Author Topic: another gym issue: keeping up in class  (Read 3597 times)

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Emmy

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another gym issue: keeping up in class
« on: February 18, 2013, 08:26:21 PM »
One day I decided to attend a Zumba class on a Saturday morning.  I stood in the back of the class because I knew it likely involved some dance moves I wasn't familiar with and it seemed better to watch from the back.  Although I am not a natural dancer, a lot of the moves were easy to catch on although many of them took a little practice.  The instructor then had the class turn to the sides and the back of the room, so now I was in the front of the room which was unnerving and annoying for me.  During the class, there was another woman in the back who apparently did not know what she was doing.  I wasn't paying attention to her and didn't see what was going on.  The instructor came up to her and with the mic still on, basically scolded her for doing her own thing (I wasn't sure whether she was doing her own thing or unsuccessfully trying to follow the class).  She didn't yell, but her manner was brusque and said something along the lines of "You are doing your own thing over here.  It may create a tripping hazard for somebody else in the class and you are messing other people up".  She then directed all the new people to a corner so we 'don't mess everybody else up'.  I never went back to the class because I found her manner very off putting.  I could see her wanting to make sure everybody was safe, but calling somebody out in class in the manner she did felt very rude.   

At a different gym, I had attended a few beginner yoga classes with instructor A.  I had a day off work and decided to try a new class with instructor B.  The description for the class with instructor B said the participant had to attend 10 yoga classes prior to participating in that class.  I figure I had attended about 10 yoga classes in my life time.  So I went to the class and sat near the wall and toward the back of the class.  Instructor B started calling out all these poses that I had no idea what they were (she didn't explain) and I tried to follow the best I could.  At the end of class, she asked if I ever took a yoga class before (I guess because I was just so terrible at it in her eyes) and basically said I was messing people up (although I was in the back of the room and off to the side) and not to come back in a polite way.  At least she waited until the class was dismissed before making me feel an inch tall.  Although she the hurtful things politely, it was still very offputting to me and I just told her I had taken a few yoga classes, but didn't know the names and exact positions of all the poses and that I won't come back.  Fortunately, since that experience most of the yoga instructors have been a lot better and actually explain the moves (and I've never been told not to come back to class).

I find the telling somebody they are 'messing people up' in a situation like that is very rude.  Both these instructors seemed annoyed that there were people in the class who couldn't do everything perfectly which I find very off putting.  Is it rude to stay in a class like aerobics, yoga, or zumba if you don't know all the moves or find it hard to keep up? 

Adelaide

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 08:43:37 PM »
I'd say that their logic is flawed. If they're calling you inexperienced/a beginner then how could you be "messing up" veterans who supposedly know what they're doing?

However, I will say that it depends on the class you're doing, and if there are levels. Here we have beginning, intermediate, and advanced yoga classes. I would say that it'd be rude for me to frequent the advanced yoga class because the teacher would have to spend time and energy making sure I didn't hurt myself. But Zumba, where there's only one level (I think)? No. Unless you're flailing around, creating a risk, unwilling to learn/participate properly, or hitting people I don't see how it's rude.

 For an example of refusal to learn or participate, my Krav Maga class has a girl who will NOT do as she's told. She refused to attack anyone with any strength and as a result, the people who are partnered with her are at a disadvantage. They don't learn the moves properly and aren't prepared for realistic situations. Similarly, she cries foul to the instructor when anyone attacks her "too hard". She hasn't been booted from the class yet but I anticipate that it's coming.

Miss Understood

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 08:59:56 PM »
Emmy, I feel your pain.   :)  I am one of the least-coordinated persons on the planet.  On several occasions I have tried to take up aerobics or step classes, only to find that while I can keep up with the activity, I cannot follow the choreography.  I do think that at the point where the klutzy person (i.e., me) is actually bumping into people by going the wrong way, it's time for klutzy person to reevaluate her ability to participate in the class without disrupting others.  But it doesn't sound like that was your case - you didn't necessarily get all the moves but you were not actually getting in others' way.  I think the instructor in your first case was rude.

