Hi, friends! I’m back with another class review. This week I’m reviewing CITYROW, one of the hottest workout classes in New York City. CITYROW is currently expanding to several other states, so, I figured now is the perfect time to tell you about my experience. If you’re interested in hearing about CITYROW from a fitness instructor’s perspective, keep reading!
What is CITYROW?
The description provided by CITYROW is as follows: “CITYROW combines interval training with an indoor row machine to provide high-intensity sweat, low-impact burn, total body results.”
Each CITYROW class uses both a rower and weights. You’ll spend some portion of the class on the rower, and another portion of your class doing mat work (some using bodyweight, some using dumbbells). Each class is different, but the “finisher” at the end of the class is the same throughout the entire month.
CITYROW has one of the best intro deals I’ve seen. As a first-timer, you get 3 classes for the price of 1! $32 (plus tax) will get you 3 classes, which I think is very reasonable. They’re also on ClassPass, so you can always try them that way as well.
Pricing for regulars is on par with what I’ve seen at other boutique studios in NYC. There are several membership options as well as class passes:
I think this pricing is very reasonable for the area, especially since you get both cardio and resistance training in the same class.
I went to the Upper East Side location, though there’s also a studio in Union Square. The studio was clean and had a cute merch wall along with some cool decor. It’s a pretty Instagrammable location - plenty of rowers and photos/signs to pose in front of!
The place is pretty small. There’s no real “waiting area” for people who arrive early. There’s a small bench that can probably fit two people, but it’s inconveniently located right in front of the stairs to the actual workout room. I arrived 15 minutes early for my first class as instructed; it was totally unnecessary, though. I had already filled out the waiver online when I signed up for class and there was nothing else to do but stand and wait for the class before mine to exit. It got pretty cramped with just three of us waiting to get into the class. So, I wouldn’t show up more than 5 minutes early.
There are electronic lockers upstairs to hold your belongings. But one potential pain point is the fact that there’s only one shower to be shared by men and women. I came on weekends so I was able to shower at home afterward. Still, I can see this being really inconvenient if you’re someone who likes to take classes in the morning before work. CITYROW isn’t a low-sweat workout; so, you’ll definitely need to shower afterward. Other reviews have said that people sometimes wait up to 30 minutes for the shower after class.
The workout room itself is pretty small, although none of the weekend classes I took were full. They were all at around 50% capacity. I found the space between rowers to be pretty cramped. To the right of your rower is the mat you’ll use for class. I couldn’t help but bump into a rower or weights during some portions of the workout. I think it would be great if CITYROW actually took some of the rowers out and made class sizes smaller. The room just doesn’t seem large enough to fit the number of rowers and mats they currently have.
I really, REALLY enjoyed my CITYROW experience. The workout was very well-rounded and truly full body. The class is beginner-friendly but can be tailored to people with lots of rowing/weight training experience.
Each class begins with a warm-up that goes through the basics of proper rowing form. Whether you’ve been there once or 100 times, you’ll get a quick refresher on form during your warmup. The class alternates between intervals on the rower and strength work on the mat. I loved that we spent about half the class on the rower and half on strength work. You get some great cardio bursts, but you’ll also get some great weight training in. It’s up to you how heavy you want to go with your weights. You can always grab a couple of different sets and tailor the weight to the level of challenge you want.
I love that each class ends with the same finisher for the month because it allows you to track your progress and make sure you’re improving. In my second class of the month, I made sure to get more reps in with the finisher than I did the first time. I found that I didn’t push myself quite hard enough during the first class, but after the second class, I was dripping with sweat! The finisher was a great way to compete against me from class to class.
I went to CITYROW two days in a row and the classes were totally different from each other. One thing that was similar, though, is that both classes gave a full-body workout. The mat work targeted every body part! Plus, rowing itself is awesome because it works the whole body while being a wonderful source of cardio. I love that it’s a low impact way to get a great workout!
Lastly, I loved that the class is very metrics-based. You learn how to track your speed and power, and you actually have a target to try and hit. One of the things I didn’t like about SoulCycle was that there weren’t really any metrics to go by during class - I didn’t know if my resistance was too low or too high. But, CITYROW really gets you thinking about hitting your numbers. This helped me make sure I was pushing myself hard enough.
The difficulty of your class is going to depend on who your instructor is and how much you decide to push yourself. I found that the class offers plenty of opportunities to scale - whether it’s the number of meters rowed or how heavy your weights are. My first class was moderate and my last two classes were a little more challenging.
I’d say the CITYROW classes were relatively challenging, but not on the level of a class like CrossFit. The heaviest set of dumbbells I saw was 25 lbs. So, I can’t see a regular CrossFitter coming here and having a difficult time with the class. I left class feeling like I got a good workout even if it was nowhere close to the most challenging workouts I’ve had. I’m looking forward to trying notoriously difficult classes like Barry’s Bootcamp and ToneHouse to see how they compare to CITYROW.
CITYROW is good for a day when you want some cardio with a little weight-training mixed in. If you regularly incorporate resistance training into your workouts, you probably won’t be sore the next day.
If you consider yourself very fit or athletic, CITYROW may be good as a ClassPass or drop-in option. But you might not find it challenging enough to use as your main form of exercise. If you’re more of a beginner or just don’t want something as intense as a CrossFit, you could definitely use CITYROW as your main workout and supplement with other classes here and there.
I took a class with three different instructors - Chris, Shea, and Luis. They each had different teaching styles. I enjoyed my time with each of them, but my personal favorite was Luis! His teaching style really stood out to me. His class was the most challenging of them all and he really motivated me to push myself. I also just loved his personality and jokes. Chris stood out to me for being super inviting to those of us who were new and making sure we felt comfortable. I wish I had the chance to try a class with all of the instructors! As with any workout class, it’s important to find the instructors with the vibe that works best for you. We all have different preferences for class/teaching style!
