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Inner Thoughts Journey of a Group Fitness Instructor

Updated on May 16, 2019
Katy Phun profile image

Katy has been a committed RPM instructor for about 3 years now.



It was almost that time of the week again, a scheduled group fitness class. As a group fitness instructor, it was time for her to be in her best shape and to give her best to help with her members’ workouts. Pragmatically put, it was time for her to perform and earn her paycheck. However, as she dug deeper, she was made aware that she would be expected to perform as per the expectation of the fitness program, the expectation of the gymnasium, the expectation of her members, and most of all, the expectation from herself. The last was always the hardest to fulfill, or perhaps it would almost be unattainable most of the time.

Of Perspective

Being a group fitness instructor is certainly not an easy gig. From the perspective of an outsider or even an instructor herself before she decided on this path, it is easy to be misguided by the perceived perks of being a fitness instructor. For instance, “how difficult could it be when one just needs to know how to motivate mostly!” the public clamored. On a more positive note, the perks might include “it is a good thing to be able to turn one’s passion into a career”, “it is a happy job”, or “there is great satisfaction in helping others to achieve their fitness goals”. Amid these benefits, there are only little thoughts given to the pillars that are essential in lifting up those perks.

Prevailing Inner Thoughts

After being a group fitness instructor for about 3 years now, the following inner thoughts have somewhat managed to prevail themselves before each class up till today.

1. Am I physically fit enough to conduct the whole class?

As a fitness instructor, I have committed to a certain time slots to be in my best physical form. Most of all, it will not be for personal gain, but to lift up the others who have also committed to attend my class. As such, getting enough sleep, eating cautiously, and staying hydrated would be “extra” key a day before a class as well as on the day of the class itself. While these are some general good habits to have, the “extra” is what makes all the difference.

2. Would my music selection make sense?

Music selection is key for group fitness programs that require the instructor to “partner” with the music while coaching. The cycle of thoughts here could range from “is my music selection upbeat enough to lift up the energy of the entire class?” to “is there a balance to the intensity level of each chosen track?” or vice versa. It would be impossible to please everyone in the class with the choice of music as each individual’s taste of music could vary tremendously. Notwithstanding this, the music selection should have at least satisfied my thoughts herein. Having sorted out the music selection, the next big question would be “will my state of mind be able to keep up with the music selection during the class itself?” This would then lead to the next inner thought: State of Mind.

3. State of Mind – am I mentally prepared to perform?

Above all else, could my state of mind be fit to draw out the essence of the program that I am teaching? Mind over matter would lead to a successful class most of the time; regardless of how the body feels. Sometimes, preparing for the right state of mind could also mean to recover from previous unfavorable coaching moments.


When Imperfection Hits

Ideally, should the above 3 inner thoughts are sorted, there would not be a problem in attracting and retaining members. However, when imperfection is tainting, ideal shall cease to exist. The inner thoughts could then build up further to include “how can I improve my performance in order to draw more crowd to my class?”, “how can I lift up the energy in the class when there are so few members to share energy with?”, “will there finally be enough members to attend my class this time around when I have got all three inner thoughts sorted out?” etc. Being a group fitness instructor demands physical and emotional wellness. Notwithstanding this, it is also fascinating when one learns about the possible infinite amount of incidents needed to conspire just to materialize a 1-hour group fitness class.


About 15 more minutes to go before her class began. She approved her physical form and her music selection. However, something was still lacking regarding her state of mind. “Come on, just let me recall a motivational moment or capture one right here,” she thought. As she approached the cycling studio, she saw that her members were all gearing up and getting ready to rock the class. “Boom!” Just like that, she got into the state of mind where she needed to be. She was ready to take over the stage with them.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Katy Phun


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