A Day In The Life……Of A (Newbie) Fitness Instructor - What's in Walton on Thames

A Day In The Life……Of A (Newbie) Fitness Instructor


A Day In The Life

……Of A (Newbie) Fitness Instructor

Do you remember the very first time you stood (apprehensively) at the back of the studio, for the first exercise class you signed up too? What prompted you, to book yourself onto that first class?

Maybe you were brand new to exercise, and the ‘Legs, Bums & Tums’ class on the timetable, sounded like something you could just about manage, or even enjoy?

Or, perhaps you were a new mum, and for the first time you had been brave enough to put your baby in a crèche facility, so that you could try and blast off that remaining stubborn baby fat, or before that post natal depression, got it’s claws stuck right into you.

Maybe fitness has always been your thing, you have always been active and generally felt good about yourself and your body. But, at some point or another, you yourself, would have been that first timer.

Me? I was the first timer, the new mum. That baby weight was clinging on for dear, dear life. I mean, Id bend over and my stomach would sag like a 85 year old, literally hanging – I could flick it, and it would swing happily from side to side.

NOT something I was overly joyed with at 35 years of age. Alright, I was no spring chicken, but, come on!

So, 12 months on and thoroughly fed up, I found myself standing in that studio, at the back, in my maternity tracksuit bottoms and oversized t-shirt. As I looked around the studio, I suddenly panicked. Most of these women were svelte, toned, trim and all seemed to be dressed in immaculate gym wear (I was later to be educated about Sweaty Betty).

The instructor walked in, I was convinced she was some sort of Olympic athlete. She had amazing muscle definition literally everywhere. As it stood, she wasn’t an athlete, but a group exercise instructor, and about my age too.

The class started, and it was tough, much tougher than I had expected, but I was determined to see it through….And see it through I did.

Several months later, I had more energy, I was happier, the post baby weight had finally begun to shift, and I had something not dissimilar to actual muscle tone.

Hey, I’d even had the confidence to move nearer towards the MASSIVE floor to ceiling mirror at the front of the studio. I wasn’t quite as repulsed by the reflection that stared back at me by then.


Fast forward five years, and I am now a fully fledged (newish) exercise instructor.

Which in itself is an irony…? Just a few shorts years back, I couldn’t have run to catch the bus.


I’m a single parent and I turned 40 last year (don’t get me started with all the mid-life crisis clichés, I have become ‘that’ cliché myself). You know, the ex shacked up with the much younger (prettier) woman, but that’s a story for another time…Plus, I’m not a fan of self pity parties either, life is cruel, we suck it up and dust ourselves off.

So I made a decision to make some changes in my life, for the better. For myself AND for my daughter, and so far I’ve not once looked back or regretted my decision.

It’s been hard work, harder than I thought and it remains to be hard work still. Physically and mentally demanding, but so so rewarding at the same time.


Here are the positives

  • I’m in the best shape in my entire life, and at nearly 41 I admit, I feel pretty chuffed about this.
  • My energy levels are great. I have a thyroid disorder, which can be hugely frustrating at times as it slows me down, but the fitness has definitely improved my thyroid function.
  • I can finally run fast, I think I might even be able to run faster than that bus I was never quick enough to catch. Better late than never right?!
  • I teach a variety of classes, that I LOVE, from Spin, bodypump, Insanity and aerobics. My passion is definitely the spin, pump and insanity.
  • The people you meet! I’ve met some amazing people this past year, and it’s these guys that make the classes so much fun and so rewarding.
  • You get to watch people as their fitness and body shapes change and transitions.
  • I get to wear loud bright colours, pretty much every day of the week.
  • It’s a great way to build your self esteem, to push yourself to do something you were otherwise terrified to do
  • I get to listen to music all the time
  • Myself and all of  my class members, we are on a journey together, and it’s a positive great journey!
  • I sweat and ache and burn with my class members. You have got to get down and dirty with them too.
  • Its fun, what better way to start your day than a sweaty tough spin on a bike, or a bit of bodypump. Happy endorphins for the rest of the day!
  • The many different characters that come to your classes, and how you connect with them.
  • No matter what awful stuff is going on in your personal life, when you are teaching a class you plaster a BIG SMILE on your face, and you are upbeat, motivating and fun. Something else too, forcing yourself to smile when you are sobbing on the inside, actually makes you feel better. There’s lots of science behind smiling you know. It’s good for the soul J.
  • You learn to grow extremely thick skin, and very quickly when you are a fitness instructor. People can be rude and sadly, a handful of the people you teach have nothing pleasant or positive to bring to a class. Manners get totally forgotten, and you can be on the receiving end, of some very personal hurtful comments and remarks.

