Big News from Last Month: Part Two

Like I said, we had two really big pieces of news last month that we didn't plaster all over the world right away, b/c we wanted to be sensitive to wait until all parties involved were informed and/or the dust had settled. (This & #1 were also two of the weights my stomach was knotted over until they were settled last month!)

Fire up your flux capacitor and pretend it's Thursday, April 18th, 2013 as you read:

About a month ago, the head of Group Fitness at the closer gym location came to me concerned about my Thursday class numbers. (She is *obsessed* with mega-packing classes, b/c that's how she gets evaluated by corporate. Higher participation = bigger bonuses.) The club minimum to run a class is 15; I was steady at 24. Not enough: she wanted well over 30.

I was so nervous about this mess, that I even rearranged Annelise's birthday party: the gym is having a big public Dance Jam featuring all of the instructors on Sunday the 28th...exactly when we were going to do her party. I felt like I *really* needed to be there to promote this class, so even I switched her party to Friday evening the 26th after gymnastics - *just* to be there to bump this class.

She emailed me Sunday that she was going to team-teach with me this week & next "to draw some of her regular students in to boost the numbers." I was not excited: we are oil & water - our styles are 100% opposite. It just doesn't make for a good class; but I was willing to do whatever she asked, so I swallowed my pride and replied: "How do you want to split the time? I have my playlist set down to the minute - right now it's designed to build up to anaerobic threshold, interval down, squats, heart rate back up, calf/leg toning, & finally abs before cool-down - so I just need to know how many minutes to cut & where. Do you want to start with the warm-up/beginning? I think that would be a great draw!" I wanted to prep, so I didn't look unprepared in any way.

No response. Ever.

I got there to teach today. She said, "I got your email; I like to just tag team back and forth, so I'll bring them up, you bring them down." *sigh* So no real plan, no steady flow, no continuity. I kept my agreeable smile on, and students steadily streamed in. (Exactly 24 people, again, by the way.)

Then she dropped the bomb: "So here's the plan. We'll team-teach again next time, and then this class is going to change formats after next week."
Read: you're canceled.
One minute before we start class.
A class I'm already uncomfortable teaching today with no actual plan, where I already felt under the gun and that I was being tested by her.
And after I even made the effort to change Annelise's birthday to promote this class that won't even exist then.

I plastered on my stage smile and did my best.

It's very hard to work with her. She is a *GREAT* fitness instructor - very knowledgeable and incredibly fit!!! But she's not a dancer. When she teaches "Zumba", it's not Zumba. It's aerobics to Zumba music. 16 counts of lunges, 32 counts of knees, etc. She doesn't do dance choreography to a song and stick with it. She doesn't have routines. She has no dance background, and that's really OK: she has certainly carved out a HUGE niche of other non-dancey people at this location who LOVELOVELOVE what she does, and that's fabulous. But it's not really what Zumba is about, and it's not what I do. I have set dance steps to each of my songs. I have a playlist that is arranged purposely. My classes don't stop to change CDs. I'm not a drill sergeant; I'm your BFF encourager.

We are just night & day, style-wise, and it doesn't make for a comfortable class. My regulars had a weird time switching b/t us...

...And then, in the middle of her set, she announced this Zumba class was going away after next week and would be replaced with something else.

One of my usual ladies beside me froze and said to me, "What?! What is changing? Oh no!" :-/ Yeah. Was that the best way to tell *my* class? I personally felt like I should have been the one to tell them, but she definitely likes everyone to know she's the one in charge.

My core group of ~24 may not have been huge, but:
1) It more than met the 15 people minimum. (BTW - I found out later the minimum is actually 12.)
2) Those ladies were dedicated.
3) They love my style, and they don't get it from anyone else's Zumba. (I'm very good at explaining the steps to non-dancers; no one feels lost or intimidated; I'm the least scary Zumba teacher for newbies you'll ever meet!)
4) The biggest complaint about this gym is that the classes are too overcrowded; I feel this number was perfect for the studio size: able to move w/o mowing down your neighbor.

Two other ladies came up and asked if there was any way to make comments anonymously, b/c they are scared of her, and they are so sad about my class. Yeah.

I wanted to burst into tears...but I didn't.
My friend Carmen had come to class and said, "Do you want to get out of here and get some lunch?" I called JB & told him everything on the way, too.

OK, so now time to flip the script: this is for the best. Yes, I'm still angry and my feelings are hurt, but I have HATED going to teach there for the last month & a half, b/c all I do is stress out over the numbers! "Omigosh, am I going to have more people?!" All of the joy of Zumba had been completely sucked out by that bureaucracy...and honestly, I resent walking on eggshells. I think this was God's way of rescuing me out of a stressball.

Yes, I could have fudged my numbers a little bit, inflated a tad to make them "look better" (*I'm* the one who records them), but I didn't want to lie.

You know, we're not all meant to fit perfectly into every situation, and my puzzle piece just obviously doesn't click there. It's OK. God knows where I'm supposed to go.

My class at the other (more prestigious) location on Mondays is still WONDERFUL: it's growing weekly, and the people are SO EXTREMELY FRIENDLY!!! I would've thought they'd be snobbier, b/c it's a ritzier location, but no way. It's the exact opposite. Another instructor friend of mine is going on maternity leave this week, and I'm taking her Wednesday class at this same happy location, too, so I've still got my two classes, and they're both at the better place.

God will use this for my good. He will heal my hurt feelings, aleviate my anger, and make this be for the best. So yeah, I'm OK (now that I got all this mess out to people who actually care about me! ;-)) and I do already feel the weight of that class & "the numbers" off my shoulders...

Thanks, y'all!!!

One last prayer request: today would have been my Grandmommy's 101st birthday (she passed in Oct) and it's also the 16th anniversary today of my Dad passing away. It hurt a little to take Grandmommy's birthday off my phone calendar today... Her birthday being on the same day really softened the blow of my Dad's death each year, until now... Send a little comfort to me, my mom, & my brother.

Oooo, I'd already repressed that last blow was on the same day... Whew... OK, so fast forward: I talked to the head of Group Fitness at the happy, prestigious location the next week, and she was both disappointed and totally NOT surprised at how it went down! She is my biggest champion, 100% on my side, shared lots of edifying insights, and I am completely transferring my status to her club, so that she will officially be my boss. I've essentially traded the unhappy Thursday stress class for the long-term subbing of my friend-on-maternity-leave's class on Wednesdays, so I never even missed a beat. Thank you, God, for working this out for my best!


  1. Isn't it funny how these things always work themselves out? I'm so glad to hear that things worked out for you!


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