Author Topic: another gym issue: keeping up in class  (Read 3671 times)

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Zilla

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2013, 10:16:31 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.


I didn't know you were an athlete, how cool!  Back on topic, now that I think about it, I would have reported that Zumba instructor to the gym.  Did you do that OP?

sunnygirl

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2013, 10:19:22 AM »
I agree the first lady was very rude, but I suppose there is a difference between quietly standing at the back/to one side trying to keep up and figure out the steps, and actively getting in other people's way because you don't know what you're doing. I don't think it's ever acceptable to call someone out like that in front of everyone, but if she was causing a hazard the teacher was right to do something about it - even someone very experienced might have poor spatial awareness and create a trip hazard. But there are definitely better ways to handle it.

In the second case, honestly, I think 'must have attended 10 yoga classes before" is a fairly clear indicator it's an intermediate class intended for those with at least basic familiarity of the poses and recent experience with that particular form of yoga (because there are so many different kinds and they do differ quite a bit). Maybe not at that particular school, but certainly recent. I think if you know you're beginner-level, you should sign up for appropriate level classes.

Yvaine

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2013, 10:19:57 AM »
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.

Yeah, I'm thinking it's 10 yoga classes in a sequence of increasing difficulty, rather than 10 classes at beginner level scattered throughout one's life. But I do think that instructor dealt with it pretty well (and much better than the Zumba instructor).

Kari

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2013, 11:31:47 AM »
I'm big on group classes because they are the best at keeping me motivated. (When left to my own devices I tend to get bored and not push myself hard.) I've done Zumba for 2 years, and my class goes the same way as the OP described, but with one exception: our teacher would never single out a person for not knowing the moves. Everyone started out not knowing the routines. There are people who have been going for years who still kind of "do their own thing" and no one takes it personally. As long as you're not continuously bumping into people, you're fine. Thankfully, Zumba is so popular that if you don't like one teacher, there is probably a nicer one elsewhere in your neighborhood!

The yoga teacher was also out of line if it were a general class. If it were an intermediate or advanced class, I can see the teacher gently taking the novice student aside to suggest an easier class for safety reasons. 

Secret

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2013, 11:33:18 AM »
I have attended way more than 10 yoga classes in my lifetime, but if someone just called out the poses and expected me to follow along, I'd have to wait and see what the pose was, "Childs pose",  "Upward dog", "Striking Cobra".  I tend to get the names of the poses mixed up.  But with my gym, I never actually have to remember the names of the poses, just look at what the instructor is doing and copying them.  I kind of wonder about the instruction regarding the Yoga teacher.  A good teacher can have someone follow along even if they are new to a gym. 

What happens if OP went to 30 yoga classes at a different studio and switched over? I have a feeling she'd be just as lost.

As for Zumba teacher.  Man, that wasn't okay!

Bramble

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2013, 12:09:02 PM »
I have attended way more than 10 yoga classes in my lifetime, but if someone just called out the poses and expected me to follow along, I'd have to wait and see what the pose was, "Childs pose",  "Upward dog", "Striking Cobra".  I tend to get the names of the poses mixed up.  But with my gym, I never actually have to remember the names of the poses, just look at what the instructor is doing and copying them.  I kind of wonder about the instruction regarding the Yoga teacher.  A good teacher can have someone follow along even if they are new to a gym. 

What happens if OP went to 30 yoga classes at a different studio and switched over? I have a feeling she'd be just as lost.

I go to more than 10 yoga classes a month, and I'm always a little lost the first couple of classes I take from a new yoga instructor.  Different instructors cue the pose changes differently, and sometimes use different names. 

I probably seemed like a total newbie to an instructor recently.  Fast paced class, poses called out quickly, no real explanation, and the instructor had an accent.  Coupled with the fact that due to lack of upper body strength and flexibility I struggle with some standard poses even though I've been practicing yoga for for years.  She probably wondered just what the heck I was doing in her Level 2/3 class.  But she didn't tell me not to come back to her class, she was nothing but encouraging.  Now that I've taken a few classes from her I've got a hang of her style, and its much easier to follow along.

Anniissa

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2013, 12:13:41 PM »
I do a lot of Zumba (stumbled across a class and now may have got slightly addicted). As it can be quite fast and involves a lot of moving around in several directions, it can be potentially dangerous in a busy class to have someone who is not aware of others around them so I can see that the instructor might have a point about the other beginner but she certainly went about handling the situation in a pretty mean way. There are definitely better ways of handling it. My instructor always starts by asking if there are any newcomers and beginners to zumba and then lets them know three things - don't worry about what you look like just dance as if you are at home in your bedroom and noone can see you because everyone else will be too busy looking at her to make sure they're following the steps to laugh at others, if you can't keep up just march on the spot for a little and always make sure you're moving in the same direction as everyone else so you're not causing a hazard. If there were any issues though, these would be dealt with in a much kinder way than your zumba instructor did.

