BodyPump and Group Fitness Etiquette

A while back in this space, we talked about the Ten Commandments of Proper Gym Etiquette. While a lot of those “rules” certainly apply to the weight room, treadmills, rowing machines and tanning beds, proper etiquette should be observed in Les Mills group fitness offerings as well, whether you’re an instructor or participant.

Without further adieu, here are my Ten Commandments of Les Mills etiquette, in no particular order.

1. Thou shall not lead from the floor: Yes, we all take each other’s classes. We need to mix things up from time to time, and get in another class or two per week. But when you’re not on stage, the person who is on the stage is in charge, no matter who you are. We all make choreography blunders on stage, so if you know yours and the person on stage happens to mess up, then follow that choreography. After class, there’s a good chance the instructor will smile and laugh about it, and move on.

2. Thou shall not be a plate hog: This applies to BodyPump more than any other class, and it applies to BodyPump when you know you’re going to have a packed class, such as launches. In kindergarten, we were all taught that sharing is caring. That being said, don’t be that guy hogging all the big plates. Spread the wealth a little bit! Group fitness isn’t a competition – which leads to my next commandment.

3. Thou shall not base their workout off someone else’s: This one is simple, and clear-cut. You’re there to do your own workout, not base your workout off of someone else’s. Chances are, if you’re new to BodyPump, you’re not going to go heavy on the weights, or if you’re new to RPM, you won’t use as much resistance. Don’t think of it as a competition, focus on your own goals, and have a good time!!

4. Thou shall pick up their toys:  This annoys me as an instructor. If you’re using equipment for classes such as BodyPump, CXWorx or BodyVive, don’t leave the group fitness room looking like an unkempt bachelor pad after class. The one exception to this rule is if your BodyPump class is followed by BodyStep, I’ll tell people to leave their benchtops out. The last thing we as instructors want to do is have to clean up other people’s messes.

5. Thou shall show up on time: I have two exceptions to this rule: If you’re teaching a class in another slot and roll in a couple minutes late after your previous class is done, or if you get out of work late and have to rush over (generally a friend will set your spot up). But it’s annoying when I’m halfway through the warmup track and people lollygag into the room.

6. Thou shall not talk over the instructor:  This is easily one of the most important of the 10. If there’s a new person in class, chances are you want them to hear what the instructor is saying when introducing tracks. In BodyPump, the one move instructors should ALWAYS demonstrate is the Clean and Press, and nothing chaps my behind more than folks who are yapping, not paying attention, and wind up doing reverse curls during Phase 1 of the Clean and Press no matter how may times I coach and cue. Bottom line: Save the chatter about the Notebook, Magic Mike or your favorite Golden Girls reruns for the locker room.

7. Thou shall not take up space:  This one is a no-brainer if you ask me. While you want to have plenty of space, your neighbors have the rights to their space as well. The only class this doesn’t really apply to is RPM, where you’re riding your own bike. However, don’t leave your plates scattered about in PUMP where someone may turn an ankle doing lunges, or give yourself plenty of space in Combat or Attack so you don’t whack your neighbor with an errant kick or attack.

8. Thou shall wipe the equipment: The only class this really applies to is RPM, and it sort of ties in with my wiping the treadmills commandment previously mentioned. After class, its a safe bet your bike is going to be a tad sweaty. Do the next participant or instructor a favor and wipe it down. It will only take you 30 seconds!

9. Thou shall not whine about the tracks: Even though the fine folks at Les Mills International pick the choreography, it’s up to us as instructors to pick a mix for a certain class. Each mix serves a purpose. None of them are easy. If a shoulder track has a bunch of push-ups, don’t complain! Remember that there are options! Everyone is at a different level. Remember, we as instructors do this for you guys, so even if I say “hit the deck, 16 singles” at the end of  Track 8, think of the end result and smile! A side note, it’s OK to complain about the music, because believe me, some of it sucks! After all, we have another Adele song coming at us in BodyPump 83. Sighhhhhhh….

10. Thou shall be a team player: This applies to instructors. We all have different personalities. We have different views on certain things. Heck, our favorite sports teams may be bitter rivals. But there’s one thing we should remember: We are One Tribe, and we have one goal, and that’s changing the world one class at a time! No one instructor is more important than the other, regardless how many quarterlies we’ve been to or how many AIM’s we’ve attended. There’s no worse thing you can do as an instructor is disrespect a teammate. The best way to support each other: Take each other’s classes every now and then! Or, offer someone to team teach with you in your slot. Team teaching is one of my favorite things about instructing!

Ryan McLaughlin

About Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective with BDN readers about what's happening on the Boston professional sports scene.