This entire day following the Les Mills Super Quarterly has been, for me, as emotionally intense as the day was physically intense!! It’s like a “hangover” that’s taken me all day to work through. While muscles I forgot I had are reminding me of yesterday’s workouts, I’m also being reminded of WHY I do what I do.
As a group fitness manager I hear LOTS of feedback and opinions, sometimes it’s put nicely and others times, well…not so much. There are just so many emotions tied to group fitness. A class is often the best part of someone’s day, their only “me time” in this fast paced world. That’s what makes it such a personal thing.
I remember when I announced the closing of my studio over a year ago, several clients told me they cried and felt depressed for days upon hearing the news, (which seemed ridiculous to their husbands.) It’s no different now in my “new” position, when a class time or format gets changed due to any plethora of reasons, people react in ways that seem unfitting for the situation. But I understand that it IS totally fitting, even if I don’t enjoy taking the brunt of these emotions. Heck sometimes I’m the one who gets emotional!! It’s pure madness but it’s beautiful.
While my job can feel impossible and thankless at times, that’s also the reason I do it. Because I know how important it is and I believe in it. Group fitness classes are SO much more than workouts. Group fitness instructors are so much more than part time employees. What you see on the surface is just the peak of the iceberg. Going to a quarterly means spending an entire day with people who “get it” and that is an invaluable experience. Spending time with your tribe helps make you whole again!!!
One of the best parts of yesterday’s event was sharing the experience with my fiancé, who I don’t think had ever attended a group fitness class before meeting me. Nick now teaches both BODYPUMP and GRIT and draws a huge part of his identity and purpose from being an instructor.
When I was participating in my 5th class of the day which also happens to be my favorite class to teach (BODYCOMBAT), he was watching and he commented afterwards… “Wow honey, you were going all out!”… which I SO was. I was in the zone, pouring my entire heart and soul into that class. I thought to myself, how cool it was that I got to have the man I’m marrying witness me in my element doing what I’m most passionate about?!
Being a participant again yesterday reminded me of what I already knew…
We don’t just lead workouts, we inspire positive life changes for which classes are a catalyst.
We don’t just teach routines, we empower people to be better versions of themselves.
We don’t simply push play and go into “robot mode”, we connect and motivate and push.
We don’t just help people build muscle, we help people build self esteem.
We just just show people how to perform a movement, we show them what they are capable of.
We don’t do classes because we hate our bodies, we do class because we LOVE our bodies!!
We don’t just tell people to lift their chests as they squat, we get to see them lift their heads up higher as they leave the studio.
We don’t just show up to teach and collect a paycheck, we are constantly growing and becoming better versions of ourselves.
I don’t just manage schedules, I facilitate gatherings where lifelong friendships are formed.
I don’t just lead a group of instructors, I share a passion and a special connection with like minded individuals, no matter what our other differences might be.
It’s all worth it. The sweat, the time, the stress, the soreness, the money, and the emotions. As an educated fitness professional I’m well aware that if all you want to do is change your body, then exercise is only maybe 20% of the equation (Nutrition being the other 80%.) So this isn’t just about burning calories or achieving a “bikini body”. It’s a mindset and an attitude. It’s about changing lives and THAT’S what group fitness does. In so many ways.
I know my purpose. It hasn’t changed in 10 years and it’s only getting bigger.