This is part of the CAC Instructors Bare All series. Be sure to check out part one!
I’ve had a few embarrassing gym moments. I’ve knocked myself in the chin with a body bar, failed miserably at a box jump, and worn my pants inside out too many times to count.
The beauty of my own mishaps is that people rarely notice. You may think people are staring at you, but everyone is often so focused on their own workout that they pay no attention to anyone else.
But that’s not the case with the instructors. They’re at the front-and-center all the time. They can’t hide in the corner hoping no one notices. Everyone IS staring at them. And if they mess up, everyone is bound to see.
I asked CAC instructors: What's the most embarrassing thing that's happened to you during class? And I was surprised by how many of them replied!
Let’s give these instructors a hand for gracefully picking their heads back up, laughing it off, and keeping class going after some of these embarrassing mishaps while teaching.
Teaches at: BAC
I've only been teaching about a year, so I haven't had a lot of time to mortify myself. But I do use my iPhone for my music, and I've had a few calls ring through during really intense moments of class… it's not embarrassing, but it's definitely a buzzkill!
Teaches at: WAC, WPAC, and BAC but also LPAC and LSAC
I tripped over my own shoe during Zumba. Instead of a sashay, I demonstrated how to properly fall on your a$$ and recover gracefully.
Teaches at: LSAC and LVAC; I also sub many classes, including EAC
In all honesty, I do not get embarrassed easily. Sometimes I may call a member by the wrong name and get corrected, but I am grateful for that because then I really learn their name.
Teaches at: Bucktown, Lincoln Park, West Loop, Wicker Park
One of the most embarrassing things to happen in class was when cargo pants were haute couture for the instructors. I had a pair of underwear attached by velcro to the pocket... finally someone pointed out that I had something hanging off my pants and in front of the class while doing hamstring curls, I realized it was my underwear.
Teaches at: LVAC
I'm pretty lucky -- nothing more than a microphone malfunction has ever happened to me… but I'm sure I've just jinxed myself by saying that...
Teaches at: LPAC, WAC, WAC, LSAC, WPAC
I repeatedly called a member by the wrong name during a class. I didn't undrtstand why she didn't respond.
Teaches at: WPAC and WAC
Besides making mistakes in choreography, which happens occasionally, I was most embarrassed when I wore a new pair of gray workout pants and realized about halfway through class that sweat was showing up in very auspicious areas. I really felt for the members that day having to look at that nastiness for the rest of class! Needless to say, those pants never made it back into the instructing uniform rotation.
Teaches at: LPAC and BAC
Having to talk with my Invisalign. My first few weeks I sounded like Cindy Brady!
Teaches at: LSAC
Yikes. OK, one time I taught a class with my yoga pants inside out and did not notice it until I got into my car!
Teaches at: LVAC, LPAC, WAC
I have lost my balance during class, forgotten a dance movement in Zumba with some of my regular participants knowing what comes next, and turned on the volume with the microphone screeching through the speakers!
Teaches at: WPAC
Oh gees which one? How about the time my pants ripped on stage in front of 80 people, or the time I jumped in the air with so much excitement I didn't check for a landing surface and disappeared off the stage, or the time I slipped in BODYCOMBAT, did a tuck-n-roll, and in a ninja like fashion jumped back to my feet? There's more where that came from :).
Teaches at: West Loop Athletic Club
My new, hot pink sports bra blend color into my yellow tank top once… so it looked like I had two bright pink headlights on my body. I guess that's better than ripping my pants, right? (Which, by the way, is an instructor’s worst nightmare!)
Teaches at: Evanston
Hmmmm, I fell into the pool while teaching. That's kind of funny.
Teaches at: WAC, WPAC, BAC
I was teaching a treadmill and weights class. We left the treadmills running so people could easily hop on and off. Someone asked me a question while they were running so I went to hop on the treadmill next to them so I could hear. Didn't realize it was running. 7.0 speed. I stepped on and crashed down onto my left knee and rolled down into a crumpled heap on the floor.
All 25 students stopped dead in their tracks and stared at me. It was mortifying. And the worst part of all is that I've been dealing with injuries on my left side ever since!
Teaches at: WAC, BAC, LPAC, LSAC
The most embarrassing thing to happen was the time that I showed up to LVAC for a 6:00 am Spinning class, started to change into my workout clothes, and.... realized that I didn't have my cycling shorts! What to do? Teach au naturale? Not an option! So I wore my jeans to class.
Really, really, really uncomfortable to teach a Spinning class in jeans!! At the end of the class, I announced, "This is not a new fashion statement. I forgot my cycling pants."
Teaches at: LPAC
Probably just not remembering what I had planned, but it's usually pretty easy to improvise. Oh, and definitely a couple times when there were technical difficulties and we had to move without tunes!
Teaches at: WPAC, LSAC
I've punched myself in the face before while holding mitts for someone and knocked out my own contacts.
Teaches at: BAC, WPAC
Oh I just tend to flub my words when teaching yoga. Nothing too embarrassing. I can always laugh at myself.
Teaches at: LPAC, LSAC
When I was about eight months pregnant (and huge), I rolled my foot on a weight and fell face first into the front mirror at LPAC. I was totally fine but looked like a huge, pregnant mess. I think I decided to go on maternity leave shortly after that!
Teaches at: LPAC, LSAC, WAC
It is too embarrassing to talk about.
Teaches at: EAC, LSAC, LVAC
Well, Sarah Ruhl took my 6 a.m. spin class once where my music stopped working and I thought I'd evaporate from the hot flames of shame that enveloped my entire being.
Also, once someone yelled at me when I was subbing someone else's class and I had to choke back tears in addition to more feelings of shame.
Once I forgot my place in CXWORX and my boyfriend who takes my class weekly had to remind me what came next.
Teaches at: LSAC, LPAC, WPAC
Forgetting my tennis shoes and having to teach in just my socks. Also, forgetting to put my phone on airplane mode and having a phone call right in the middle of class!
Teaches at: LPAC and LSAC
While demo'ing a move, hitting my elbow into the wall and almost wiping out on a piece of equipment that rolled into my path.
Teaches at: WAC
I tend to not worry about how I am perceived, so it's often I end up showing off a new progression and end up falling and looking like a fool. Hey, we are all learning and growing, right?
Teaches at: LVAC, LSAC, WPAC, BAC
I was in kickboxing and my shoe went flying on a roundhouse kick and hit someone in the head... I guess in retrospect it is sort of funny.
Betsy Mikel is a freelance copywriter whose passion is telling the stories of entrepreneurs, brands and businesses that challenge the status quo. When she’s not biking or running all over every city she visits to find its best taqueria, you can find Betsy on Twitter at @betsym | betsymikel.com