Some comments I’ve had directed at me, are things like:

‘She’s obviously got an eating disorder, it’s not natural to be that skinny’

‘She doesn’t eat, I bet she starves herself, and it’s vile. How does she have the energy to teach all those classes?’

‘Her arms are all covered in veins, I don’t like it. It’s disgusting’

‘She has it so easy, all she does is work out, and skip about in lycra, it’s not a proper job’

‘She obviously doesn’t have children’

‘You look like you are bordering on anorexic, you do not look healthy’

‘What diet are you on? You MUST be on a diet…’

‘She’s skin and bone…’

‘Your face is so gaunt, it’s really ageing’


The amusing (or sad) thing about some of these comments, is that I’ve actually been standing in earshot, whilst various women stood about discussing me…Erm, hello I CAN ACTUALLY HEAR WHAT YOU ARE SAYING!

At least I can laugh about this. Although I admit I’ve shed a few tears about such personal attacks as well.

What is that about? Where are our manners, and where is our compassion and kindness?

If we take a dislike to someone, purely based on appearance then I’m afraid it’s a very sad and superficial world we all live in.

Do you see a pattern here? For the record, I am perfectly healthy. I have low body fat, yes, I have muscle tone. No I don’t have curves sadly, but we are all different. Why do we judge one another so harshly? We are here for the same reason right, i.e. in an exercise class to better ourselves some way, mentally and physically.

I don’t believe in ‘diets’ by the way. I believe in healthy eating and exercise, for the mind, body AND soul.

My point about these type of comments is that we should support one another, wherever we are at in our lives. We are all different shapes and sizes, we are all on different journeys, and we all of us, have our own personal stuff going on. What’s the saying? ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’?


Some of my amusing anecdotes

  • You swipe right on tinder, then realise its one of the buff guys that goes to some of your classes, arggghhh noooo!
  • The horrific moment you realise in a class, that the shorts you opted to wear, are way too short. There’s nowhere to hide. The huge mirror is behind you. Oh god, what do I do….. The guy in the front row was DEFINTIELY winking at me. I want the floor open up and swallow me….
  • The flattering, but uncomfortable and totally inappropriate scenario of being ‘booty called’ at 02.00 one Saturday night from one of your class members. Especially as you aren’t actually sure how they obtained your number. Damn social media, must update my personal settings/contact info…
  • The good looking guy in the front row of the spin studio is winking at you during the class. This is a great ego boost and it’s kind of funny too. I like to think it’s a wink, perhaps it’s a nervous twitch but I’ll happily take the former every time. A girl has got to take what she can, when she can right?!?
  • Not knowing where to look, when the guy in the front row in bodypump is pulling some SERIOUS sex faces and grunting so loudly, he can be heard over the already loud music, by the ladies in the back row! Worst thing being, he’s right in my line of vision. I catch eyes with one of my regulars, god I want to giggle, I can’t. I bite my tongue, I grit my teeth, I stare at the floor and look up again…I must be professional. I MUST BE PROFESSIONAL. Nope, I’ve lost it… I’m laughing over the head mic and sounding like a snorting horse. Awesome…Then I forget the choreography. Back on track sharpish, and for the next 30 minutes ‘I’m back ‘in the zone’
  • Feeling a little tiny bit smug, when the four ‘20’s something boys strut into the studio, to see it’s ’little old me’ teaching their class that evening, as I’m covering. They snigger a bit to one another (openly I might add, nudging elbows etc)…I wipe the floor with them… Press-up track, all on their toes, which is fabulous, but guess what, I can do press ups for days on my toes too…The slightly confused looks, on some now rather purple young faces, as they relent, and drop onto their knees. Mwah ha ha ha, age is just a number boys. And don’t ever be fooled by someone’s appearance. I may be small, but that means nothing. Not bad for an old hen eh?
  • In a very busy spin class, where space between bikes is rather tight…I jump off my bike to go and help a member, attempt to stride confidently over to said member (that good looking guy is in my spin class again, remember him from earlier?), only to get the wire from my head mic, caught on his handlebars. I lurch forward, but the wire is caught. I try to remove the headset, and guess what? It’s caught in a sweaty tangled mess of hair on the top of my head. There’s no styling this one out. Oh dear…
  • The poor young woman that has been brave enough to come to one of my advanced spin classes. I injury check etc, with everyone before I start the class. No injuries, no illnesses, nothing, we are good to go. Ten minutes after the warm up, I notice that the new woman is decidedly pale, possibly a bit green around the gills…I catch her eye, she nods, says she is ok. We continue…I catch her eye again, yep, she isn’t well bless her. Jump off the bike (no wires getting caught this time!), and ask her what’s wrong. Motion sickness is the response. Erm, this is advanced spin….Sigh….She was fine afterwards by the way, but decided that spinning probably hadn’t been the most suitable class for her. What do you think?!?
  • The club members that ask me about Insanity. ‘Oooh, that sounds fun, is it like a zumba class…’ Zumba? I mean, really…?!? There’s a teeny tiny clue in the name, you know, INSANITY…I have no response. I am strangely silent. I find myself sighing. Again.

