The Things That Fitness Instructors Inadvertently Say

With the New Year here and people making resolutions to exercise more, fitness instructors and trainers like me all over the country are preparing for an increase in numbers in their classes and dreaming up new ways to torture their clients.

Have you ever wondered what goes through the mind of fitness instructors as they are teaching class?  Ever wonder how they can count (although my class accuses me of not being able to count), call out cues, modifications and upcoming exercises, while keeping up an encouraging banter with the entire class?

I have no idea.  I think it’s intuitive.  Either you can do 5 things at the same time and talk at the same time, or you can’t.  And sometimes, the funniest things come out of our mouths in the middle of class.  Here are a few examples of what fitness instructors have said, to help get you in the exercise mood this year.

Take off your clothes, pick up your weights and let’s go!

I once shouted this after the warm-up section of a sculpt class.  Clapping my hands for emphasis.  There was a moment of silence, then the class burst into laughter.  As someone told me after class, she actually considered doing it since she is such a good student and does everything I tell her to.

But this is not naked Strength and Sculpt.  I meant to say, “Take off your cover-ups” to those that had a long sleeve shirt on and got hot after the warm-up.  I know there are now naked yoga classes but I’m not enlightened enough to teach something like that.  The thought, as an instructor, of standing up in front of a class full of naked people doing down-dog just makes me cringe.  All those dangly bits.

This is my friend Melissa teaching down-dog in a clothed yoga class.

I apologize to anyone that does naked yoga.  I’m sorry that I haven’t seen the light yet to teach a naked class.  I will stick to clothed Strength and Sculpt.

Lick the Floor!

My friend and master instructor in Manhattan and Brooklyn Liz LeFrois once cued a Pilates class to “lick the floor.”  While I’m sure the gym would have appreciated an extra cleaning of the floors, she actually meant to say, “look at the floor.”

Liz is the one that tried to teach me to hip-hop when we were both teaching in Manhattan.  I’m sorry to say that this ballet dancer never really was able to hip-hop and we dubbed my dancing, Asian-girl hip-hop.  Hmmm…could be a new group fitness class.

But Liz is awesome.  Just look at her.

fitness instructors

If she tells me to lick the floor, you can be sure I will be down on my hands and knees, ready to lick that floor.

Arouse the victim!

Okay – this one needs more explanation.  The group exercise/fitness director at Apogee Fitness and Wellness, Kathy Margiasso (my manager) is not only a fitness instructor, she is also a CPR instructor.

While teaching a CPR class, she was instructing participants to try to rouse the victim, but instead, she said, “try to arouse the victim.”

I guess that’s one way of resuscitating a victim.

Despite her slip (you have to wonder what she was thinking about to say that), Kathy knows what she is doing.  She once helped save a man’s life at the gym she was working at by applying CPR and AED until help arrived.  For that, I think she can be forgiven for telling her class to arouse the victim.

Tuck your balls to the side!

Alrighty then.  First of all, you should know this cue was given in an all-women fitness club.  And Anthony Saraceno, the instructor that cued this, was not referring to any part of the human anatomy.

If you’ve taken a group fitness class lately, you will know that there are now all kinds of balls used in classes.  Big Swiss balls, heavy medicine balls, squishy Pilates balls, half Bosu balls, little yoga balls.  There are balls everywhere.  And as fitness instructors all over know, sometimes the word “balls” is taken in the wrong context and has the entire class snickering.

Here are Anthony and his fitness balls.

fitness instructors

 Grab your balls and put it between your legs!

Yes, while we are on the subject of balls, this is a cue I give often in my vbarre class.  Every time I say it, I get met with snickers, guffaws and giggles.

This is what I meant.

fitness instructors

I’ve tried to come up with a different way of cueing that, but no matter what I try, it just doesn’t sound right.  “Take the spherical orbs and squeeze them between your thighs.”  That sounds even worse.  I think I’ll just stick to what I’ve been saying.  I can’t help it if my class has a different interpretation of my cue.

If you need help motivating to get into the gym this year, just think of all the fun you can have, never knowing what your instructor will tell you to do.  You may be told to grab your right wrist with your right ankle, put your heels into your hands, touch your nose to your elbow or squeeze your balls with your legs.

Hey, whatever it takes to get you into a class, the end result is a healthier and stronger you.  And isn’t that what we all want in the new year?



  1. Lisa on January 1, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Okay — I will grab my balls, lick the floor, and get going!! What a start for 2015! Works for me.

    • pinotbylyn on January 1, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      That’s the spirit Lisa! All done with enthusiasm 🙂

  2. Elaine on January 1, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Just back from the gym and happened to have a ball between my legs!

    • pinotbylyn on January 1, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      See, those balls are everywhere in the gym! Hope you gave it a good squeeze 🙂

  3. Elizabeth on January 5, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Absolutely hysterical!

  4. Hsiang-Fang on January 6, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    So funny! Great!!

  5. pinotbylyn on January 8, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Glad you enjoyed this!

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