Each of the three instructors I took a class with was super friendly! My fellow class members were also pretty friendly. I found the front desk staff to be a little less friendly. They didn’t do anything in particular; they just seemed a bit annoyed when spoken to. Not a dealbreaker for me as I think this just tends to be the vibe in a lot of NYC fitness studios.
From what I’ve seen in my three classes at CITYROW, the crowd tends to be relatively fit people who work out but aren’t juiceheads. You don’t get the stereotypical CrossFit crowd, but most people have prior workout experience. The instructors seem to have a few regulars. There’s also a pretty high transient population since this is a popular ClassPass option. I don’t get an overwhelming sense of community from this particular location. It’s probably not the best place to try and meet new people. It seems like most people come to get their workout and leave.
I didn’t feel any competitive vibes in any of the classes I took at CITYROW. While you do have metrics you’re trying to hit, you’re never really encouraged or pressured to compete with anyone else. Everyone does their own thing and competes with themselves, which I liked!
I absolutely think CITYROW is worth a try and worth the price - for the right person. I’d recommend everyone who has a location near them to try it out. With such a reasonably priced intro special, why not? Rowing is an awesome low-impact way to get your cardio in. If you’re a fan of classes like Barry’s Bootcamp that mix cardio with weights, you might consider supplementing with CITYROW to avoid too much constant pressure on the joints from the treadmill. If you’re new to working out or just want to lose weight, I think you’ll love CITYROW - it’s very beginner-friendly and provides a solid full-body workout. While the amenities leave something to be desired and the studio is a bit cramped, I think the membership pricing is fair.
Thanks so much for reading! Check out some of my other class reviews:
Les Mills BODYATTACK Review
Les Mills Barre Review
Acro Yoga Review
Les Mills BODYCOMBAT Review
So you attended training and got your certificate to teach your favorite group fitness class format! Now what?
Landing a position at a gym or studio as a group fitness instructor with no experience can be challenging, especially if you’re in an area where the market is super competitive. You may be asking yourself how the heck you’re supposed to land a class when you can’t get any experience! Don’t worry. With effort, you WILL land a class eventually. But, I have some advice that might help you get there a little easier.
Here are my tips for landing your first gig as a group fitness instructor.
Take classes at your studio of choice.
I got my most recent barre class without even really trying. I was trying ClassPass and saw that an athletic club nearby accepted it. I had always wanted to try spin classes, so I showed up to my first spin class and began talking to the instructor afterward. I happened to mention that I was a barre instructor at another gym, so she told one of the owners that I should be considered to replace their barre instructor who was leaving to go back to school. I auditioned shortly after and got the class!
By taking classes at the studio where you want to teach, you’re able to develop relationships with the instructors/staff. If they like you and know that you want to teach, there’s a good chance one of them may recommend you when a slot on the schedule opens up.
If you’re brand new and don’t have teaching experience, my recommendation is to take classes in the format you want to teach. That way, the instructor can see your abilities in that format and determine whether they can see you teaching it.
Get your fitness resume together.
If you’re like me and work in corporate America, you shouldn’t be using the same resume for fitness positions and corporate positions. I have separate resumes for fitness and full-time work, and I highly recommend you do the same. Just because you don’t have experience teaching yet doesn’t mean you can’t create a fitness resume.
Start with your certification(s). If you got a Group Fitness certification, add it to your resume. If you got a CPR/AED certification, add that too. Be sure to include any specialty certificates to teach certain formats (i.e. barre, indoor cycling, CrossFit, yoga, etc.). If you don’t have teaching experience, you can include other athletic achievements/experience you have. If you recently competed in a sport or weightlifting activity, you can include that. Maybe you’ve run a marathon or were on a dance team in college.
Your fitness resume should represent you as a person who’s passionate about fitness. Make sure you include an excellent cover letter that explains your fitness-related achievements/activities with any application you submit. Your cover letter should also explain what qualities you possess that would make you a great instructor.
Feel free to include any other activities that aren’t directly related to fitness, but demonstrate that you have the skills needed to teach. For example, include any teaching or tutoring experience showing that you have the ability to convey information to others. I included my project management certification and Spanish-speaking experience, as they may come in handy in the fitness world.
Offer to start as a sub.
Some studios don’t even realize they need sub instructors until the offer is presented to them. If the studio doesn’t have space for you on the permanent schedule, offer to be a sub instructor. I’ve recommended sub instructors for permanent slots, and you’d be surprised how often subs get called on. If you kill it as a sub, you’re bound to get a permanent class eventually (somewhere). Many instructors teach at multiple studios. So, doing a great job subbing for them could open up several opportunities for you.
Offer your services without being asked.
Many studios hire instructors by word of mouth and don’t bother making an online job posting. Don’t assume that a studio won’t hire another instructor just because they haven’t posted about it. I got one of my classes by simply sending an email with my fitness resume to the gym and telling them I was interested in teaching barre at their facility. Their barre instructor happened to be moving out of state and I got an audition. For tips on how to kill your audition, click here.
Apply in person.
If cold-emailing your resume to studios isn’t getting you anywhere, print some copies and share them in person. Personality is one of the most important parts of being a fitness instructor. When you speak to someone in person, you have a chance to let your personality shine in a way it can’t over email. The group fitness manager may not be there, but making a good impression on the staff will definitely earn you some points.
Contact your master trainer.
If you attended a group fitness instructor training, chances are you have a master trainer who conducted the training day(s). Hopefully, they gave you their contact info. They may have some connections in your area. So, thank them for training you and ask if they know of anyone looking for an instructor. Since they trained you themselves, they should be confident that you at least have the basics down! By attending training, you’ve already started building your fitness network.
Don’t give up!
If you’re in a competitive area (like NYC), you may not land your dream job in fitness at first. But if you stay persistent, you’ll eventually get your first instructor gig. You may be stuck with the class time nobody else wants or you may have to start out as a sub, but you can use these opportunities to your advantage. Eventually you’ll be deciding when and where you want to teach.
