Kelly the Culinarian: Training Tuesday: On Walking Out

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Training Tuesday: On Walking Out

I like to think of myself as a fairly civilized person with passable manners. I usually chew with my mouth closed, manage not to curse in front of children and incorporate please and thank you into my vocabulary regularly. I even clean up well and know what black-tie apparel means.
Evidence of cleaning up well

This week, I did something unprecedented. I got up and left a fitness class at the gym.

I hate that I did this because while I try to be welcoming and inclusive at my big box gym (we were all newbies once), I totally give the side eye to people who are late to class by a huge margin. When they're late to spin, the instructor has to hop off the bike and help them set up their bike, etc., and it's just plain distracting. Plus, they're not warmed up and could hurt themselves when they hop into an interval set 15 minutes into class.

But I did it. I left early because the class was so horrifically bad I couldn't take it anymore.

I've taken spin from this instructor once before and did not care for it. I figured I'd go to the class and do my own thing if warranted (is that rude, too?).

Here are my grievances:

  • The music is way too loud. It reverberates in the tiny studio. No joke, the woman in the front row wore earplugs.
  • The instructor yells into the microphone in a nonsensical manner. Tim said he sounded like the Tasmanian devil, because the racket reverberated through the closed door to the other side of the gym and all he her was gravely yelling.
  • The instructor expected the class to sing along. I'm not there for a damn singalong, I'm there to train.
  • The instructor was not motivating - telling me to constantly add three gears is not a class. It's punishment.
What finally broke me was the instructor asked if we were happy with our body size. If we weren't, we were to add two more gears. I don't diet and workout, I fuel and train, thankyouverymuch. Working out is not a punishment. This is what I do for fun. Frankly, the guy looked like a damn maniac. He was spinning at well over 120 RPMs and yelling at us to "turn and burn." I was tiring while he yelled that we were weak. I was concerned if I stayed I'd be pushed to an injury. Or a meltdown.

So I left.

Was I in the wrong? Have you ever left a fitness class?


Kim said...

You can leave any class you want - there is nothing wrong with that. But I hope you gave the instructor some feedback so they weren't left wondering why. I would wonder why, if someone left my class and didn't tell me what was going on. I would worry about them.

I have heard that specifically about spin - that some instructions are awful and some are good. But it seems everybody wants something different, too. Maybe someone likes that, lol. His style seems a bit militant. Some due seem to like to be yelled at and talked down to. (not sure why, but whatever...)

KellytheCulinarian said...

It's interesting because since it's a chain gym, there's a different instructor every day and the style/quality varies greatly. The Saturday guy is my favorite - he clearly has a plan for his class other than "let me see how close to puking I can make them." It incorporates hills, intervals and great tunes, so I guess it's the luck of the draw.

Unknown said...

Yea, I agree that I'd probably leave too. I wouldn't want to be berated while I'm doing something I enjoy. I understand it's a fine line between pushing someone and pushing too hard. I see this in my FTP tests... I used to have an instructor that knew how to motivate me those last 5 minutes... and now I'm on my own! (different gym).

I don't know if I'd necessarily go up to him later to give feedback, but rather I would expect any trainer who wants to improve to solicit feedback (seek you out at the gym later, etc). One of the reasons I left my former coach/training group lead was that there wasn't the solicitation of feedback. If I have to constantly tell you how you're doing or what I need (and you're not looking out for it), then you're not looking out for my best interests.

Kimberly said...

As an instructor, I take it very personally when someone leaves my class. But I'm a sensitive soul. Ha! However, like Kim said, if you don't feel comfortable or safe, there is NO reason to stay and EVERY reason to leave. I don't teach spin and I'm not a cycling expert but 120 RPMs seems really excessive. I max out at 110 during sprints.

Spin is such an interesting beast as there's a lot of ways to go. The advanced instructor at my Y teaches the same class nearly every time and plays music trivia the whole time - very little instruction. I got over it really quickly. But, I went to a new class and loved the modern mix and more thought out ride.

Anonymous said...

I don't really have problems with people leaving early- more so with people coming in late (a whole different discussion, I suppose).

I've only done one class where I felt the desire to walk out (it was spin as well). I ended up staying because I kept hoping it would get better. But then I also ended up begging my bf to stay an extra 30 minutes at the gym so I could do stairs since my legs didn't feel a thing from that class...

emmers712 said...

Absolutely I would have left, if I were you. It sounds like an awful experience and I know how much of a difference can be made by a good instructor versus a not-so-good instructor. It's definitely not worth it to waste your time going through such an unpleasant experience, especially at the risk of getting hurt. I definitely believe in "voting with your feet" - meaning that your attendance or lack thereof at an event is a very strong measure of feedback!

Dan K said...

I would not have dealt with it as long as you did, you were merciful.

Dan K said...

Ouch. Sorry to hear that.

David Goss said...

I've never left a class, although I've been to a few where I probably had a sour puss on my face and suffered through to the end. As a cycle instructor myself, a few things you mentioned border on unsafe and potentially dangerous. The 'voting with your feet' is a great suggestion.

Maggie W said...

Whoa, seriously??? Encouraging body negativity? NOT COOL. AT ALL. It's one thing to say "bikini season is coming!" or whatever (which still makes me roll my eyes), but asking if you're unhappy with your body, and adjusting the workout if you aren't? That's just ... gah. I don't know if I would say something to the instructor (but I'm not confrontational), but did you say something to a manager or the front desk staff? Or send an email?

Stacelet77 said...

I have, and would, leave. It was actually a spin class I left also. The instructor was clueless (and not in shape themselves) and was trying to make it a dance party on a bike rather than a spin class (literally asking you to do dance motions with your arms while peddling.).

Might you have "hurt his feelings"? Possibly, but maybe he needs to stop and think about the way he is teaching class. I would personally go so far as to fill out a comment card or send an email to whoever is in charge of group fitness.

Unknown said...

I've never walked out of a fitness class (a movie, though, you bet) but there are some that I've taken once and will never go back to. I admit, I usually give things two tries before I write them off entirely but if after that second try it's still not working for me? You can bet I won't go back.

Zenaida Arroyo said...

I would have left. I would not have stayed as long as you did.

Unknown said...

I would have left too. I don't think I've ever walked out of a class but I definitely have not gone back to a few.

I think with spin especially there's a big gap between spin class to burn the most calories you can and spin class to help improve your cycling. I'm really sad that I have to find a new gym because I love the instructors at my old gym. The class always has a structure and there is a mix of intervals, hills, drills, long sustained intensities, etc. If you want to improve in cycling, you can't just go to a class and go all out for 60 minutes!