As more people ditch solo gym workouts in favor of specialized group fitness classes (which is in no small part due to the rise of services like ClassPass and other similar apps), a whole new set of gym etiquette rules has emerged. Being polite at the gym used to just mean making sure to wipe down machines after exercising, but now that workouts are much more specific and complicated, there are so many new things to consider.

Fitness Class Looking Away While Spinning At Gym

While it’s definitely important to be courteous to your fellow class attendees, have you ever thought about being considerate of your instructors, as well? The truth is, things you may not have even thought were out of line could be really bugging your instructor (oops!) That’s why we asked five top fitness pros what their biggest pet peeve is while teaching. Read on to see what they said; their answers might surprise you.

1. Flying Solo During a Group Workout: You’d think that if someone is heading to a workout class, they’d be up for following the instructor’s cues. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. “I teach indoor cycling at Flywheel Sports now, but at the gym I taught at before, there was a guy who would ride in the second or third row with his ear buds in for the entire class. On top of that, he’d spend the majority of the class riding out of the saddle in third position,” says Jaclyn Emerick, Instructor at Flywheel Sports. “If you’re not going to listen to my playlist or follow my coaching, why bother taking up a spot in a class that might otherwise be used by someone who actually relied on it for a solid workout? Modifying movements for your skill level is one thing instructors encourage, but going completely rogue is distracting to both the other participants and the instructor. Plus, it’s rude.”

woman using phone during sports training

2. Texting During Class: This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it turns out, plenty of people do it. “A workout class is a great way to relieve the stresses of day-to-day life. Often times we forget the mental and spiritual benefits that a workout can have. Use the class to disconnect with technology, and let this time help you better your mind, body and spirit,” says Lanae Rhodes, Instructor at SLT. “Leave your phone with your personal belongings. If there is something you absolutely have to take care of during class, give your instructor a heads up before it starts, so they aren’t surprised when they see you on the phone.”

3. Tapping Out Too Soon: “One of my biggest pet peeves is when I see a client start to give up during a run or strength training move out of laziness rather than fatigue,” says Joey Gonzalez, celebrity trainer & CEO of Barry’s Bootcamp. “It’s easy to spot the difference because you can see it in their face. If I tell the class they have 15 more seconds until they can rest and I see someone bail on a move before the time is up, I want to tell them they’re doing themselves a major disservice.” Gonzalez recommends sticking it out just a little bit longer to get the full benefits of your training. Your body will thank you!

Female instructor with weight on a sports training.

4. Avoiding Heavy Weights: Lisa Niren, Instructor at CITYROW says, “My pet peeve is when clients, especially women, only lift light weights out of fear of bulking up. They often comment to me that they put on muscle simply by looking at a weight. This simply is not the case. With proper nutrition, lifting weights will create a leaner physique, not a bulkier one.” So go ahead, reach for those heavier weights if you feel like you’ve conquered your usual set. Strong is sexy, after all.

5. Interrupting a Class for Modifications: There’s a reason instructors ask about injuries before a class starts, rather than in the middle. “Here’s the thing. We WANT to give you every bit of information we can, but a group class makes it hard to answer questions that are particular to your needs. Announcing your limitations or asking for adjustments in the middle of a class can derail the entire class experience,”says Alycea Ungaro, Owner/Founder, Real Pilates. “Make your issues known beforehand so that the instructor can plan ahead to modify or explain things to you. If you have a general question that can wait, ask the instructor after class. In most cases, they will be happy to answer you.”

Did any of these fitness instructor pet peeves surprise you? Let us know @BritandCo!


(Photos via Getty)