These are my tips for landing your first gig as a group fitness instructor. I hope you found them helpful! As you start working and your network starts expanding, you’ll find that more opportunities come your way.
Do you have any other tips that have helped you? Let me know in the comments!
Hey there! This week I have another fitness class review. I love trying out new classes, and there are so many cool ones out there, especially in the NYC area. I follow a lot of NYC-based fitness instructors and fitness bloggers, so I’ve been hearing a lot about BODYROK on social media. They have studio locations in California, Illinois, Montana, and NYC. If you’re interested in hearing a fitness instructor’s perspective on this class, keep on reading!
What is BODYROK?
BODYROK is a fast-paced 40-minute sculpting workout that uses a megaformer. BODYROK claims to “do in 40 minutes what other classes do in 60”. It’s a low impact workout - pretty much Pilates with music and lighting.
About the studio.
I went to the Union Square location in NYC. I was able to book my class a couple of weeks out. So you shouldn’t have to worry about setting an alarm to book for the upcoming week like you would with SoulCycle.
Some online reviews claimed that the studio was big, but I felt like it was pretty small. Yes, there are two floors, but they’re both tiny. There aren’t any showers; just cubbies downstairs to hold your belongings. I’d advise getting to class at least 15 minutes early because the locker area is small and gets really crowded. Plus, reformers in the best spots get claimed fast. The front desk was super friendly and helpful both before and after my class.
BODYROK offers a discount for first-timers. I paid $20 for my first class. The other option is $99 for 5 classes, but you have to use them all within 30 days of purchase. Since you’re not really saving anything with the 5-class option, I’d go with the $20 single-class pass if you want to try it. BODYROK is also on Classpass, which is another great way to try it!
BODYROK is on the pricier side. It’s $36 for a drop-in class if you aren’t a first time client. They offer class packages, but you aren’t really saving much by buying any of them. If you don’t want a membership commitment, your best option for saving money is 50 classes for $1,450. This breaks down to $29 a class. A bit better than the $36, but it still seems high to me. Especially since most people can’t afford to shell out that much money at one time for a workout class.
The monthly memberships don’t come in an unlimited option. They require a minimum 3-month contract, and any drop-ins beyond your monthly limit will cost you $25. 4 classes a month is $125, 8 classes a month is $220, and 12 classes a month is $300.
Is it worth the money? Keep reading to find out.
I liked my experience with BODYROK, but I didn’t love it.
If you’re new to the megaformer, this probably isn’t the class to start with. I’ve done plenty of mat Pilates, but this was my first megaformer class and I felt super lost throughout most of it. I didn’t feel like the instructor was very good at cueing. Even though the girl next to me was a regular, she seemed to be confused. She was also doing some of the moves wrong. It seemed like most of the class was lost; the instructor didn’t really know how to explain things in a way we’d understand. I’m sure that after a few classes things would become more intuitive, but I wouldn’t say it’s beginner-friendly by any means. I felt like I missed out on a lot of potentially good work because I spent half the class trying to figure out how to get into the pose/movement.
BODYROK claims to do in 40 minutes what other classes do in 60. My experience was that BODYROK attempts to do in 40 minutes what should be done in 60. There’s no real warm-up or cooldown and everything just seems really rushed. We weren’t in a lot of the moves long enough to benefit from them. Had the class been 10 to 15 minutes longer, I think I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more. The express-style class may work for people with tight schedules, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable relying on this as my main workout.
Another issue I had was that the workout was very uneven. For several moves, we didn’t do the same amount of work on our right side as our left, which is a pet peeve of mine. I personally prefer classes that use a set time or number of reps on each side instead of just winging it.
The class certainly wasn’t easy. If you’re experienced with the megaformer you’ll probably get a lot more out of it than I did. I was definitely sweating by the time class was over. I also like how challenging the megaformer can be.
Was I sore?
I left the class feeling like I kind of wasted my time. It wasn’t until later that day that I realized how sore my abs were! I took the class on a Saturday and didn’t feel the soreness completely go away until Monday night. This was such a pleasant surprise! Because I’m so active, I rarely get sore any more. When I do, it’s a great sign that my workout was super effective.
I didn’t feel anything anywhere else in my body - it was just my abs. But, at least I know the class was effective with the core work. I would’ve loved to have felt some soreness in my glutes/legs. Most of the class was focused on core, though, so I wasn’t expecting it anyway.
Tips for BODYROK first-timers.
Is BODYROK worth it?
BODYROK in NYC only offers the one 40-minute SCULPT class. I could see myself coming back via a service like Classpass when I’m looking for something quick and effective, especially now that I’ve gotten a little megaformer experience. I can’t say that I’d recommend buying a membership at BODYROK because I think your money would be better spent elsewhere. For the prices they charge, you can pay for an all-inclusive membership at a place like Equinox, which offers plenty of sculpting classes and much better amenities.
If you love megaformer classes or Pilates in general, I think BODYROK is a good express option for when you don’t have a full hour. As an instructor, I didn’t like that the class had no warm-up or cooldown. Even in a low impact sculpting class, they’re still important. To me, it felt like BODYROK skipped out on some of the important pieces of a workout class in order to make it 40 minutes. It felt rushed, but I got a great core workout.
BODYROK has definitely sparked my interest in megaformer classes. I’d love to see how my body responds to an hour-long class! I’m thinking I’ll try some more popular ones to get more of a full-body burn.
Thanks for reading! Do you prefer mat Pilates or reformer/megaformer classes? What are some of your favorites?
Let me know in the comments!
Hey, there! Today’s post is all about how to save time choreographing your barre classes. When I first started teaching barre, I found myself spending hours on end trying to come up with the right class. Along the way, I’ve developed some tips that help me quickly choreograph classes that my clients love. Every studio and instructor is different; so, all of my tips may not work for you. But I think you’ll find at least one tip you can put to use today to help you create your classes a little more effectively!