In your second case, I am surprised by the instructor's attitude, as the yoga classes I have attended have been led by extremely supportive, encouraging instructors who understand that it's an exercise form (at least at the beginning level) that is pursued by all kinds of people, including people like me who are not all that coordinated.  It's one of the few organized exercise experiences I have felt comfortable with (one of the others being Curves, but my neighborhood's location shut down).  I think that instructor was an anomaly and actually antithetical to the yoga philosophy.  I'm glad you didn't let her stop you from continuing.

girlysprite

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 09:13:53 PM »
Is it rude to stay in a class like aerobics, yoga, or zumba if you don't know all the moves or find it hard to keep up?
em, how else would you learn these things? If you participate on a wrong level, the teacher can explain in private "I think that this is too advanced for you, and you may learn more from a beginners class. What do you think?"

guihong

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 09:28:41 PM »
I do Zumba, and the instructor always says that if a move is too complex, or hard on knees, etc., to march in place.  You're still getting a workout, and modifying any of the moves for our needs is encouraged.

I'd think twice about going back to such a gym as in the OP.



siamesecat2965

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 09:36:40 PM »
I do Zumba, and the instructor always says that if a move is too complex, or hard on knees, etc., to march in place.  You're still getting a workout, and modifying any of the moves for our needs is encouraged.

I'd think twice about going back to such a gym as in the OP.

I am also queen of the uncoordinated and un-graceful, and have also taken a variety of classes over the years, regular aerobic, step, kickboxing, etc. My issue, esp in classes where you need to something separate with your arms and legs at the same time, is that I get confused. My brain won't let me do both at once, so, say for example, in step class, I would simply do the legs, while letting my arms hang. If its a class I'm not familiar with, I will hide in the back so as not to get in anyone's way, if i can help it.

But any instructor has always said ,no matter what type of class, do what you can, and if you can't either march in place, or do continue with something else you are able to do.

I'd also be quite put off if I were basically told I stunk and don't come back to class. Not everyone in every class can do what the instructor and some of the other class members can. there will always be some who are good, and some who are just learning, or maybe can't quite do it all. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be there, and the instructor shouldn't single them out.

ilrag

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 10:00:00 PM »
I've never been to zumba so I can't speak to that class, but for the yoga I think maybe the teacher had a point.

While it could have been stated more clearly the "10 classes" clause was short hand for "no absolute beginners". I'd assume so that she didn't have to spend time explaining how to get into each pose. I've never been to a gym that didn't have different levels of classes when ever possible, and it's on the participant to know where they fit.

Surianne

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2013, 10:11:11 PM »
I think with the yoga, I'd assume 10 classes meant 10 recent classes at the same gym -- so in other words, intermediate level where you knew all the poses.  So I can understand the instructor letting you know it wasn't the class for you, though it sounds like she may have been more harsh than necessary. 

Similarly with Zumba, it sounds like the other student was getting in the way.  That can be dangerous.  I've had beginners in my kickboxing class before and gotten slapped in the face, because they didn't understand the moves or have a concept of their own space.  It was very frustrating.

I think it's very important for gym class instructors to be welcoming in the beginner classes, but once you get to the intermediate classes, their job is to protect the other students: their time (in not having the instructor's time taken up by explaining moves to newbies) as well as their physical bodies. 

KenveeB

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 10:21:08 PM »
I don't think the instructor did anything wrong in the second scenario. It was being billed as an intermediate class with pre-knowledge required. If you take a course without meeting the pre-requirements for it, then you're not going to be able to keep up with the class and it will affect the people around you. If nothing else, the instructor has to spend more time teaching you the basics, when the whole point of more advanced classes is to allow the class to do more without having to cover the basics. Since you said the instructor said it politely, I say she was in the right in that situation. In the future, if you aren't sure if you meet the prerequisites for a class, ask.

The Zumba instructor sounds really mean, though. I wouldn't want to go back to that class either!

sweetonsno

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 10:37:47 PM »
In the first scenario, I think the instructor's delivery left something to be desired. Okay, no. It left a lot to be desired. However, I don't think the central message (that if you're really new to the class, you should make sure you aren't in the line of fire) is off at all. I've been stepped on, pushed, and even kicked in group fitness classes by people who were really new and who didn't have practice maintaining a safety bubble. You say that you weren't watching and didn't see what had happened. Maybe she smacked someone in the face or tripped them because she was off-tempo.