Suam461

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2013, 12:27:57 PM »
That is very rude and I can't believe an instructor would act like that! :o A fitness instructor is there to lift people up and encourage them to be healthy. Not to embarrass them.
My sister is a Zumba instructor and she always tells the class beforehand that if they can't get a certain move, just keep moving and shake your booty! Then she might work with them one on one after class if they feel they need the help.

Tea Drinker

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2013, 08:05:51 PM »
The only thing I'm sure of here is that the zumba instructor wasn't running the class well: she should have pointed new people at a safe place at the beginning of the class, not waited until halfway through. The poster tried to be out of the way, not knowing that the back of the room would suddenly become the front.

The gym I go to has signs outside the room they use for the spin classes, saying that if you're new to this exercise talk to the instructor before the class starts and they'll help you get set up. Based on that, I would expect to at least be pointed to a safe corner if I did the equivalent with zumba.

The other thing that occurs to me is that many gyms don't have multiple levels of something: rather than "beginning yoga" and "advanced yoga," they might have two different styles (even if vinyasa is more or less advanced than hatha yoga, a novice is unlikely to know that). For something like zumba, my gym gives instructor names, and no other distinction except time, so where is a novice supposed to start?
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Onyx_TKD

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2013, 09:20:24 PM »
The only thing I'm sure of here is that the zumba instructor wasn't running the class well: she should have pointed new people at a safe place at the beginning of the class, not waited until halfway through. The poster tried to be out of the way, not knowing that the back of the room would suddenly become the front.

That's one of the things that jumps out to me. The beginner chose a spot in the back. It seems like a good choice. From there, she could watch both the instructor and more experienced students, plus she wouldn't be leading anyone behind her astray if she did a move wrong. During the early portions of the class when she was in the back, the instructor apparently did not see any problem. That suggests that either the woman was able to follow along well enough from the back of the room, or the instructor was not keeping an eye on what the students were doing and just assuming everyone was following.* Then, the instructor had everyone turn around, putting the hapless beginner right at the front of the group and then publicly berated her for messing up? The OP's phrasing that the instructor "came up to" the new student implies to me that the instructor had remained at the original front of the room, so she was behind the students. If so, then the beginner had no one in front of her to follow along with. She might have been able to see the instructor in the mirror (if there was one), but it's very easy to get mixed up when trying to follow along with unfamiliar moves based on a mirror image. That doesn't sound like a very well-run class to me.

I've been in classes where the instructor either had everyone turn around or had the rows switch places, so that people who were in the back would be in the front. However, they always did so to make sure that everyone had equal chance for a clear view of the instructor, to make sure that the instructor saw how everyone was doing, and/or to check that problems with moves/choreography weren't being masked by following other students. If people struggled without having someone in front to follow, they were helped, not scolded.

*Was the zumba class done in a room with mirrors? I've never done zumba myself, but it seems like the type of activity that would be done in a mirrored room if one was available, so that the instructor could monitor if the class was getting it and so the students could see themselves in the mirror to check that they're getting the moves right.

Dorrie78

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2013, 10:22:23 PM »
The only thing I'm sure of here is that the zumba instructor wasn't running the class well: she should have pointed new people at a safe place at the beginning of the class, not waited until halfway through. The poster tried to be out of the way, not knowing that the back of the room would suddenly become the front.

That's one of the things that jumps out to me. The beginner chose a spot in the back. It seems like a good choice. From there, she could watch both the instructor and more experienced students, plus she wouldn't be leading anyone behind her astray if she did a move wrong. During the early portions of the class when she was in the back, the instructor apparently did not see any problem. That suggests that either the woman was able to follow along well enough from the back of the room, or the instructor was not keeping an eye on what the students were doing and just assuming everyone was following.* Then, the instructor had everyone turn around, putting the hapless beginner right at the front of the group and then publicly berated her for messing up? The OP's phrasing that the instructor "came up to" the new student implies to me that the instructor had remained at the original front of the room, so she was behind the students. If so, then the beginner had no one in front of her to follow along with. She might have been able to see the instructor in the mirror (if there was one), but it's very easy to get mixed up when trying to follow along with unfamiliar moves based on a mirror image. That doesn't sound like a very well-run class to me.

I've been in classes where the instructor either had everyone turn around or had the rows switch places, so that people who were in the back would be in the front. However, they always did so to make sure that everyone had equal chance for a clear view of the instructor, to make sure that the instructor saw how everyone was doing, and/or to check that problems with moves/choreography weren't being masked by following other students. If people struggled without having someone in front to follow, they were helped, not scolded.

*Was the zumba class done in a room with mirrors? I've never done zumba myself, but it seems like the type of activity that would be done in a mirrored room if one was available, so that the instructor could monitor if the class was getting it and so the students could see themselves in the mirror to check that they're getting the moves right.
I'm very thankful that my Zumba instructor has the students put their backs to the mirror. She has made it clear that the most important thing is to keep moving and does not want us to get distracted by looking in a mirror and watching ourselves. I'm pretty sure that I don't want to watch myself trying to shake my booty in a mirror.

