I frequently take boutique fitness classes at studios I’ve never been to before. Aside from choosing the studio itself and one of the classes it offers, I do some research to learn about its instructors. In my opinion, an instructor can make or break the experience. When you’re investing about an hour of your time and $30 in a workout, you hope that the experience exceeds expectations. Depending on what type of class you’re taking and who you talk to, there are different factors that make one instructor better than another. And then you have the instructors whose classes fill up minutes after registration opens. So, how do I decide who gets to make me sweat each week?
Image via RateYourBurn
RateYourBurn is a website with two goals: 1) Help clients find instructors they’ll like based on other clients’ reviews and 2) Help instructors grow by giving them unbiased feedback. If you live in NYC, LA, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, or Portland, you can follow my directions below to find the right instructor for you, then log back on to review his or her class after you take it.
1. Look up the studio profile. Start by searching for the studio you want to attend on RYB’s homepage. Make sure you have the right city selected in your search. There may also be more than one location of that studio in your city. If you don’t mind traveling, it’s worth checking the pages for each location. Each profile gives an address for the studio, a rating for the studio and its instructors, and a ranked list of instructors. Keep in mind that the best instructor for you might not be at the top of the list.
2. Look at the instructor profile. Click on various instructors’ names to read reviews that others have written about them. These reviews will give opinions on everything from an instructor’s cueing style to his or her playlist. No instructor will be perfect in all areas, so it’s important to decide which factors of your workout are most important to you. Find an instructor that excels in that area. A good rule of thumb is to look for instructors with a high rating and many reviews.
3. Search for the instructor on the Burn Blog. Once you’ve selected a few instructors that you think sound promising, try searching their names in the Burn Blog search box. You can see if they’ve been mentioned in any roundups, like the weekly Most Popular Instructors posts. These additional blog posts might give you more unbiased information about the instructors that weren’t in reviews.
Before booking my class, I sometimes check the chosen instructor’s personal website (Yes, many have them!) or social media pages. Great fitness instructors in NYC are like mini celebrities that actually want to be your friend. Finally, go to the studio’s website, find the instructor’s timeslots, and sign up! Don’t forget to go back to RYB after class to share your opinion with others.
As a little bonus: Five of my favorite instructors I’ve taken in the past few months, regardless of studio or type of workout. Go sign up for their classes if you’re not afraid to work hard.
Lori Abeles @ SoulCycle – I had the pleasure of taking Lori’s class on my 25th birthday. She’s awesome. She makes you forget everything outside the studio and focus on yourself the entire ride. It somehow drains all negativity from your mind. Her playlists are also the best.
Rupa Mehta @ Nalini Method – She created this class, which is sort of like barre meets pilates, in honor of her mother. Rupa is better with names than any instructor I’ve ever taken. And you better believe she’ll use yours for the entire class while she’s hands-on correcting your form.
Mr. Ray @ Pedal – I know, he’s the only guy on my list. I’ve only taken his class once, but it was tough in the best way. 30 minutes of heavy cycling, 30 minutes of core-stabilized TRX. Mr. Ray is the most unforgiving nice guy you’ll ever meet. His glasses are also pretty awesome.
Kristin Kenney @ Revolve – She teaches the REAL Ride, which means she draws an actual outdoor course on the mirror with a marker and guides you through it on a stationary bike. This woman took me to Italy and back in 45 minutes. She’s also one beautiful mama.
Katie Bergstrom/Brynn Jinnett @ Refine Method – I can’t pick between these two. They’re former professional ballerinas turned hardcore athletes that push you till your muscles scream. But you might be smiling the whole time. See my full review of Katie from a previous post.