Experimental Exercise Part II: Instructors that Care

This summer was the summer of an exercise experiment. July through September, I tried out different classes at Crunch Gym (squeezing in thirteen classes with nine different instructors), a few practices at Yoga to the People, and five sessions with Circuit of Change. At Circuit of Change, Mike and I took three types of classes, one style outdoors on the Hudson River and two different types indoors. It was definitely a busy summer!

Mike and I in the first row on the left at Circuit of Change’s new studio near Union Square.

Photo by Circuit of Change. I thought I saw a flash go off during class!

Based on my experience I can safely say that some instructors really make a class worthwhile. I think anyone who has tried group fitness classes can attest to this fact. As much as I’d like to think getting my butt into the class and just being present would make me commit to the workout, it simply isn’t so. The same as it was in school, good teachers can make a class come alive. Some instructors are better at motivating people by giving off an energy that just feeds into your own. Taj of the “BodyArt” class at Union Square Crunch as well as Circuit of Change’s founder Brian Delmonico both radiate positivity you could soak up with a sponge. They leave their problems at the door and encourage everyone in the class to do the same. Their attentiveness to each person in the class through both praise and correction makes you feel like what you are doing matters and they really care. Because they care, you can’t help but do the same.

Yoga to the People will not publicize which yogi is leading the session because they don’t want to promote followings of individual teachers. Because of the class style, I feel like it works there. People are jam-packed in the room, with each mat two inches from any other. Every person who led a class was equally communicative, describing the flow from the front of the room. There physically isn’t any room for adjusting students, so each instructor was as good as any other. As mentioned in my last post, classes at Yoga to the People are donation-based, $10 recommended but any amount accepted. Definitely wallet friendly, and it’s great to be able to support the studio at whatever level you can afford.

Another piece of my experiment included trying out personal training once more. Crunch’s deal came with one personal training session, and I was a little apprehensive. Flashing back to a few years ago, I took personal training sessions when I was living ‘at home’ on Long Island. My trainer was repeatedly late, ate during our sessions, and always tried to wrap up ten minutes early. If the person who is supposed to be fueling my energy doesn’t show any excitement, why should I?  I was always frustrated, didn’t look forward to the workout, and felt like I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. Obviously, I didn’t renew the contract.

This summer at Crunch, the training team was giving me a pretty hard sell even when I was trying to schedule my already-paid-for session. It made me a little wary, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover Eric from Lafayette Crunch was not a repeat performance of my abysmal sessions on Long Island. He was focused, provided extreme attention to my form in every single set, and pushed my limits. If I had unlimited funds, I’d definitely sign up for sessions with him.

While group fitness instructors aren’t giving the same individualized attention that personal trainers should be, the good ones nearly do. They see when you are struggling, notice when you’ve given your all, and make you feel important. They share their passion for what they love to do in a way that’s contagious. Like any good teacher, they know that’s what matters most.

For September 20th and 21st only, Circuit of Change is running their “$35 for 5 classes” promotion again through Living Social, for new clients only. I highly recommend the classes out on the pier where you can enjoy the sunrise or sunset over the Hudson River. Brian Delmonico was my preferred instructor for both outdoor and indoor classes, but new people are joining the instruction team in the studio as well. Cash in on the deal here.

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