I grew up respecting my parents and my elders. I knew it was important to look up to them, and I was taught that they knew best. Obviously, as I grew, I started to realize that they weren’t always right, but I respected them nonetheless. I carry that trait into adulthood, but what happens when you can’t respect your fitness instructor? Do you still go to class?
That’s the dilemma I’m facing right now. I have finally gotten into a routine at my gym and figured out what classes I like to attend each week. I even figured out how to like step aerobics, which was something I walked away after my first class thinking I’d never do again. But now there is an instructor who teaches two of my five days of classes who I have finally lost all respect for.
I’ve always had a bit of an issue with her, as her style is a little abrasive, but last week’s class took the cake. I am sure she was having a bad day, but as her students – who are there because we are choosing to pay money to take a class from her – we should not know about it, especially not to this extent.
Granted, the gym has a temperature issue with the fitness class room. It is all glass on two sides, one of which faces south and the other east. Morning sun heats the room to the level of discomfort at times, and the air conditioning doesn’t work as efficiently as it should. Various instructors have extolled theories about whether opening the doors keeps the air conditioning from coming on – although the temperature is regulated from the rest of the gym – or whether turning the lights on is helpful. Some claim the florescent lights add too much heat, while others state that the air conditioning doesn’t turn on unless the lights are on. But it’s a gym, so you deal with it.
When I arrived at class last Tuesday, the doors were propped open with weights, which sometimes happens and sometimes doesn’t. The instructor started the class and cranked the music. I mean, she had it really, really loud, even for a boisterous fitness class. Not surprisingly, within a few minutes, someone who was working out came by and started to pull the weights away to shut the doors. The instructor was having none of it.
With her microphone still in front of her face so we could hear everything at full volume, she stomped over to the doors – leaving us to just continue what we were doing with no instruction. “Excuse me. Excuse me! Yes, you. What do you think you’re doing? Excuse me, you can’t just come in here and close these doors. Do you think you work here or something?”
And the guy walked away. She came back to the class and spent the next few minutes kvetching about how he had earphones on and really, how could he hear anything anyway. Could we believe the nerve he had to come and close our doors? They were open when she got there, and the heat is on elsewhere in the gym, so it gets unacceptably hot in our room, and how could someone just come and do that?
Within a couple minutes, someone who actually does work at the gym came over and started to close the doors. Again, our instructor left us to our own devices and headed to the door to intercept this latest intrusion. Hey! What are you doing? You can’t close those – at which point the person pointed to her microphone and must have told her to turn it off immediately, as we couldn’t hear anything else. After a three or four minute conversation, the doors were closed, and the instructor came back.
More complaining. The managers don’t know anything. How can a 22 year old nobody tell her how to run her class? She teaches too many classes at this gym for them to fire her, and boy would they miss her if they tried. The doors were propped open when she got there, so it isn’t like she even did it anyway. And it went on and on.
I. Could. Care. Less.
I am here to work out, not to deal with your interoffice politics. I use my workout as a decompression and a way to relieve stress, so I don’t want to hear about yours. And get over yourself. Maybe keep the music a little lower, and it wouldn’t have been an issue to begin with. Or gracefully accept that the doors are meant to be closed during classes.
I sighed inwardly but continued with the class. I was disappointed, but such is as it is. About three-quarters of the way through the class, she interrupted her routine. What’s wrong? What’s wroonnnnngggg? she whined. I was taken off guard until I figured out that she was talking to one of the students who was in the back of the classroom leaning against the wall with her water bottle, apparently done in by the class. She didn’t look great, and the instructor could obviously see that.
In situations like this I’ve seen other instructors do sort of what common courtesy dictates, forget professionalism and probably legal requirements, and going to check on the student who isn’t doing well to ensure that there aren’t any serious issues. This instructor instead returned to the class like nothing had happened. She shook her head and said, “Ugh, I have 20 some people, and I’m supposed to worry about just one person. Seriously. I’m supposed to just forget all of you just because of one single person.”
I’m sorry. Did she really say that? She did.
And my respect plummeted. This is not someone I want to be around. At all. In any capacity. Except she teaches two of the five classes I want to take each week. That leads to my dilemma. I really don’t want to take classes from her or be around her. But I like her classes. And I’m not a huge fan of my other options on those two days.
What would you do in this situation? Would you continue to go to her class, blocking out her personality and unprofessionalism, or would you find something else to do on those days?