Last week, I shared a picture on Instagram of my empty, post cycle class. The picture was taken after a particularly rough month-end week which meant long, late hours which makes every day a challenge to leave the office to get to class. On Thursday, I had a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” (it wasn’t that bad, I just loved that book growing up). I left work in a frenzy, raced home to change and grab myself all while yelling at myself for not having brought my bag to work. By the time I
drove road-raged my way through traffic and a full parking lot, I made it to class with a few minutes to spare. I settled into “teaching mode” and left everything going on in my life at the door.
Over the past week weeks, with my 8-5 job providing a lot of stress, teaching has provided a few of it’s own headaches. Working at a new gym trying to create those connections, I have been reminded how hard it can to start somewhere new with people who have their opinions of what a class should or shouldn’t be. The stress of trying to expand as an instructor as well as figuring out how to balance teaching with my personal life has really provided good growing pains. All of those growing pains however were accepted and appreciated on Thursday after class with one interaction with a student. After the cool down portion of class I walked to the back of the class to say goodbye and have a good night to students. The last student to walk out of the class, I got exactly what I needed. A terminally sick student who goes to class as much as possible responded back with “I did have a great night thanks to this class.” Just like that, I was reminded of exactly how much I get from being a Group Fitness Instructor.
Group Fitness Instructors (GFIs) provide students a safe, effective and fun workout routine in all types of formats. Plain and simple – I love being an instructor and teaching. Being an instructor has nothing to do with money (sadly the money is not there to make it about money) and doing it because you enjoy it. Although the job is about giving to students, I actually get so many rewards from being a GFI.
- Happiness – Getting to have a positive impact on someone’s day makes me genuinely happy. As the example above showed you, my students have a great way of giving me perspective they did not even know they were giving me. A simple thank you can turn my day around while interactions with students constantly remind me how lucky I am that teaching has worked out for me.
- Friends – I have actually made some amazing friends from teaching. There were people I really connected with during class that when I left the gym I taught them at, we still kept in touch. I have gotten to know more of my family’s friends, student’s friends and family and coworkers from classes. This is probably the one reward I constantly receive from class to class.
- Confidence – In my sophomore English class, I actually took an F for a speech because I was so terrified that failing was better than having to get up in front of the class. 10 years later, I stand in front of hundreds of people a month teaching classes. I have gained a confidence in myself that I never knew I had in me. Being confident has not only been helpful to me personally, it has really carried into my teaching. I am more willing to take risks, to try new things and be more relaxed in class because I am confident in who I am as in an instructor.
- A thicker skin – Let me tell you, teaching a class can be brutal. As mentioned in my GFI confessions, I have been yelled at, dealt with really opinionated students and had to smile while teaching a student who told me 3 mins before class they hated the format of my class. Thankfully, this has also helped me in the professional world when dealing with people. I do not let comments get to me and try to take stuff less personally. In addition, I have learned to be strong in my beliefs, knowledge and opinions in class and outside.
- Appreciation – I have gained an appreciation for an endless amount of things from teaching: an appreciation for what my body can handle, my health, fitness professionals in the industry, friends and family, my supportive husband and most importantly my students. Especially on the weekends, I find myself driving home smiling, appreciative that 2 years later I still get to do what I love week after week.
Tell me: Have you gained friends from fitness?