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Wellness > Health

The Reality of Teaching Group Fitness in a Virtual World

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Have you ever worked really, really hard for something? Maybe even paid a lot of money for it? Invested a lot of time into it? Cancelled plans, woke up early, and then decided to write your entire research paper in one day just so you could get it? (Maybe the last part was just my mistake, but you can probably relate).

This was how hard I worked to get my Spinning Certification. Sorry if this is cliché, but ever since I took my first SoulCycle class in 2019 I knew I wanted to teach spin classes. Fast forward a year later, and I finally got it! I paid for my certification, passed the test, and aced my audition at the UMass Rec Center. I taught 3 classes a week and was finally doing something I had always wanted to – then COVID hit (yeah, now you definitely can relate).

Teaching group fitness online is anything but normal, like most things these days. Not to mention, I no longer can teach spin classes because I don’t have my own bike at home. I’ve transitioned to teaching 30 minute HIIT classes through Zoom, and let me tell you, the reality of this lifestyle is something else.

It’s lonely.

It’s one thing to be working out as a participant in a group fitness class, but TBH, it’s hard leading a workout with no one else around you. For me, I think it gives me more headspace to notice any small mistakes I think I’m making. One of the biggest reasons people love group fitness is because of the community aspect. This is definitely something that lacks over Zoom.

You realize the internet is not as reliable as you think.

Don’t you love those awkward moments where you think everything is going great and then your zoom says “Your internet connection is unstable?” Yeah, that’s the best. The typical struggles of being a group fitness instructor are worrying if your microphone dies or the Bluetooth connection is bad, not if your class literally stops mid-workout.

20th Century Fox Television / Giphy

It keeps me in shape, though.

In all honesty, I’d be lost without teaching group fitness. This is one the greatest jobs I’ve ever had, and even though it looks a lot different this year, it’s a special job to be able to turn someone’s day completely around. Not to mention, you’re helping them (and yourself) get stronger at the same time!

Things won’t be like this forever.

I tend to tell myself this every day. While it’s settling to know that one day we’ll all be back in our gyms doing what makes us feel good, the power of virtual group fitness has allowed people from all over the world to take classes together at once. Since I’ve started teaching, I’ve had friends from all across the country that have wanted to workout together – and that’s finally possible. The reality of this situation can be tough most of the time, but there are some aspects of it that still make it special.

Unsplash / Bruce Mars

I wouldn’t give up this job for anything. Being a group fitness instructor has challenged me in ways I never thought possible, and I’ve become a better leader as a result of it. If you’ve ever thought about getting a certification and auditioning to instruct, this is your sign. I’m telling you it’s ok to take the leap of faith, even in the midst of the conditions we’re in right now.

If you’re a student at UMass Amherst, I teach 30 Minute HIIT on Monday’s at 12 p.m. on Zoom! Maybe I’ll see you one week soon and we can sweat it out together!

Ashley Guertin

U Mass Amherst '21

Ashley is graduate of UMass Amherst, Class of 2021. After joining Her Campus during her sophomore year, Ashley quickly became involved in her chapter as a Content Editor and the Facebook Coordinator. She served as the chapter's Editor in Chief and Campus Correspondent during her senior year and owes Her Campus for giving her lifelong friends and endless opportunities. You can find Ashley writing about career development, her favorite trends, and her personal experiences that she hopes will help other Her Campus readers navigate their lives.