Don’t waste YOUR time

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it.
You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”
~Harvey MacKay

I spend most of my waking time either preparing for a group fitness class, or trying to inspire people to attend.  So the message I share here is going to seem like an about face.  But I’ve been thinking lately that there are times when the gym might be a petter place for you than the studio.  Really?  Really.  Consider this scenario.  I spend a good two hours on a Sunday evening putting together the music, choreography, motivational messages, and class theme for my two Monday classes.  I arrive at the gym in time to set up and greet any new students.  Thirty people make the effort to show up after dropping off kids, etc. and are ready to dedicate the next hour to bettering themselves.  Fifteen minutes into class, I hear a loud conversation coming from the back of the room.  Full on conversation.  No workout going on whatsoever.  Then another.  These two separate conversations went on for the entire hour, no matter what I did.  And then I see someone texting between exercises.  Come on folks.  Why are you in a group fitness class?  Here are a few points I would like you to consider when taking a group fitness class:

1. You are not the only person in the room.  Your conversation or phone call is distracting to the other people in the room.  They are in class because they want the instruction and motivation a group setting provides.  If you have calls to make or conversations that are pressing, consider working out on a treadmill or in the weight room where talking and texting don’t affect others’ experience.

2. Turn off your phone.  I do, and the world doesn’t stop while I teach a class.  I have neurosurgeons, CEOs, and professors in my classes who find a way to avoid checking their phones for the precious hour they have set aside for exercise.  If you are really worried about your kids reaching you in an emergency, put your phone on silent and tell them you will only respond if it is, in fact, an emergency.  With blood.  Otherwise, either wait until after class or step outside to tell little Bobby to mke himself a sandwich.

3. Be selfish about your workout time.  I don’t know about you, but when I get to the gym, I know that will truly be the only hour I have for me in that whole day.  The rest of the day is for everyone else.  Bosses, kids, spouses.  Take the hour you have set aside for exercise seriously and make it count.  Look at each repetition, pedal stroke, dance step or stretch as putting you one step closer to meeting your goals.  The other stuff can wait until you’re done.  And when you give your workout 100% of your attention, there is so much more of you to go around afterwards!

4. Plan to stay for the whole class whenever possible.  I realize that occasionally something will come up and you will have to leave early.  I love it when people let me know this ahead of time, so I don’t worry that they are sick or injured when I see them leaving class.  Coming in late and leaving early are distracting, to the instructor and to those around you.  I always have a pre-class announcement that lets everyone know what to expect, what our focus is, etc.  And I try to end every class with either a challenge or a motivational story or quote.  It takes so much away from this ‘grand finale’ when people are chatting and putting things away early.  Stay with me.  I promise to make it worth YOUR time.

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    1. fredie bailey says:

      Very good piece Denise. This should be posted everywhere for anyone who goes to the gym to see!

    2. Denise, my friends and I love your classes (we were in your yoga class today), and we just love YOU. Thank you for how much your bring to class and give to us. You make us want to be better people.

    3. Yup, cell phones in class suck. Where I teach, in Hood River/the gorge, cell phones are not allowed in class, or in the gym, or anywhere but the restroom or outside the club. If you get a call when the phone is on silent you have to step outside to answer or return it. Yes it got to the point where management had to make a decision, one which supports the quality of everyones workout. Let’s hear it for being present where you are. XOXO Mary

    4. Liz Akins says:

      Thanks for this piece! I teach spin classes and it is so frustrating when people carry on conversations through the entire class – I want to say something, but I don’t want to discourage them from coming back. It’s clearly upsetting to the people who came to relax, listen to the music, and get a good workout.

    5. A loving neighbor says:

      It’s pretty pitiful that we are a society today that shows no courtesy to others. It is all about "ME".
      I am not one who attends classes, but knowing Denise as I do, she is very passionate and dedicated to her classes and participants. I believe we need to step outside ourselves and attempt to appreciate the work others provide to us for OUR benefit,not theirs. Look at the Big Picture and see how your actions affect others.

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