I think the better way to handle it would be to find out who is very new at the start of class and direct them to an area near the instructor. That way, she can keep an eye on them and offer additional help if necessary. If someone slipped in late or she realized that a student was doing something dangerous later on, she should have removed her mic before correcting her.

In the yoga class, I can't say that I disagree with the instructor. You were in the wrong class for your level. It doesn't mean you are a bad person, it just means that your needs aren't going to be met by the class. It also means that if the instructor caters to your needs, she'll be failing to meet the needs of everyone else in the class.

To answer your closing question: whether you are rude or not depends on how you are affecting others. If you are regularly stepping on other people's feet or accidentally popping them, or the instructor needs to interrupt class to show you how to do things every five minutes, you're being disruptive and should probably pick a lower-level class or go at a time when it isn't too busy so you can get the hang of it.

elseleta

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 01:03:48 AM »
I find the telling somebody they are 'messing people up' in a situation like that is very rude.  Both these instructors seemed annoyed that there were people in the class who couldn't do everything perfectly which I find very off putting.  Is it rude to stay in a class like aerobics, yoga, or zumba if you don't know all the moves or find it hard to keep up?

In a gym setting, it is NOT rude to tell someone when they are messing something up. It's a very serious necessity, for safety. I worked at a gym for years and I would have been fired for not correcting a member on something. The key thing though, is tact. I never went up and told a member she was bad at something and made a huge huff, I was polite and discreet and friendly. We were trained on how to approach and correct members in the most effective and encouraging way.

For these instructors, since it doesn't seem you were actually creating a safety hazard, they were rude in how they approached you. It would have been better for them to pull you aside in private after class and calmly discuss the issue in a succinct but helpful/meaningful way.

As far as your closing question, it's not really rude if you're conducting yourself in a good manner (not cussing or complaining loudly about how hard it is, etc). However, for example, if you haven't recently done Yoga, it's not a good idea to go into a higher tier yoga class. Take a class or two at a lower level so you have some fresher experience, and chat with the teacher before class to get an idea of what will be happening in the higher-level class. Chat it up with other members and make some acquaintances - get their opinion on the classes. Decide if you could do it or not. Gym classes are a group activity and a great way to share time with people with your interests and expertise. :)

Bramble

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2013, 01:09:29 AM »
For yoga, I think it depends a little bit on the philosophy of the teacher, and the style of yoga.   I took yoga classes regularly from an instructor who advertised her class as "all-levels".  And it was in the fact that in general just about anybody could do most of the poses, but just about everybody who took her class the first time was a little lost, as it was a fast-paced flow class, to do everything would definitely put in on the intermediate-advanced level.  But she always emphasized to people to just do what they could do, and to take a break in child's pose when they needed one.  Some people took one class and never came back, but if you kept up with it for a month or so you started to pick things up, and getting into the groove of it, and the only limitations were poses you just couldn't physically do.  I could occasionally tell when we had new people in class as she'd explain some of the poses a little more than usual, but I never felt that took away from the overall class.

I will note that just about every yoga instructor I've had makes a point to try and suss out the experience level of any new students before class, so both sides know what to expect.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 01:24:29 AM by Bramble »

Emmy

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2013, 08:57:46 AM »
I don't think the instructor did anything wrong in the second scenario. It was being billed as an intermediate class with pre-knowledge required. If you take a course without meeting the pre-requirements for it, then you're not going to be able to keep up with the class and it will affect the people around you. If nothing else, the instructor has to spend more time teaching you the basics, when the whole point of more advanced classes is to allow the class to do more without having to cover the basics. Since you said the instructor said it politely, I say she was in the right in that situation. In the future, if you aren't sure if you meet the prerequisites for a class, ask.

The Zumba instructor sounds really mean, though. I wouldn't want to go back to that class either!

