosy and that we are perfect and eat perfect and don’t need to worry about our weight and how we luck…….OMG how wrong is that! A lot of people also expect that all Fitness/Class Instructors should be size 8 skinny minnies wearing crop tops……oh please as if!

Yes I love my job, I love teaching but the Life of a Fitness Instructor isnt as glamourous as it seems…..I get a lot of “easy for you just teaching a few classes  day” or “You get to exercise and get paid…lucky you” or even better “ you must be able to eat what you want with all the classes you do” and the other hand when someone once said “GOD you should be skinny the amount of classes you do”….. The Life of a Fitness Instructor is full of fun. laughs, smiles, new challenges, confidence, happiness and the chance to meet people…and this is the side everyone see’s and admires (and the side we thrive off of course), when in truth the other side of the Life of a Fitness Instructor (the side no1 see’s and understands) is full of sweat, tears, nerves, injuries, mental and physical draining, self doubt, fatigue….carrying on when you are sick and having the balls and confidence to stand up infront of a room full of people and be the 1 everyone is concentrating on and looking at when inside you are falling apart….that is the hardest part ever! Its like show business…standing up and basically performing and for that hour (or whatever) putting a smile on your face and forgetting everything. Also Standing up infront of a room of women, who look up to you and feeling a like a big frump in your clothes and feeling like a fraud….even though no1 else in the room feels that way but YOU……thats a toughie too…..

Yes I eat “clean” I watch what I drink, but on the same note I am human and we all have slip ups, bad days and days when we are just NOT on track….YES I ADMIT IT IM NOT Superhuman!!!!  I make sure I have enough food to fuel my body for what I am doing throughout the day, but being a Fitness/Class Instructor also comes with working unsocialable hours….teaching classes morning, afternoon and evening….which you might be thinking “yeh but I work 9-5” well yes of course but you get structured lunches and breaks……I basically eat when I can! The majority of my classes/clients are morning, lunchtime, teatime….therefore I never eat at the “right” time (not that there is such thing) and sometimes I’ll even admit that I skip meals because of timing and tiredness some nights when I get home 8-9pm and I am physically and mentally too tired to eat or make food (lazy as it may sound, weve all been there) and of course by being this way, again it in no way helps the body. What I will say though it that 80=90% of the time I am spot on, always have snacks, protein shakes, fruit, nuts to hand and try and make food…no matter how tired I am.

I need to train myself (weights) and eat the right foods….otherwise, no matter how many classes I teach, I would balloon up…..but the more classes I teach, the more out of shape I get…honestly, no messing, take last night for example….I was squatting and lunging arounf my bedroom in pairs of demin shorts that I have bought for USA (size 14 should I add) to try and get them to somehow stretch and fit me, because half of them dont….do you know how sole destroying this is? YES I hear you saying….well there you know, we do understand (well I do) how YOU feel we YOU say you cant fit into something

Being a Fitness/Class Instructor does not make you super human…..we are actually just human like everyone else, and we battle with the same weight, self confidence and body image issues as everyone else…………its just we know how to hide it well 😉

Take myself for an example (well kinda seems right seens as I am the one who is writing this) I teach 19-20 classes a week, have 3-4 PT clients a week also…..on top of this actual Physical Work….I also train 3-4 times a week (weight training) and practice prancing around and making routines up, pretty physically demanding hey? So you would expect me (according to society and their views) for me to be a size 8 munching on lettuce and having a shake for lunch…and skipping brekkie…..yeh yeh right as if!!!!! If I was a size 8 Id be on a drip and if I didnt eat I would of killed someone by now, these are the misconceptions I mentioned earlier about us Fitness People.