How I format my classes.
Every studio is different, and some studios require instructors to format their classes a certain way. This section only applies to instructors who have the freedom to format their classes the way they want. For example, I can do core work at any point in the class I choose.
I like to have a set order in which I go through the different sections of a class. If I want to occasionally switch it up, I may do that. But I typically don’t deviate from that order.
Having a set order allows me to easily mix and match sections from previous classes to create a “new” class. Which brings me to my next point…
Class notes storage.
I touched on this in my post where I talked about tips for your group fitness instructor audition. In my opinion, the best way to store your choreography notes is electronically. I don’t use a notebook or paper for my choreography notes at all, and here’s why.
Mixing and matching different sections of the class allows me to create a “new” class without really adding any new choreography. I can pull together a class using different series from a bunch of past classes and boom - I have a brand “new” class with hardly any extra work. But this becomes a lot more time consuming and hard to track when I have to flip through a huge notebook of notes (or multiple).
Here’s exactly what I do:
I have an armband that I wear during classes that holds my phone, which is a lot easier to glance at than a notebook on the floor. Plus, I have an electronic record of what I taught (and when) that makes it very easy to mix and match when I’m short on time.
Use outside resources.
If you’re a barre instructor, there’s a good chance you also have some awesome choreography ideas. It’s important to tap into that, but it’s also important to know that there’s no way you can come up with fresh ideas every week. It’s okay to go online and be inspired. There are tons of resources out there with excellent barre choreography ideas, both free and paid!
I was certified through Barre Above, and afterward, I decided to join their Elite program. It only costs $99 for a full year of new releases every month. I don’t get 100% of my choreography from Barre Above, but I always use at least one or two of their series in my classes. The Elite program gets you get monthly releases of different choreography styles, which I love. Every month there’s a traditional Barre Above release, a Pilates-focus release, a ballet-focus release, a musicality “to the beat” release, a HIIT/cardio release, and more. With all that fresh content being released so often, I can’t even get through it all by the time a new release is out!
I also get great free ideas from YouTube. BODYBARRE has some excellent and fun series. Their Bohemian Rhapsody Plie series is one of my clients’ favorites! There are always new ideas you can get from looking on the internet. Checking out what other people are doing will also spark you to come up with great new ideas.
Finally, take other people’s classes. I can’t stress this enough! Fitness is an ever-changing industry with new trends and movements coming out all the time. We can and should all be learning from one another. I can guarantee you there’s another instructor at your gym or studio who uses a technique you haven’t seen before. In that hour of class, you’ll get a workout AND save the hours you might have spent scouring the internet for that perfect hamstring movement using a Pilates ball. Take other people’s classes, and take them often. You’ll continue to learn new things that you can take back to your choreography sessions.
PS - Take classes outside of your format, too. Your classes will be a lot more unique and creatively designed because of it. Pilates, spin, yoga, and CrossFit have all taught me things I’ve implemented in my barre classes.
Everyone’s classes are a little different, which is one thing that makes freestyle barre classes so awesome. I personally find it so much better to use music in the foreground of my class and develop choreography to the music in my playlist. My clients like it better and catch onto moves easier. Plus, it makes things a whole lot easier for me as an instructor and choreographer. Let’s not forget that Barre is ballet-based. Even though it’s not a ballet class, adding musicality to it and getting clients to understand an 8-count makes the class better (in my opinion).
Storing notes electronically allows me to quickly create a “new” class using sections of previous classes when I’m short on time. This seriously comes in handy during busy weeks!
I’m a huge advocate of using online resources for choreography inspiration. When you find a series you like to use, you can repeat it in multiple classes to a different song to give it a new feel.
While I do try to introduce at least one or two new movements to my clients every week, I don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel every class. There are lots of ways to make your classes feel new without actually spending hours coming up with new content every week.
If you’re a new instructor and you feel like you’re spending way too much time planning your classes, try some of these tips! And keep in mind that it’ll get much easier as you become more experienced.
If you’re an instructor, do you have any tips you use to save time creating classes as a group fitness instructor? How often do you use online resources for ideas?
If you take group fitness classes, do you like to have a brand new class every week? Or do you prefer some aspects of the class to be repeated?
Let me know your thoughts below in the comments! And check out the workouts I did last week.
Hi, friends! This week, I’m doing an honest review of 9Round and letting you know what it’s all about. I signed up for a free trial at my local 9Round location and didn’t let them know I’d be writing about my experience. This review isn’t sponsored and these opinions are 100% my own.
What is 9Round?
According to their website, 9Round is “a specialized fitness center for people who want a unique, fun, and proven workout that guarantees results. 9Round offers a kickboxing themed fitness program that incorporates a functional, interval, cardiovascular, and circuit training regimens. The programs consist of a proprietary system of nine challenging workout stations developed by a World Champion Kickboxer.”
9Round is a franchise with over 750 locations nationwide. The workout is 30 minutes long and consists of 9 stations that differ every day. The first two stations, which target strength, might use equipment like dumbbells or kettlebells. Stations 3-8 are kickboxing fitness stations where you punch and kick a bag. The final station is an abs/core station. There’s always a trainer to help you with each of your stations but there’s no “class”. You can work out at any time during the gym’s open hours. Rounds switch every 3 minutes and you can hop in at whatever time you want.
What I liked.
My 9Round workout was awesome. I was dripping with sweat by the end and I’d learned something new! This was my first time working with a speed bag, which I found really fun to learn. The 3-minute rounds went by super fast. This was partly because for 30 seconds of each round, the trainer threw something different at us. Everyone in the class had to do it regardless of which round we were on.
I love that there aren’t class times. You just come whenever the facility is open and hop in when you’re ready. You don’t have to worry about being late or not finding a time that works for your schedule. I also love that it’s so quick! I felt like I got just as good of a workout as I would in an hour-long class.
