gails blog

Members misbehaving in-group exercise classes. Are you that person?


Top four misbehaving issues…

Joining a gym, participating in class or just attending a master class can be intimidating to anyone.  Remember that you are entering a room setting containing many different personalities.  There are people who are unknown to you and there are people attending their 1st group exercise class.

Why members misbehave…

Members do not misbehave purposefully.  They misbehave because people are inherently territorial in nature.  You  – - – as members  – - – have to learn to play nice, and to share.

Biggest Members issues.

1-Class Space

Members think they own real estate space, or bikes. You don’t!

When joining a gym, your contract does not include a specific workout spot or a particular bike. We  – - – as instructors – - – do understand that many of you are comfortable, or feel more comfortable in a particular space in the studio.  WE are happy when you get that space you like best  However, you must understand that it is not a guarantee that every time you take a class that particular place will be available to you.  It may be someone else’s favorite space as well.


Try to understand that the collective energy of all the members sets the tone of the class for the instructor. We the instructors hate starting classes with negativity in the air. It changes the tone of the class, and the workout we had prepared for your enjoyment. So take a deep breath, and realize that we are here to help you get a great workout.  But please – - – if you don’t get your favorite spot  – - – for what ever reason – - -, again, take that deep breath and just be grateful that you are healthy, and you were able to attend the class to accomplish your goals.

2-Personal space.

Yes, we have members who may stand a bit too close to you, and maybe that makes you feel uncomfortable. Yep, they are invading your personal space. It can annoy you especially if they are wearing strong body perfumes, or have strong body odors.

We are all aware that some members will purposely stand too close to you in order to move you out of your spot.  Again, see above about real estate on the floor.   Yes, it is VERY rude! But don’t get into a fight either physically, or by yelling at each other. It is not worth it. Let your instructors handle the situation.


Bring it to the instructor’s attention right away that the class may be too over crowded and

- Ask the instructor to ask the members to take a step back, or a step forward

- Ask the instructor to arrange the members/space safely so you can have a more efficient workout

- Or express your concerns after class to your instructor, so for the next week class, she/he can address the situation.

3- Your Favorite Instructors

When you find a GREAT instructor, it is fine to love, love, love, them, and to follow them to the ends of the earth. But, when your favorite instructor subs out their classes, be kind to the sub.  It is not cool to get very upset with the replacement, and leave the studio/class. Not giving the sub instructor an opportunity to show what they can bring to the table with their skills, and talent. It is not nice, and is a mistake on your part.   Like “Forest Gump” said: you will never know what you get …………. Unless you try it. As members please understand the hard work that we instructors put into designing our classes – - – from the choreography, to the music, to the coaching, to the researching new workouts, the thousands of dollars spent on certifications, or coming up with new, safe and effective ideas. It takes long hours and a lot of hard work to come in prepared to give you 150% and, to make sure you walk out of the class happy and satisfied. With that said…So – - – no it is not okay to ask the instructors to let you know in advance when they will be away; it creates bad blood among instructors. We as instructors don’t own the classes. The company is paying us to do a service for their members. The company can replace us anytime if they see friction among the team or management. The instructors making announcements in classes about there personal schedule, and their getting subs for classes creates friction and therefore creates a company issue. After all, we do know how large the classes normally are.  So – - – when we sub for someone, and it is normally a very large class, and we show up to cover and see five members, – - – we take it personally.  IT’S NOT COOL!


Always appreciate your favorite instructors, especially when they are out sick, on vacation, or emergencies come up unexpectedly. But also give the sub a chance. After all they may surprise you and in the end you may have another favorite instructor, or another class you can attend, to mix things up to meet your personal goals quickly. Remember, you joined the gym to workout and to meet those goals.  Bad class, or Great class, you can always get a workout in.  It is the experience you are looking for to encourage you that keeps you coming back. As Instructors, TRUST ME we get it! Consider your sub for that ONE-HOUR. That’s all it is, one hour. Get your workout in.  You have your own personal goals to accomplish. Funny, it may be your best workout ever! Give that sub a shot, and DON’T GET CAUGHT UP with the HYPE. If you should have any feedback about the sub, keep it to yourself; do not gossip with fellow members. Direct the feedback to the Group Ex manager, NOT the permanent instructors when they get back. It will make your permanent instructor feel very uncomfortable.

Note: If you absolutely hated the sub instructor, do not tell them “Great Class” when exiting studio. Just say “Thank You” and leave. By telling the sub “Great Class”, when you eventually give the group director your honest opinion of the class, it will be very hard for the director to now give the sub instructor constructive feedback. You left them thinking “They did a great Class”

4- Class Sign-up Policies.

No class policies works efficiently that “YOU” the members will agree its perfect. Everyone HATES sign up policies including us the instructors. However, we implement these policies to control order to classes. We do our best to make sure we are catering to the VAST majority of the members. Every company will make that final decision that will work best for their facility.  Policies are implemented to create the least amount of stress for everyone involved. Policies are implemented because members are “Misbehaving”


There is none. Take deep breaths, and adjust. Everyone is feeling the same way you are feeling….you are not alone. Remember the policies are in place to remove 75% of the crazy lines. NOT 100%.  We can never please everyone.

Hope this helps you have a better workout class experience.

Good Luck, and with these things in mind, I am sure you will all meet your workout goals.

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