11 Instructors Share What Inspires Them in Class

When you’re in the presence of a passionate, authentic instructor or trainer, you know—instantly. The passion exudes from their eyes, words, social media posts and body language, and you feel their enthusiasm constantly as they guide you through class. It’s this same passion that a trainer will use to create new programs, learn from their own mentors, and challenge both you and them to feel and be your best. Think about your favorite instructor or trainer. Aren’t you glued to them because of their passionate energy?

We were so inspired by our favorite instructors that we just had to ask them how they do it—where they draw that energy, gusto and drive from that keeps us coming back even in the middle of rain, extreme heat or a snowstorm.  

The students ABSOLUTELY inspire me

“Whether it’s 6:30 a.m. or 7 p.m. at night, the class shows up. No matter what happened at work, what drama perspired with their significant other or how stressful their week has been, they still show up.  It’s amazing.  Their effort is inspiring. I love to learn about what my students do for work and for fun. I instantly see how they need fitness to fuel their lives. At the end of each of my classes, I always say, ‘We are strong enough to take on whatever comes our way,’ and it’s so true. Embracing the awkward, embarrassing, fun and hard moments of your day only makes you more interesting.”—Michele Gordon, aka Miss Motivational | Cardio Sweat Party at Power Studios | NYC

When I see a student get into a pose they never thought they could do

“I’m inspired in so many ways—to reach deeper to connect with my students, to modify and continue to adjust the experience of the class to give them opportunities to explore and truly to look at my own personal yoga practice. I often see a student getting into a pose they never thought they could or coming back from injury when they thought it was next to impossible. The expression on their faces and the feeling and energy that surrounds them is so intangible and yet is something I can hold on to. Those are the moments I remember why I teach and it ignites inspiration and new ideas for how to better reach the ones that need this very personal experience. In way, the students become my teacher. I’m honored to be part of that growth and that journey.” —Jordyn Matthews | Blue Lotus Yoga & Movement Arts | Raleigh

When I see someone experience a breakthrough and all the sudden, they’re ON

“That moment can vary from person to person. Sometimes it’s someone who just gets to class (as we all agree, the hardest part is just getting there!) and instantly commits, the moment they walk in the door, soaking up the energy of the class. Sometimes it’s when someone beats a personal record and they’re confidence shoots through the roof. And sometimes it’s just a big hug and a smile from a regular who needed a positive connection that day.” —Marquette Latshaw | BURN at Burn Dallas | Dallas

The sight of people uniting in their goal to be healthy and fit

“When I was 22, my dad had a heart attack, which put him in the hospital and led to surgery. After he came home, he worked to change his diet and we began going to the gym together. At 5 a.m., he’d wake me up, drive us to the gym and when we got there, he’d use the treadmill while I cycled. Then we’d lift together and finish our workout chatting.

My dad became my accountability partner, and I loved how we could do something together that, not only made our bodies stronger, but also made our relationship stronger (even if I was bleary eyed during our 5 a.m. sessions and tried to take naps in the car on the ride to the gym). So for me, my biggest inspiration is the role that fitness can play in someone’s life. When I get text messages from people saying they’re more confident because they feel better, that they’re feeling great because they’re inspired to be healthier, or that they can do things that never imagined, I know that I’m in the right place doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.”
—Jen Crompton | Cycle at Fuel Cycle Fitness | Philadelphia

When I see someone spontaneously break a smile mid-workout

“There’s no doubt about it—workouts aren’t easy to get through. So when I see the reflection of one of my students cracking a smile in the middle of class, it fills me with so much happiness and inspiration. Knowing that they’re enjoying themselves while getting stronger, leaner and healthier—aside from the dripping sweat, steamy temperatures and sometimes crowded space—is all the inspiration I need.” —Katherine Greiner | KG Body at YG Studios NYC | NYC

People working hard in my class and giving everything you ask them to give

“My eyes light up when someone comes to me with a goal and asks for my help in surpassing it. So when I call out an instruction in class, and see one of my students has that laser-focus look in their eyes and they’re determined to give it their own individual best effort, it’s just awesome. The goal is to get the best out of everyone individually, and watching them do that gives me so much energy. It’s symbiotic.” —Michael Tosto | Boxing at Title Boxing Club | NYC

I love to see people working hard

“I don’t care how many reps you’re doing, how fast you’re going or how much weight you’re lifting. All that matters is that you show up, are fully present, and never, ever, ever, give up.  Dig deep, dream big, and be better. Everyday. And to all my ladies out there, be the type of woman you’d go to war with.” —Brittany Celata | Fuerte Fitness | Austin

Clients who show up dialed in to work  

“I don’t think clients realize how exciting and invigorating it is for an instructor to have a full class of people who really want to be there in that room. It’s a symbiotic relationship, and it’s an amazing feeling. It’s exactly why I do what I do. It is the reason to do anything. Like anyone else, I have tried in the past to do or create something from a place I wasn’t passionate about and it just doesn’t work.  Passion is infectious, and it’s the reason behind everything I do as an instructor.” —Sara Lewis | XO: Crossover Fitness | LA

The tribal music and the energy of all the students

“Every time I enter the studio, hear that music and look around to see a sea of students willing to put in their best work, I learn something new about myself, and I feel a deeper connection to the community. Watching them sweat through transformation inside and out is truly amazing.”  —Brian Delmonico | Mind Body Bootcamp at Circuit of Change | NYC

When students end class on a high note

“Say goodbye on your way out! It’s always a joy when students say ‘thank you,’ ‘great class’ or ‘see you later’ at the end of class. It’s a small gesture but it goes a long way in bringing energy and community into the studio.”—Tori Tsu | Uforia Studios- Nob Hill | San Fransisco

People who come to class well-researched and curious

“I think it’s so important that no matter how much experience someone has with a particular method, they read up on the studio they are attending. Check the website, read about what makes the studio unique and know what kind of class you are coming to. And most importantly arrive ten minutes early! I like to take time with new students to give them an introduction before class —allowing me time to explain the method, inquire about injuries and have a laugh or two before the workout begins.”  —Casey Palazzo | The Studio (MDR) | Los Angeles

Jenn Sinrich is an editor in New York City, a self-proclaimed foodie always looking for the healthier version of all recipes, a passionate lover of all things cheese, a friendly New Yorker, Bostonian at heart and proud Red Sox fan. Love cats? Cheese? Mac n' Cheese? Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.