I really like that the workout is different every day. This is one of the reasons I love CrossFit. Variety keeps me wanting to come to class! The trainer was also super helpful when I had questions. The facility is super small, so it was easy for her to keep an eye on all of us and make necessary corrections.
The 9Round system also gives you a pretty well-rounded workout. There are elements of cardio; some that are kickboxing-based and some that aren’t. There’s also strength work; we did kettlebell snatches, an excellent compound movement. The workout made great use of compound HIIT movements as well, like box jumps and mountain climbers. We did plenty of burpees too. I love that the workout always ends with core work. It’s so important!
Perhaps my favorite thing was the price. There are several prices for an unlimited membership, which depends on how many months you agree to. There’s a start-up fee that includes your equipment (gloves, hand wraps, heart rate monitor, etc.). It’s a little weird that there’s no information about pricing available online...at all. They don’t tell you until you come into the facility for a class. So, I honestly don’t remember what all the pricing options were. I believe the most inexpensive was around $50 a month for a 12-month agreement, though. Compared to some of the fitness class prices I’ve seen lately, it’s not bad (considering the workout is different every day and you’ll always get some level of one-on-one attention from the trainer on duty). 9Round memberships all include a nutrition program. You can also see your stats on screens throughout the class using the heart rate monitor that’s included in your start-up fee.
What I didn’t like.
9Round locations don’t have showers. This is standard across all locations. If you’re someone who likes to work out in the morning then shower and head straight to work, this might be a deterrent. I prefer working out in the evening anyway, but having the option to shower at the gym and head straight to work is nice. Apparently, they don’t have showers so that they can keep costs affordable, which I can appreciate.
I know 9Round trainers go through a training process that’s specific to 9Round, but I don’t know what other qualifications they hold. I get the feeling that some of them aren’t certified group fitness instructors and could probably benefit from earning these credentials.
As a fitness instructor, proper form when executing exercises is important to me. The average person can’t execute a regular push-up with proper form, even if they think they can. I’m one of those people! In order to maintain excellent form, I need to come down to my knees when I do them. During my 9Round workout, we had to do push-ups. I came down to my knees and started doing them; a few other people did too. The trainer told us that unless we’re hurt, we shouldn’t be on our knees. I guess I’ll come off my knees and do them with improper form, then?
I get more out of push-ups on my knees using good form than regular push-ups with bad form. A lot more. Most of the people in the room weren’t capable of doing a regular push-up with proper form, but they were made to do it with bad form anyway. This really rubbed me the wrong way. While I got a great workout, it grinds my gears when fitness instructors don’t understand the benefit of modifications. There are people of all fitness levels working out here - we shouldn’t all be doing the same thing.
I also noticed that the trainer’s demonstration of how to execute box jumps wasn’t done properly. They didn’t have us extend the hips fully at the top - the focus was just on getting up and down as quickly as possible.
I also would’ve liked more of a warm-up. The first station is always jumping rope, which I think is nice, but the warm-up could be more robust. Maybe something resembling what we’d see in the next few rounds?
Finally, there wasn’t any time in between rounds. Not only do you have zero time to transition to your next round, but you also need to figure out what you’re doing at your next round. This may be less of an issue for people who come all the time. But if you’re new and the trainer needs to explain to you what to do, this is cutting into your 3 minutes at that round.
There were people who had been there before who needed an explanation of the rounds as well. I would imagine this improves as you keep going, but I still think they could work in a 30 second transition period in between rounds. I understand that not having any rest time is part of keeping the workout so short, though.
I think 9Round is a solid, affordable option for busy people who like to have someone else create their workouts for them. The ability to show up whenever you want as long as they’re open is a huge advantage, and I think options like this will become more common in the fitness industry. The workout gives you a well-rounded, challenging session in just 30 minutes.
I do think that almost all of what’s done in the 9Round workouts can be done at a gym on your own for $10 to $20 month. But the convenience of not having to think about what your workout is going to be for the day is worth the extra money for some people. You’re also probably going to work harder in these 30 minutes than you would on your own because you’re being pushed by your trainer.
I do, however, feel that the camaraderie that’s typical of a group fitness experience is lost with the 9Round system. There isn’t much interaction between participants, at least from my experience. You truly are getting in, working out, and getting out all in 30 minutes. Some people like that, but if you’re looking for a workout community to become a part of, you may want to look elsewhere. I find that in CrossFit, although we may all be at different fitness levels, there’s a really strong community and a lot of interaction between participants during classes.
CrossFit, on the other hand, is up to triple the price of 9Round and has set class times. If you’re looking for a more affordable option or aren’t interested in learning how to powerlift, 9Round is a good place to start. You may find that after a few months of training there, you’ve picked up enough that you can do the workouts at the gym on your own.
Hi, friends! Today’s post is all about why I decided not to get certified to teach a Beachbody Live group fitness class format. I’m also telling you what my workout routine was last week. If you’re interested in hearing about this, keep reading.
What is Beachbody Live?
If you’ve been into fitness for a while, chances are you’ve heard of a Beachbody Live format or at least know who Shaun T is. He’s a fitness world legend who’s developed several of the Beachbody Live formats, including P90X and Insanity.
Beachbody Live class formats allow instructors to be certified by completing a 1-day training, much like many pre-choreographed formats that exist today. Beachbody offers home workout programs, but also provides Beachbody Live certifications so that instructors can teach the programs as a live group fitness class.
The Beachbody Live formats currently available for certification are as follows:
Core de Force Live - A high energy, non-contact group fitness class that mixes MMA-inspired cardio drills with explosive power moves for a full-body conditioning workout. No equipment needed.
Insanity Live - A cardio-based, athletic style workout that combines HIIT and strength moves. Each high energy workout is packed with cardio drills, plyometrics, and bodyweight strength moves. No weights required.
P90X Live - A total-body strength and conditioning group fitness class. Designed to burn calories and build muscle using light to moderate weights.