On top of all the classes we teach, we spend hours and hours outside of class preparing routines, music and class lesson plans….they dont just miraculously come to us in class…..but again this is the side no1 ever sees

In truth….the more classes I teach, the more out of shape I get…YES you heard me right……Us “Aerobic” Instructors can suffer from what Charles Poliquin calls “Chunky Thigh Syndrome” …this is when your whole body has adapted itself to aerobic exercises (due to the enormity of classes taught) to the point where it stores more fat…which turns the body into a fat storing machine and this fat tends to be stored in the lower body..hence the term!!! Yes you may lose weight doing cardio…but you will be you but smaller….hardly any (if any at all) tone to the body…..So as yo can imagine because I teach about 19-20 classes a week, and the majority of them being aerobic based (Zumba, Aerobics, Aqua) and the odd LBT and Tone class, can you now see why the more I teach the more out of shape I get…..but this also applies to the general public who attend “too many” cardio/aerobic based classes a week.

I do what I do because I LOVE it, I get such a buzz off helping people, making a difference and getting people to achieve their goals…..but man is it hard going!

No matter how many years Ive been teaching, I still get nervous before every class…especially when starting a new class or if new people attend an existing class….but I suppose this shows I still care and I have passion for what I do. But 1 thing I want to say is (and I think as Instructors we have ALL experienced this at some point in our careers)…..the worst thing EVER is when people come to your class and look at you, talk about you and basically show no interest at all and when on water breaks the snigger with their friends and its so obvious its about YOU……No matter what class you go too…always show the Instructor some respect but YOU dont realise how hard it is to stand up infront of people and have their full attention and them watching and following every move, word and action you do…..Every Instructor has experienced this, all I will say is always put yourself in the instructors shoes…..BUT again this works both ways and Instructors should also welcome and embrace new people and new classes and make them feel comfortable in class, and I am a firm believer in that is what I do in every class I teach, I would hate for someone to ever feel out of place, uncomfortable in my presence

We are NOT superhuman.
We have the same body issues as everyone else.
We DONT eat lettuce and lick dust.

We are just like you

SO next time you go to class….think of this and give your instructor a smile

I LOVE my classes and my ladies…….

Jen x

The life of a Fitness Instructor

This goes out to all the Class Instructors/PTs and basically anyone who runs their own business no matter what sector you are in….BUT more so the “Fitness Industry”

Do you ever hear this?

“wow you only do 2 classes a day….you much have sooo much spare time”

“wow you get £15-30 a session/class/hour….you must be minted”

“must be great to just workout for a living”

Yes I am sure you have heard all the above (and more) hundreds of times……and I suppose in a way we cant really blame the public for this, because after all this is all they ever see. Ive had clients/class members/friends and even family tell me I am s lucky cos I only “WORK” (being the word) a few hours a day…..hmmmm if only they knew

YES working for yourself is amazing, you can pretty much pick and choose when you do/don’t work, who you work with/for…..and how much you want to work…its amazing and its been my dream forever but people never ever see the other side…..on top of all the classes we teach/clients we train, we spend hours and hours outside of class preparing routines, writing programs, researching, reading, studying looking for specific music and creating class lesson plans…. and guess what believe it or not they don’t just miraculously come to us in class…..but again this is the side no1 ever sees. When we sit at home creating all the above and practising routines and are practically lashing the laptop out the window cos we have “instructor block”, when we stress about programs/routines….no one pays us for this, the endless hours sat in front of the laptop, in a studio or heads in a book…again no money here….

The Life of a Fitness Instructor/PT/Class Instructor is full of fun. laughs, smiles, new challenges, confidence, happiness and the chance to meet people…and this is the side everyone see’s and admires (and the side we thrive off of course), when in truth the other side of the Life of a Fitness Instructor (the side no1 see’s and understands) is full of sweat, tears, nerves, injuries, mental and physical draining, self doubt, fatigue….carrying on when you are sick and having the balls and confidence to stand up infront of a room full of people and be the 1 everyone is concentrating on and looking at when inside you are falling apart….that is the hardest part ever! Its like show business…standing up and basically performing and for that hour (or whatever) putting a smile on your face and forgetting everything. Also Standing up infront of a room of women, who look up to you and feeling a like a big frump in your clothes and feeling like a fraud….even though no1 else in the room feels that way but YOU……thats a toughie too….. There is a lot of misconceptions around the Life of a Fitness/Class Instructor…..the majority of people think because you are a Fitness/Class Instructor then life is all rosy and that we are perfect and eat perfect and don’t need to worry about our weight and how we luck…….OMG how wrong is that! A lot of people also expect that all Fitness/Class Instructors should be size 8 skinny minnies wearing crop tops……oh please as if!

