4 Life Lessons I’ve Learned As A Fitness Instructor

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I’m a Latin hooker. Well, not really, but I look like one when I walk into the gym to teach Zumba fitness classes four times a week. I wear skimpy clothing in the front of a mirrored room as I swivel my hips with about 20 middle-aged women and a couple questionably-intended men. It’s a super fun workout and I get paid. What could be better? In the process, however, I’ve learned a thing or two, because life ain’t always peachy, even when you’re a Latin hooker.

1. Early Is On Time
Many of the participants in my class show up a solid 15 minutes before I even leave my apartment. They mark their spots with their towels and water bottles and glare at anyone who so much as looks in their direction. To others, it’s catty and a bit over the top. But to me, it’s devotion. These women have been so excited to shake their asses all day that they do everything in their power to make sure their workouts are flawless. So when you become “that guy who’s always late,” don’t take pride in that. It means people will notice how few fucks you give.

2. Appearance Matters
It sounds awfully superficial, I know, and I don’t agree with it. If I could live a life free of makeup and immersed in a tub of Nutella, I would. But unfortunately, the way we carry ourselves is crucial. For an entire hour, it’s all eyes on me. It’s not an attention thing, it’s my job. It makes me uncomfortable to have people literally staring at my ass for 59 more minutes and 47 more seconds than I’m comfortable with, but I realized that they’d do this even if I wasn’t teaching them how to shake it like Shakira. People will watch you and they’ll judge you. They’ll do this on dates and they’ll do it at work. Take Tinder, for example. That one picture that comes up better be the best profile picture you’ve ever had, not a candid picture that your friend snapped as blackmail when you were puking the morning after seven too many tequila shots. Humans are automatically drawn to the ones who look, smell, and carry themselves the best, the ones who elude confidence and radiate certainty.

3. Music Is Everything
It doesn’t matter if you can dance at Zumba Fitness–it doesn’t matter one bit. What characterizes Zumba Fitness is the fact that it’s supposed to make you forget that you’re working out, something otherwise classified as grueling and uncomfortable. When you’re shaking it to Pitbull’s latest smash-hit, you don’t see the “calories burned” number that cues up on most workout machines. Instead, you’re just smiling and moving around. I’m a giant Eminem fan–I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for not purchasing tickets to his Monster tour with Rihanna–and my favorite lyrics of his are, “They say music can alter moods and talk to you/But can it load a gun for you, and cock it too?” The former line is what I’m referencing here. There’s something so powerful about music and how only a few notes have the propensity to elicit some of your most poignant memories, or, like Eminem said, alter moods. After a shitty day, you might get in your car and blast that Michelle Branch to let out a good cry, right? Totally, but then you change it to something a little more upbeat (and socially acceptable) so you don’t spend the rest of your evening wallowing in your sadness. If I were to play shitty music in my classes, people would be pissed because they’d be aware of the fact that they’re awkwardly dancing and then they’d be in a bad mood. But if you flood your iPod with tunes that mean something to you, that have the proclivity to even so slightly resonate with you and make you forget about your piece of shit boss for just a second, then you done good.

4. A Mistake Is Not The End Of The World
There have been times where I’ve missed a move and forgotten key steps. I’ve had to start the song all over again and one time, I just skipped over it completely. The class continued normally and nobody cared. They just sort of laughed. People fuck up, and that’s okay. It’s normal to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Don’t let them hinder your ability to function, and don’t beat yourself up over them. Just remember to smile through it and get lost in the soundtrack of your life.

Image via Running With Mascara

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After graduating college with a good-for-nothing psych degree, cecRL took her skillz over to a newspaper in New Jersey where she writes boring material for old people to read while they're on the toilet. Needless to say, her life is going swimmingly.

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