“Oh, you’re in fitness? That’s awesome, you get paid to do what you love!” – is often a response I get when I tell people I am an instructor. It is true, you do get paid to be active and to be skilled at different modalities of fitness, which I love. The thing is, it isn’t all as glamorous as it may seem.
Here are some of my personal experiences in fitness that I would like to share for anyone who thinks this industry is all “fun-and-games”. What got me thinking, was another friend who recently asked me, why do you go so hard? I mean, you are (at times) teaching just as much as some full-time instructors in this city. For me, 2017 was definitely a grind, I took every opportunity I could to teach, including subbing other instructor’s classes.
That’s the thing when you first start out, it sometimes may seem impossible to “break-in” that you are willing to teach at all costs. Getting into a studio is the first challenge, which may seem insurmountable especially if you have no or little experience. The second challenge is staying there. In the studio world there is this constant pressure to fill classes, particularly if there is a financial motivation to do so (i.e. your rate is dependant on the number of people in your class). This is an expectation that never lets up – in some studios I definitely feel the pressure more than others. There are so many factors that contribute to this though that may be beyond an individual instructor’s control. Even good instructors may feel it is somewhat of a popularity contest at times. It is an uphill battle to build a “following” in a particular community, clients are fickle and there is so much choice out there.
Another given fact in this industry is that you give up a lot of your personal time, and for me that has been at the cost of social time, (I personally will not sacrifice my sleep). Prime hours for fitness are often early mornings, evenings, and weekends. So while everyone else is resting, playing, or working on themselves in your classes, you are serving them.
The ultimate fear of any instructor is being told you are “not a fit” at at studio, or that your classes “aren’t working”. This too though, is another reality of the fitness world. The barrier to entry is relatively low, so there will always be new instructors entering the industry, and businesses have a constant pool of human resource to choose from.
Lastly if you think you are going to make money doing this thing, good luck. When you take into account the time it takes to prep your class, travel time in-between studios, and being there early to sign-in and clean up after, your hourly rate is cut at least in half.
So, you may ask if theses are all the down sides – then why do you keep doing it? Well of course there is the upside that balances things out. For me my motivation to keep going is in the connection I find with humans in this industry. It is a connection that is like no other. The fact that just after an hour you can change someone’s energy or improve their entire day. This is my main why, a why that will keep me waking up at 5:00a some mornings and rarely having a day off.