As well as this consider that I personally (and I am sure others do to) do all of this on top of teaching a class:
Tax/Accounts
Routines
Website
Emails
Newsletters
Music – buy and prep
Write Programs
Articles
FREE videos for youtube and clients
Blog
Research
Read
Attend Courses/Online Seminar
And much more

The knowledge a true Fitness Professional has, doesn’t just come from 1 course or reading 1 book (if only), it comes from years and years of endless “unpaid” (and to some extent) unappreciated hours of hard work, research, reading, planning, preparing.

So ALWAYS appreciate the time given to you by anyone……because you never know what goes on “behind the scenes” of a business until you have been there yourself……and this does apply to most business that you deal with (especially small businesses) – always consider that the person behind this business puts in hours and hours of hard work…that you don’t see…its not a case of “abacadabara” and there it is…..this ain’t no fairytale shizzle….this is real life.

Cut your instructor a bit of slack because like me – inside they could be breaking and falling apart but for you they will always have a smile and I love all my class members and a smile I will always have for them

Jen x

Rest Days….do you have yours?

When you first start out training, or are training for something specific or simply just in the zone….then even the thought of “resting: can freak you out and you start thinking all kinds and telling yourself that it will be the end of the world if this happens and that you will lose any gains/strength/stamina…..when in fact by over training and being “too obsessed” you could actually be doing all of that and more.

Its OK to be dedicated and motivated…..believe me, we need more of that in the world….but there needs to be a point where we need to let our bodies recover.

Without adequate recovery, your musculoskeletal system, nervous system, and immune system become compromised and this then puts you at a greater risk for injury, weaknesses in training and illness. Your body’s hormonal response to the deterioration of these systems is often a state of sympathetic arousal—your “fight or flight” response—which floods your body with high levels of catabolic hormones like cortisol. None of these things are good for anyone!!!

Rest days are an essential part of training, time off allows your body and mind to fully recover and grow…..don’t believe me….then think about how you feel after a bad night sleep/rest: Your cognitive skills are fuzzy and your body starts to fall into a catabolic (breaking down) state, which can skyrocket stress, drain any muscle strength, and cause mood shifts…..well lo and behold this is exactly what NOT resting does to your body!!

If you Never take a day off, then you are just setting the body up for a breakdown. You become more susceptible to muscle soreness, a suppressed immune system, improper sleep, a decrease in strength and performance, and injury….not to mention mood swings, irritability and weird eating patterns.

Use your rest days to reflect on how far you’ve already come and acknowledge and be grateful for your body, willpower and dedication……see it as a positive thing and don’t beat yourself up for resting, as it wont get you anywhere.

If you are bored stiff indoors then go for a casual walk or yoga class/light swim…something that isn’t taxing on your body…but doesn’t make u go stare crazy either. Don’t be competitive and wonder what you can achieve just be!!! BUT REMEMBER there is nothing wrong with lying on the couch watching a film….its ok to rest up (just don’t accompany this with a take away and munchies….and then your sound)

I know that sometimes mustering up the motivation to work out is a challenge, and then other times, like when we’re really determined to reach a goal or we feel like we need to make up for lost time, the opposite is true.

Sometimes we take on that frantic “must work out every day” mindset and completely forget that one of the most important parts of exercising effectively is giving our bodies time to recover….because if they don’t recover they cant change…so your training becomes pointless.

Plan your weekly workouts….but also plan your rest days and if you are worried you will just sit and think about working out..then make plans…plans that don’t involve the gym or training…go shopping. meet friends, read a book…anything..stimulate your mind and rest the body.

Trust me…..YOUR BODY NEEDS REST DAYS!!!!