PiYo Live - Designed to build strength, improve flexibility, and tone muscles. You’ll perform a series of high-intensity moves using only your bodyweight, all without putting unnecessary stress on your body.
Turbo Kick Live - A high-energy, fat-burning workout that combines cardio kickboxing with body-sculpting HIIT moves.
Transform Live - A high-intensity cardio conditioning class that uses a step to ramp up your calorie burn.
Why was I considering getting certified in a Beachbody Live format?
I currently teach barre and the occasional HIIT class. While challenging, my barre classes are always low impact. When I teach HIIT classes, I typically have my participants at different stations at a given time. I demo movements at the beginning of class, but I spend the majority of class correcting form and encouraging my clients.
I’ve been on the hunt for a format I can teach that’s high impact but will also allow me to get a good sweat on as I teach. Some of the first ones that came to mind were Insanity, P90X, and Transform.
Transform was at the top of my list since it seems like a fun re-invention of the step classes that were popular a couple of decades ago. It would also give me a great cardio session as I teach my class. Shaun T--a fantastic choreographer-- also created Transform. Since it’s a brand new format, there are lots of local trainings happening in the coming months.
Why did I decide against it?
The main reason that I decided not to get certified to teach a Beachbody Live format was that all of the Beachbody Live class formats are pre-choreographed, meaning that the instructor doesn’t develop the moves or playlists.
The choreography and playlists are given to the instructor by Beachbody in the form of “releases”. Zumba and Les Mills follow a similar structure. If you’re interested in hearing my thoughts on some of the Les Mills programs, see the following links:
Ultimately, I don’t think pre-choreographed formats are for me and here’s why...
Lack of creative freedom.
One of my favorite parts of teaching is coming up with music and choreography. While it can be time-consuming, this is one of my creative outlets. It also allows me to tailor my class to the wants and needs of my clients. If a client tells me s/he wants a longer calves section during barre, I can easily fit that into my next class. If I were teaching P90X, I wouldn’t have any control over which body parts we focus on - I’d have to teach the choreography I was given.
In general, I also tend to dislike the music that comes with pre-choreographed formats. Zumba has really awesome music sometimes, but formats like Les Mills and Beachbody Live use awful fitness remixes of popular songs. Everyone’s taste is different, but I rarely like the music in those classes. I also find that my clients love the music I put into my playlists and it’s always fun to take song requests for future classes.
Teaching group fitness isn’t my full-time job; it’s a passion project of mine. I don’t think I’ll be as passionate about teaching choreography that isn’t mine to a playlist I didn’t create. Once I give creative control to someone else, I no longer feel like the class is mine. Yes, instructors of pre-choreographed formats can add their own personal touch to the way they deliver the choreography. But they really have no freedom to change things up if they want to. Teaching a class I’m not 100% passionate about would be a disservice to my clients and myself.
Issues with the Beachbody brand.
There’s no doubt that Beachbody has some of the best trainers in the business on their team. They also have some uniquely awesome workouts. Clients at one of the gyms I work at love their P90X and PiYo classes. However, I have some conflicts with aspects of the Beachbody brand.
I don’t support MLMs.
If you’re on social media, chances are you’ve either seen or been contacted by a Beachbody “coach”. As a fitness professional who went through the process of getting certified, it’s pretty infuriating to see people with zero credentials calling themselves “coaches” and attempting to make money off of people who don’t know any better.
Aside from offering the live programs, Beachbody is an MLM company. MLM stands for multi-level marketing. Also known as network marketing, MLM consultants earn commission from any product they sell as well as product sold by other consultants they recruit, known as their “downline”. MLMs require their consultants to pay a fee, typically for a start-up kit of some kind, in order to start selling. One of the most common themes in an MLM is that consultants focus more on trying to recruit people to join their “team” and start selling rather than actually selling the product themselves. According to recent studies, more than 99% of MLM consultants end up losing money. Some other examples of popular MLMs you've probably heard of include Herbalife, ItWorks, Mary Kay, and Monat. Now, back to Beachbody.
Their “coaches” attempt to recruit more “coaches” to be part of their “team”. Some of the tactics I’ve seen Beachbody “coaches” using are downright disgusting. Targeting women who recently gave birth and are insecure about their weight gain, single moms, immigrants, and people from low-income areas are just a few examples. MLMs have ruined a lot of people’s lives, and I find that a lot of their tactics are really dishonest. This isn’t meant to be an anti-MLM post, so here are some good resources if you’re interested in learning more about what I mentioned above.
If you’re in search of a fitness/nutrition plan or looking for motivation to get fit, please don’t seek the advice of a Beachbody “coach”. The vast majority of these people aren’t certified in anything fitness-related and are trying to sell you something. And whatever you do, please don’t give them any of your money! If you’re looking for someone to push you, find a good certified personal trainer or registered dietician.
As far as I know, the Beachbody Live programs aren’t part of the MLM side of Beachbody. However, it all falls under the Beachbody umbrella. If I were going to teach a pre-choreographed format, it wouldn’t be one associated with practices I don’t agree with.
Who should be a Beachbody Live instructor?
I think a lot of people would have a good experience teaching a Beachbody Live or other pre-choreographed format. There are a ton out there. Beachbody Live, Les Mills and Zumba are some of the most popular companies offering pre-choreographed classes. Each of those has multiple programs you can choose from to be certified to teach in. I would encourage you to do your research on the companies as well as the programs they offer if you’re interested in teaching a pre-choreographed format.
New instructors or people who don’t want to spend time creating choreography and playlists.
Did you just get your group fitness certification but don’t know where to start? A pre-choreographed format like one of the programs Beachbody Live offers may be an option to consider. You’re guaranteed to get an effective class that was designed by professionals who know what they’re doing. This can help relieve pressure for people who are new to teaching. Or, maybe you’re not new, but you’d rather not focus on creating choreography and playlists. If this is you, Beachbody Live programs may be a good fit. They’ve already done the legwork for you - all you have to do is learn the choreography and deliver it to your class!