A typical day for me is as follows:

07.00 Rise and shine, mad dash about to get myself and my daughter ready for school, as calmly as possible. Then the EPIC battle commences. Why is it so difficult to put on a school uniform and get out of the front door?! Why does it take so long? It should take 5 minutes, not 45 minutes!

08.45 Take daughter to school, walk briskly trying to navigate all the scooters, prams, bikes, pavement hogging mums who like to walk slowly, and chat. A lot.

09.00 Jump in car, car wont start. Oh crap…Not again…No no no no…..Can’t miss my class, too late to get a taxi This is where I have a weak moment, and really feel my single parent status! Panic panic panic….Wait, I can totally deal with this. I’m a strong independent woman…I know car engines…Get bonnet open. Crap, how do I open the bloody bonnet…Ah, there’s the lever thingy under the dashboard (now 09.05, first class starts at 09.30). Prop open bonnet, poke my head in. Hmmmm, now what….Ah, vague recollection of a pipe that needs to be prised open, which can then be sprayed with some nasty hardcore magical car starting spray. But which pipe?!? The big round one, that’ll do….Yes, yes, pop it open, spray vile chemical spray (narrowly avoid spraying it up my nose).

Leap into car, put key in, and it starts!! Close bonnet, jump back in and hoof it off to first class. Time now 09.10….

Hit traffic of course, bloody roadworks gahhhhhh….Breathe slowly, stay calm…Stay CALM WOMAN!

09.20 Fly into car park, fly out of car and sprint to the spin studio. Oh, my watch is fast…Its 09.15. Okay, time to pull myself together and shake off my stressed flighty aura…Don’t want my class members to pick up on my heightened levels of anxiety.

09.30-10.15  First spin class. A sweaty, heart thumping, fun 45 minutes with my amazing class members. God, my legs felt that just now.

10.15-10.45 Time to grab some water, have a quick stretch, sort myself out for next spin class

10.45-11.30 Spin class number 2 – More sweat, more muscle burning hill drills. This class is all about the endurance, and it’s a tough 45 minutes for all of us.

12.30 13.00 Spin class number 3 – Here we go again (I can’t feel my legs, I can’t feel my legs, oh god…) My regulars come in, and I’m genuinely pleased to see them all, we banter and laugh and then we start with the class. A good fun, sweaty class. (By this point, I’ve burnt over 1500 calories today so says my fitbit).

13.15-14.00 BodyPump!!! Great busy upbeat class, everyone works hard, and most members rise to the challenge of sticking more weight on their bars this week. Myself included, I have to role model for them. I can’t tell my class to do something, if I don’t do it with them….Jeez, might have overcooked a bit with my weight for the chest track…Arhhhhh, ouch that feels HEAVY! Don’t let it show, just keep coaching them, and be motivating (my eyes are actually watering at this point).

14.30 Back home, have 15 minutes before I have to pick up my daughter from school. No time to have lunch, jump in shower for ten minutes, leap out and leg it down to the school.

15.15 – 17.30 Home, snack and homework for my little girl and my LUNCHTIME!

Couple of hours to spend time with my girl, play, sort her dinner out, bath time etc.

19:15 – 20:15  INSANITY time now! Class number 5 of the day.

Super busy class as every week. These guys are seriously fit and are not afraid of pushing themselves every single week. I love teaching this class with these members. You get back, what you put into something right? We all of us, are a dripping sweaty mess by the end of this class, but I feel good. I feel great and I’m still smiling after a busy day of classes.

The wobbly moment I had earlier has long passed, I’m not worrying about the future, or the possibility that I’ll be a single parent forever. It doesn’t matter. What matters is my daughter, that she’s loved and safe and secure, and that I am looking after myself and making the most and best of every single day. And I hope that I bring motivation and fun to every single class that I teach. Always.

20.45 Home, dinner, bath and bed. Yes, finally…New day tomorrow…

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