I’m continually amazed that people actually trust me to lead group fitness classes.
You know what’s even more amazing? The idea that they pay me to do it.
Obviously I’m hiding my cupcake addiction quite successfully.
I got into teaching group exercise classes for a variety of reasons. But mostly because I don’t have the willpower to go to the gym unless I’m actually getting financial compensation.
I also, you know, care about helping people find their passion for fitness and all that other crap.
But mostly, it’s all about me.
In 2010 I became certified to teach Turbo Kick – a format that I can truly call my “soul mate” workout?
What’s a soul mate workout? A workout you love more than your husband, of course.
It’s a workout you look forward to. A workout you enjoy. A workout you need.
So basically, it’s a workout you love as much your husband. On a good day.
So why Turbo Kick, you ask?
It kicks my gelatinous butt in a way that leaves me sweaty and stunned for a good twenty minutes.
It allows me to express my…um…unique sense of fitness fashion.
It’s helped me meet friends who are just as sparkly, sweaty and caffeinated as my self. Also? They don’t judge me for listening to the Pussy Cat Dolls.
That last caption sounded way better in my head.
Most importantly, Turbo Kick incorporates roundhouse kicking with hair whipping and booty pumping.
Try as I might, I couldn’t find a booty pumping action shot of yours truly anywhere.
So I created one.
Sadly, out of the…oh…100 or so shots I took with my webcam, these were the best.
I’m already starting to regret posting this.
But this blog isn’t about making me look good.
It’s about being honest, candid and shameless.
It’s about embarrassing my dog.
And perhaps most importantly, it’s about booty pumping to a Nikki Minaj song in front of my laptop on a Friday night because there’s simply nothing better to do in rural Minnesota.
Anyway, I soon realized upon moving to Small Town how important it would be to get connected with the local fitness community. After working at home all day, I need to get all of my pent-up energy out at the gym. Telecommuting can get quite lonely, and there’s definitely a social aspect to exercising in a large group.
Especially when you’re leading the workout.
This is why I applied for the position of group fitness instructor at the brand-spankin’ new YMCA of Small Town.
Somehow they were able to overlook the fact that I recently gained ten pounds and offered me a job. Come April, I’ll be teaching Turbo Kick and a group weight lifting class.
I suppose I wasn’t totally surprised they gave me the gig. I’ve got over two years of experience and had a good recommendation from the YMCA I worked at in Seattle.
I also know what mistakes not to make during a fitness instructor interview.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise I learned the hard way that showing up to your interview in a business suit will make things extremely awkward. Particularly if they were expecting you to perform an “audition”.
Also? If they offer you a soda, you should say no. Fitness instructors don’t drink soda — at least not publicly. They are merely testing you.
Finally, you should never say what you are actually thinking. If you’re anything like me, that would be a dire mistake.
Take my interview for an instructor position at the Starbucks Corporate Headquarters in Seattle as a prime example of this. As usual, my thoughts are in hot pink — the official color of Turbo Kick.
INTERVIEWER: So, Katrina. How long have you been teaching Turbo Kick?
ME: I actually just got certified, so this will be my first teaching position. I’ve taken Turbo Kick for almost three years, though, and am really comfortable working with people. I do have teaching experience, just not in a fitness environment.
I have no idea what I’m doing and will probably be a terrible instructor for at least a month. Possibly two. But I was a T.A. for six months in grad school!
INTERVIEWER: Cool. And don’t worry about not having experience; as long as you have the appropriate training, all of your certifications in order, and have fitness instructor insurance, you meet our qualifications. Now, what made you want to teach Turbo Kick?
Fitness instructor coverage already comes with my auto insurance policy, right?
ME: Oh yeah, I’ve got all those things covered. So, Turbo Kick. Wow–it’s been such a positive outlet for me in so many different ways. It’s amazing how fitness not only affects your health and appearance, but also your confidence, mood and psychological well-being, you know? I want to help people experience the wonderful benefits of health and fitness, while doing something that’s a lot of fun. Enabling others to enrich and improve their lives is a passion of mine. I also love dancing to great music, which is exactly what Turbo Kick is all about. Sometimes I’m having so much fun that I actually forget how hard I’m working. The class is really set up to feel like a party.
I work from home and need to get out of the house to make some friends. I desperately need to be forced to exercise on a regular basis to counteract my abnormally high carbohydrate intake and break my addiction to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I also like to be at the front of the room so I can get a good look at myself in the mirror while I shake my thing. On top of all that, I get a great deal of pleasure from telling others what to do, not to mention being the center of attention.
INTERVIEWER: That’s great. So what makes you interested in teaching at the Java Gym?
ME: Well, I really like the idea of a smaller gym, it feels much more personal than some of the large 24-hour gyms in the area, and the smaller class size for group exercise allows me to focus more individual attention on each participant. That’s really important to me. I also think it’s great to encourage employees to pursue wellness at the workplace, and would love to help Starbucks do exactly that. There’s just so many unique perks this gym offers that other larger facilities simply don’t have. Don’t you agree?
I’m obsessed with your coffee. And your pastries. I’ll do anything to get my foot in the door so I can work here full-time. I want to network. I want to soak up information that will put me at an advantage as a job applicant. I want to get free coffee. And pastries. Coffee and pastries. Yum.
Lucky for me, the interviewer definitely wasn’t telepathic. I started three weeks later.
I would like to think I got hired at the YMCA because of my prior experience, positive attitude, and healthy physique.
In reality, I think I was hired because I employed the above interviewing technique.
And possibly because I was wearing a compression undershirt and three pairs of Spanx in order to look deceptively skinny. Although that part kind of backfired. I ended up looking about two pounds lighter but thirty degrees sweatier — those things are insulated.
In all seriousness, I think I’ve come a long way as an instructor. I genuinely care about creating a positive and memorable experience for my students and I want everyone to leave class feeling confident and energized.
I want to empower people to get healthier through movement.
I want to create the amazing friendships that come as a result of conquering a tough workout together.
And, if the above webcam shots didn’t give it away, I still want to be in the front of the class and watch myself in the mirror.
I suppose some things will never change.