Raintree

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2013, 10:49:17 PM »
I think both instructors were very rude. I think it's perfectly appropriate to say, "I think it would be a good idea to take the beginner class first" or something to that effect, but the way she said it sounded kind of like, "You suck, how dare you come in here?" I'd be pretty miffed; people try classes all the time to find out what level they are at, and move up or down accordingly.

I was even miffed at the mild snarky tone some aerobics instructor at the Y used with me when she told me to "pick up a pair of weights, a swiss ball, and a Mystery Widget."  I didn't know what a Mystery Widget was and since I was the first to arrive in class, there was nobody else to take my cue from. Oh and it was a drop-in class, so it was perfectly for me to be there for the first time. But she was all snarky when she told me what a Mystery Widget was, as though I was an idiot for not knowing My inner thought was, "OK, some of us have lives and other fitness activities outside of aerobics and don't know every piece of gym gadget by name, so what?"

sunnygirl

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2013, 08:54:55 AM »
The thing with the Zumba class dancer though is that none of us (including the OP) have any idea what she was doing to cause the teacher to scold her for being a trip hazard. It's possible she was messing around or infringing in other people's personal space in such a way as to represent a danger.

I do think the teacher was rude. But I think without knowing the circumstances, it's difficult really to judge.

Softly Spoken

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2013, 11:20:32 PM »
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.

 :o As a licensed Zumba instructor I am mortified on behalf of my colleague! :-[ I have learned over the years that Zumba classes are very instructor specific. I love Zumba but there are some instructors whose classes I would never take; not because they are bad but because they are...just stylistically different. Different energy. Different intensity. Different music. Though Zumba is not supposed to have different experience levels, you may walk into certain classes and get a very "Beginner" or "Advanced" vibe.

Though each instructor has their own style, IMHO some things in class should be a given. If there are new people and/or a new dance, the instructor should give an intro. They should always give adequate visual and verbal cues to help people learn the choreography. They should show alternative movement options to some of the more difficult steps.

Zumba is supposed to be a dance party. That's our dingitydang MOTTO for crying out loud - "Ditch the workout, join the party." No one "scolds" people at a party! >:( If a person is "doing their own thing," (which I have actually heard instructors encourage) I don't think it needs to be discouraged as long as their improvisation does not bring them into other people's space. I for one always took great joy in seeing one woman in a class who always "did her own thing" - it was quite creative and entertaining. :D

I have a hard time believing that someone, especially someone in the back, would distract others. Why? Well, as I tell anyone who is self conscious and worrying that everyone will be staring at them: "No one is going to be looking at you - they will all be looking at me so they can keep up, or if they look anywhere it will be at themselves to make sure they're doing it okay." ;D

When I was first learning, I will admit to watching the students who stood closest to the teacher - they usually were veterans so if I lost sight of the teacher I could go off of them! Otherwise I was never "distracted" by any of my classmates. Just inspired and entertained.

If a student was really flailing, I might yell some general direction like "Watch your spacing, be careful of your neighbor" and hope that brought them back on track. Or as mentioned above I would remind people to just march or keep it low key when they felt lost.

Berating a student, publicly or privately, is unacceptable. You might try and tactfully suggest they explore a different class, but a good instructor realizes it's ultimately the student's time and money and treats them accordingly. Which IMHO means either giving them instruction and helping them succeed or giving them space and leaving them to their own devices.

PS: I hope your experience didn't sour you on Zumba OP!  :-\ And I hope any instructors or aspiring instructors who read this realize how such rude behavior can be "professional darwinism."
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GlassHalfFull

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Re: another gym issue: keeping up in class
« Reply #29 on: February 23, 2013, 02:14:05 PM »
Regarding your Zumba experience, as another fitness instructor, (Jazzercise), I have to agree with much that the instructor above wrote.  When I'm teaching and I see problems with form, I cue corrections in a general way rather than single out an individual.  And if it continues, and particularly if it is an issue that could cause injury to that person or others, I'll show, generally, what not to do vs. what to do.  That usually does the trick.  If not, I'd figure out a way to approach the person afterwards and give them tips, but it's never come to that.  I do speak with students after class and been asked for tips by them, though, which works great for everyone.  Nobody should be berated or called out publicly like the person in your class, and new people shouldn't be segregated in such a rude manner.  These classes are supposed to be fun and for all fitness and ability levels.  Everyone has to start somewhere!

On yoga, I think that instructor was much better in that she spoke with you after class, and agree with those that indicated the 10 classe prereq likely meant 10 recent classes, not 10 classes ever.  Though I think she could have said her piece a bit differently "I think a beginners class might work better for you right now", that whole scenario doesn't rub me the wrong way like scenario #1 does.