People interested in becoming a Master Trainer.
If you’ve ever attended a training to become certified to teach a particular class format/modality, you were probably taught by a Master Trainer. All certifying group fitness companies have them. If you’re interested in hearing about my experience with Barre Above training, click here.
If you want to “train the trainers”, you can become a Master Trainer and lead the trainings that develop new instructors in your format. Most companies require you to have taught that particular class a certain number of times before you can become a Master Trainer. This is generally more financially lucrative than just teaching.
Becoming a Master Trainer for one of the big companies like Beachbody Live, Les Mills, or Zumba can open the door to lots of opportunities. This is a great place to start if you want to make fitness a full-time career. Beachbody Live programs are wildly popular and the brand has been around for years. If you want to become a Master Trainer, getting certified to teach is the first step!
If you really enjoy Beachbody Live programs and don’t have an issue with their MLM alignment, I’d say go for it. I don’t think teaching a Beachbody Live format is for me, but I know people who do it and love it.
What’s next for me?
I’m still thinking about getting certified to teach a more high-intensity, sweat-filled class. I’m actually considering indoor cycling! There are a few different companies I can get certified through, but I’ve been looking at good old Spinning. It’s one of the most popular and it’s been around a long time. I think indoor cycling would be a great format for me to teach because instructors always get a great workout and I’d have the freedom to use whatever music I like. While there are only so many moves you can do on a bike, there are ways to keep it exciting.
If anyone has any recommendations or tips for getting certified to teach indoor cycling, I’m all ears! Check out last week’s workouts below.
Thanks so much for reading!
What are your thoughts on Beachbody Live? Do you take any of their live classes or teach them? What’s your favorite class? Let me know in the comments!
Hi there! Today, I’m sharing my tips for keeping up with your workout routine while traveling/vacationing. I partnered with adidas to create this post as part of their Staying Fit For Summer campaign!
Since I spent most of last week in Toronto, my workout routine was very different from usual! This was my first time in Canada and I had so much fun. While I didn’t get in much resistance training, I stayed active, which was my focus during this vacation.
If you want to know my tips for staying active on vacation, keep reading!
Thank you for reading this week’s post! I hope you found some of my tips helpful! These are some of the things that help me stay active while I’m on vacation. Do you have any other tips to share? How do you plan to stay active during any upcoming vacations? Let me know in the comments!
Other posts you might like:
Hey there! Are you a group fitness instructor or interested in becoming one? Or maybe you’re just curious about what it’s like. If so, keep on reading! This post is about the HONEST pros and cons of being a group fitness instructor.
All in all, I think the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to being a group fitness instructor. While making extra money is awesome, my biggest reasons for teaching aren’t financial. Yes, making $45 for a 50 minute class sounds great. But when you factor in the time it takes to prepare for class, arriving early to greet clients, and staying after to chat with them, the hourly rate goes down. If you’re in it for the money, you’ll probably find yourself disappointed!
My day job pays the bills and my fitness jobs provide some extra income, but the best thing about teaching is how fulfilling it is on so many levels. Preparing my choreography and playlists takes me a lot less time than when I first started teaching. But even when it took forever, it was something I enjoyed doing. I don’t teach any pre-choreographed formats - all my choreography and playlists are 100% original. Teaching gives me an opportunity to express myself creatively. It’s also really honed my public speaking skills, increased my confidence, and contribute to my ability to network. Most of all, the feeling I get when I have a room full of people who got an awesome workout is unmatched.
Check out my workouts from last week:
Taught barre class
Taught PiYo class
Taught barre class
Taught barre class
Do you want to know anything else about being a group fitness instructor? If you teach group fitness, what’s your favorite and least favorite part? If you’ve tried group fitness before, how did you like it?
Let me know in the comments!
I've been on a huge Les Mills On Demand kick lately! I've been so busy with new work projects and teaching group fitness classes that home workouts have been the ultimate timesaver. I'm trying out as many Les Mills On Demand programs as I can during my free trial. I want to try and evaluate Les Mills as a whole. I've tried several other Les Mills programs already (Les Mills Barre, Les Mills Bodyattack) and I'm considering reviewing Les Mills Grit as well. Let me know if you're interested.
Next on my list to try was Bodycombat!
Here's the description from the website:
"Step into a BODYCOMBAT workout and you’ll punch and kick your way to fitness, burning up to 740 calories* along the way. This high-energy martial-arts inspired workout is totally non-contact and there are no complex moves to master. A LES MILLS™ instructor will challenge you to up the intensity and motivate you to make the most of every round. You’ll release stress, have a blast and feel like a champ. BODYCOMBAT is available as either a 55- minute workout, 30-minute express workout and an online exclusive Remix workout."
To give you all some background, I've done Muay Thai kickboxing classes in the past (both hitting a heavy bag and doing pad work with a partner). I always left those classes drenched in sweat. They were great for cardio and practicing technique.
*Side note* If you're in Connecticut and want to try a great mixed martial arts gym, I highly recommend Fighting Arts Academy in West Haven. The head coach, Nick Newell, is a professional fighter who fought on the UFC Contender Series. He’s a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu! After just three months of training there, I competed in a jiu-jitsu tournament. Whether you want to become a professional fighter or just want something fun to do to stay in shape, you should check it out! Nick offers a free trial week, so you can try it before you commit!
I've also done cardio kickboxing classes (no equipment or partner) at local gyms and left mostly unimpressed. The music was usually pretty terrible and they were all pretty similar.
I was very impressed with Bodycombat, though. It wasn't the most challenging workout I've done, but it was very fun and I did sweat. I really liked that this class wasn't just a bunch of kickboxing combos. They took movements from different martial arts - even Capoeira, which happened to be my favorite part! This was something I'd never seen in a martial arts fitness class, and the moves really target the legs.
