“Ugh, I’m so bad at this class. I got corrected so many times.”
“I don’t want to go to class with you because you’ll see how many adjustments I get from the instructor.”
“The class was good but I felt so singled out with corrections.”
Sound familiar? Sound like you? I am always surprised when I hear people say statements like this about a workout. I hear it all the time. And I don’t get it.
One of the greatest benefits of a group fitness class with a great instructor is getting corrected. This is one of the most important reasons I love Refine so much. Despite having taken Refine for about 16 months, I get corrected in every single class.
And I feel fortunate for this. I actually like when I show up and there are only a few other people there, not because I don’t want the business to succeed but because it means I will get even more attention and correction. This is why the one-instructor classes at Refine are capped at 12 students and the larger classes have two instructors, and why the instructors primarily come from dance backgrounds.
Sometimes, one little correction alerts me to something I’ve been doing incorrectly for a very long time. Once the instructor fixes me, something I do all the time like a plank becomes like an entirely new exercise when I’m moved back just an inch! It’s so much harder and I feel my abs working much, much more.
Other times, despite having been corrected in a certain exercise plenty of times before — I’m thinking of lat pulldowns here — my body just falls back to its old habits. It takes an instructor coming up to me and putting her hand between my shoulder blades to remind me to actively squeeze them together. Getting into this habit will help me not only during the exercise, but always. Who wants their shoulders hunched up by their ears all the time? I’m constantly remembering my instructors’ advice and actively press my shoulders down and back while at my desk at work.
Or the way my body naturally leans back during some exercises. When I’m moved forward a little, it feels wrong, like I’m too far forward — but that’s just because I’ve been doing it wrong forever and have to get accustomed to this new feeling. Now I make an effort to keep my body forward during certain exercises even if it feels “off” because I’ve been corrected so many times that I know it is right.
No matter how much I might think I’ve “perfected” a move, there are always ways to improve and I wouldn’t know any of these ways without the constant instruction and guidance from the teachers. Not to mention the times I might be doing something in an unsafe way that could lead to injury — those are ESPECIALLY the times I am grateful to have such targeted attention.
There are also always corrections to make an exercise harder once you have the hang of it. I never would have thought to keep my elbows at a 45-degree angle during pushups if I didn’t have someone correcting me to do so. I did them at more of a 90 degree angle for a very long time and didn’t know there was a “more advanced” way. Now this exercise comes with an entirely new set of challenges, which leads to more ways to improve.
And then there are the smaller corrections. During “jump rope” (there aren’t actual jump ropes but we do the exercise as though there were) I might get a reminder to keep my abs in. Little things that take pressure off my back, strengthen my core and if I remember to always follow this advice, will improve the overall shape I am in.
I recently read a couple of class reviews where the reviewer complained about getting corrected in a class, and compared herself to another student who “did well.” She felt discouraged and didn’t want to go back to the class. And I have a friend who also feels frustrated by corrections. She thinks it means she’s in “bad” shape. But it doesn’t matter what shape you are in — every single person can stand to be corrected to be sure they are getting the most effective and safest workout possible. That is the benefit of small classes where the instructors are knowledgeable on proper form! That is one of the reasons they come with a higher price tag. You’re paying to get your best workout, but how can you get it if you aren’t doing things correctly?
I guarantee that you are NOT being singled out though. You might feel like you are because you’re focused on yourself. But everyone around you is going through the same thing even if you don’t see it.
So many factors determine why someone might not get corrected as much as someone else. Maybe this person has a fitness or dance background; maybe she works with a personal trainer and is familiar with proper form; maybe her body naturally aligns correctly or she has an intuitive sense of the “right” way to do something. Maybe it’s luck.
One of the biggest misconceptions that my own friends have is that I never get corrected. They say that because — like me — they are focused on themselves during class. They don’t see the constant corrections I get, just like I don’t see the corrections they get. I’m not judging them for getting corrected (which is a reason they don’t want to take class with me!). I’m not even noticing it! We are all working out for ourselves.
Not getting corrected brings its own insecurities as well. In a class where I’m not being fixed as much, I start to wonder if I’m being ignored. Maybe the instructor isn’t paying attention to me? Is it because they think I have a handle on this and don’t need to look at me? Or am I just doing it right? Or do they not even see me? It’s ironic that so many people feel singled out when they’re corrected but I feel singled out when I’m not!
I know it can feel frustrating when it seems like you’re doing every exercise wrong, but that is not the case. If you’re someone who gets discouraged by instructors fixing you, try and remember that it’s for your own good, and remember that even the strongest in the class are being corrected as well.
As I like to say: If we did everything perfectly, we’d all be teaching!
How do you feel about corrections?