The yoga instructor didn't explain anything to me during class, she just came and talked to me after class so she wasn't wasting everybody else's time on me.  She also didn't see if there was anybody new in class and offer a brief intro as many instructors do.  I don't think the description of the class was very accurate, the requirement was 'having taken 10 yoga classes' and not actually billed as 'intermediate', it should have also stated that participants 'be familiar with yoga poses'.  I had a little experience with yoga (about 10 classes over my lifetime at that point) and didn't realize that she would call out poses without giving an explanation of them.  Maybe I should have erred on the side of caution and not taken the class since I barely qualified, but the description of the class wasn't that accurate to me.  I wouldn't deliberately take a class I wasn't qualified to take because I personally don't enjoy being lost in class and probably should have asked, but hindsight is 20/20.  While I was in class, I decided to stick it out and follow the instructor as best as possible rather than gathering my stuff and leaving in the middle of class (which may also be rude and disruptive in the small class).  I don't think the instructors manner was impolite, but hearing I was messing others up and not to come back was hurtful and seemed like she was making it about me instead of saying the class wasn't a good fit and the other participants had been attending for a while and knew the poses.  I may be oversensitive, but it is never fun to get the vibe of 'you suck, go away', even if it is said politely.

The Zumba instructor did not make an introduction to new people.  As I stated in the OP, I didn't see the woman she called out.  If the woman was doing her own thing (as opposed to simply not being able to keep up), I would think that was rather rude to do in a group setting.  Either way, I think the instructor should have called her out if it was a safety issue and said something helpful like telling her to march in place and be careful of those around her instead of just scolding her and telling her she was messing people up.  I was really surprised that woman stayed in class and didn't just get her things and march out.

Most instructors in classes I take ask if there are new people and give them a brief introduction and tell them to march in place/go in child's pose if they can't keep up with the class. 

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I am also queen of the uncoordinated and un-graceful, and have also taken a variety of classes over the years, regular aerobic, step, kickboxing, etc. My issue, esp in classes where you need to something separate with your arms and legs at the same time, is that I get confused. My brain won't let me do both at once, so, say for example, in step class, I would simply do the legs, while letting my arms hang. If its a class I'm not familiar with, I will hide in the back so as not to get in anyone's way, if i can help it.

I am the same way.  Anything highly choreographed is hard for me to get the hang of.  I just look at those step classes with them stepping on the bench forward, turning around, and moving their arms at the same time and my brain gets confused.  The few times I have tried it, I find myself trying to think myself through the moves and of course falling way behind the class.  With kickboxing drills, if I practice a few times I will tend to catch on, but step is way too choreographed for me and doesn't click with me even after several times of doing the move.

Zilla

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 09:33:10 AM »
Being that Zumba is fast paced and alot of movement, I can see why she directed the people to a corner but she should have done so in the beginning of class and not singled them out.  That was incredibly rude and offputting.  Not to mention, embarrassing.


For the second class, I think you were wrong to attend the class.  When it said attended at least 10 yoga classes, I would take it to assume 10 beginning yoga classes at that location.  I wouldn't apply that logic to my whole life.  And I do like that she approached you privately and didn't make a spectacle of you as the Zumba instructor did of others. 

TurtleDove

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2013, 10:03:55 AM »
I may be oversensitive, but it is never fun to get the vibe of 'you suck, go away', even if it is said politely.


It sounds like the Zumba instructor could have handled the situation better, but I don't think her message was wrong.  I think the yoga instructor handled the situation very well.  I think you are a bit oversensitive.  I understand that you got the vibe of "you suck, go away" but I don't know that is really what was said or meant to be conveyed by the instructors.  They are not telling you that you suck in a general sense, but rather that you are not a good fit for that particular class.  You agree with this idea, as far as I can tell.

I am somewhat of a seasoned athlete, and I recently started CrossFit classes.  Like everyone, I took baseline tests to determine where I fell on the continuum: Novice, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Elite.  I fell into the Intermediate category for some things and Advanced for others and was told that I should stick to Beginner or Intermediate classes until I tested into Advanced/Elite for everything.   Now, if I were to show up for an Advanced class, chances are they would tell me I could not work out at that class.  This would not be them telling me "you suck, go away."  This would be them telling me "you are not ready for this class." The chances that I would get hurt or negatively impact the workouts of the other people would be high.  It is not personal, it is fact.

Again, I think the Zumba instructor handled it poorly, but try not to take either her actions or the yoga instructors actions as a personal slam against you.  It is just a fact: you were not prepared to take the class.