The music was outstanding and matched the exercises perfectly. Even though it’s a cardio workout, I also got in a good amount of bodyweight strength training, especially with the Capoeira. I wasn't as crazy about the music in Bodyattack, but I loved most of the songs in this release of Bodycombat.
On a difficulty scale of 0 to 10, I'd give this class a 7. This is a good workout to do after a day of heavy lifting. It’s a good way to sweat and keep the muscles loose, but it’s probably too intense for an active rest day workout. I’d say this is one of the most fun workouts I've done; Les Mills really hit the nail on the head with this choreography. Transitions were flawless and the variety provided in the class was excellent. You won't be bored doing this workout. Bodycombat did a good job activating the core, but not enough that you'll be sore the next day if you exercise regularly. I also appreciate that there was some HIIT during the session. The instructions provide tons of modifications; don't be afraid to try this class out if you're a beginner.
As with most Les Mills On Demand programs, the instructors were a bit cheesy. Some people love this and some people hate it - it just makes me laugh, which I guess is a good thing! Of course, if you're doing Bodycombat live, then this will vary by instructor personality. In my experience, the Les Mills Barre instructors do a lot less of the cheesy yelling and are more calm and collected. That’s more my speed!
I chose a 45-minute version of Bodycombat. But you can choose a shorter or longer class with Les Mills On Demand. It went by very quickly since there were so many different martial arts covered! As with the other Les Mills programs I've tried, I did this at home in my basement.
Overall, I'd definitely recommend Bodycombat for all levels of fitness. You can choose how difficult you want the class to be - Les Mills programs are top notch when it comes to providing progressions and regressions. I had a lot of fun with this one!
Check out my workouts from last week:
Lower body day
Taught 55 minute barre class
30 minute barre workout at home
Taught 50 minute barre class
30 minutes of lifting
55 minute HIIT class
Rest day - went to my mom’s wedding!
30 minute HIIT workout at home
Have you tried Bodycombat? Did you find it as fun as I did? Did you meet your fitness goals last week, and what are your goals this week?
Let's talk about it!
Hi, everyone! This week’s post is going to be all about acro yoga. I tried my first class a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been coming every week since then! Check out my Instagram to see a couple of poses from my first ever class. If you’re interested in trying acro yoga, have no idea what it is, or love it and want to know my thoughts on it, keep reading.
What is acro yoga?
Acro yoga (often called acro by its practitioners) combines yoga and acrobatics. There are a bunch of different flows and postures, and all of them involve lifting another person in the air. There’s a base, a flyer, and a spotter. The base is the person doing the lifting, the flyer is the person who gets lifted, and the spotter makes sure everyone is safe at all times. Some flows and postures can be especially dangerous, so it’s important to always have a spotter. If you want to see a couple of the flows I did as a first-timer, check out my Instagram!
Why did you take this class?
One of the fitness centers where I teach barre has partnerships with several local studios. Through this partnership, I can take classes at all of those studios free. Breathing Room is one such studio, in downtown New Haven, where I had already taken a couple of classes. I initially signed up for their acro class by mistake! I thought I was signing up for the aerial silk class (which is another class I’ll be trying and writing about soon!). Still, I decided to stay when I arrived and realized this was acro rather than aerial silk.
I did competitive gymnastics growing up and love anything that allows me to flip or fly. I had no idea what to expect in this first class, but I ended up learning a bunch of new tricks! This was an open class where all experience levels were welcome. There’s also an intermediate class that you need instructor permission to attend.
If you’re local, check out Breathing Room! They offer many different kinds of classes. You’re sure to find one you’ll enjoy.
The class is listed as a 1-hour class (most people were there well over 1 hour). I stayed for about 2 hours - there wasn’t really a firm end time since there was no class after ours. We started with some stretching and sun salutations. Then, the instructor grabbed a couple of volunteers to demonstrate some poses. After that, we broke out into groups and began trying out poses. We rotated groups every few minutes so that we had a chance to work with everyone there. Each person spent time in all three roles (base, flyer, spotter) but I spent most of the class flying. We started with a pose called bird, then worked on some flows using that pose. Once we started working on the star pose, things got really interesting!
There are lots of cool things you can do from the star position. If you’re a flyer, all of them require a lot of trust in your base and spotter! I got to work on flowing from star to side star, then rolling through to bird. I worked on a couple of other flows as well.
This class was an excellent workout. Whether you’re the base or flyer, you’ll definitely work up a sweat. It’s tougher than it seems; not everyone in the class was even able to get up to star and hold it. So, if you do it in your first class, pat yourself on the back! Not only was it a good workout, but it was incredibly fun. When the instructor would demo a move, I’d think to myself “there’s no way I’m going to be able to do that”. But you’d be surprised what you can do when you have a good base!
I noticed that with certain bases, movements were a lot more challenging than with others. That’s why it was great to get to work with just about everyone in the class; to figure out who I work well with.
Any tips for a beginner? Try all three roles. It’s important to try being a base, flyer, and spotter. Even if you go in thinking there’s a role you’ll prefer, try them all out. I really liked flying, which seemed like an obvious choice since I’m pretty light and like being up in the air. But being a base helped me understand how to better distribute my weight while flying.
I’ve really loved incorporating heated vinyasa yoga into my routine each week. It’s a great way to complement a long day at work. I never really cared for traditional yoga, but add heat to the room and I’m there. I’m also trying to make sure I get in at least one good sauna session per week! Check out my workouts from last week below:
75 minute heated vinyasa class
Taught 55-minute barre class
55 minute barre class
Taught 50-minute barre class
30 minutes of lifting
Sauna and steam room session
Taught 55-minute barre class
55 minute CrossFit class
Home barre workout
Do you prefer hot yoga or regular temperature? Would you like me to talk about my experience with Bikram yoga? What are your thoughts on saunas after a workout?
I’d love to hear from you. Let me know!
Other posts you might like:
How I Became a Barre Instructor
Les Mills Barre Review
How I Passed the ACE Group Fitness Instructor Exam