12 Top Fitness Instructors Share Their Guilty Pleasures

Your instructors don’t eat ice cream or spend Saturdays slothing on the couch, right? Think again! As much as it seems the person standing at the front of class could never, ever slack when it comes to fitness, you might just be surprised that they do let their hair down every once in a while. Fitness instructors…they’re just like us!

A huge weekend brunch

“My true guilty pleasure is a ‘Sunday Funday’ bottomless mimosa brunch with a variety of delicious brunch-y dishes—like eggs Benedict, chilaquiles and french toast — shared among friends. Then, enjoying the food coma while it lasts. It’s fine to be strict with diet and fitness five to six days a week, but definitely, allow yourself one day to splurge. This is how you avoid burning out or binge eating when you feel deprived of fun.”

Amanda Bauman, private trainer and instructor at Swerve in Los Angeles

Sugar and dry shampoo

“I love a good night in to myself posted up on my couch with a pint of ice cream. Ben and Jerry’s with Oreos holds a special place in my heart. And dry shampoo. Lots of it.”

Lauren Zerante, instructor at CorePower Yoga in Chicago

Saying ‘yes’

“I have many pleasures, and I don’t really feel guilty about them! I treat my body with joy and little-to-no restrictions. That’s me saying ‘yes’ to chocolate, red wine, pasta, sleeping in or anything I desire as often as it arises. I spent most of my adult life with eating and exercise rules and restrictions. In the past four years, I’ve let them all go, and my body and mind have never been healthier.”

Melissa Mai, yoga instructor at Humming Puppy in Melbourne, Australia

Chips and guac

Amy Jordan, founder and CEO of WundaBar Pilates

“I’m from Los Angeles, which means I eat avocados every day — and a lot of guacamole. For years I would order corn tortillas instead of fried chips. But one day I realized it just wasn’t nearly as good, and I missed that crunchy salty taste mixed with the guacamole. I have chips and guac about once a week now, and I don’t worry about it! I aim to eat 90 percent for fuel and 10 percent for joy. Chips and guac? Pure. Joy. (Even if they have more calories than tortillas.)”

Amy Jordan, founder and CEO of WundaBar Pilates in New York City

A pizza with no one to share it with

“Pizza is my favorite food in the entire world: good pizza, “bad” pizza, Trader Joe’s frozen pizza. It does not matter — I love it all! I try to stay away from bread and sugar most of the time, but sometimes I have to let loose. For a healthier take on my pizza addiction, I like the Trader Joe’s cauliflower crust pizza with a big salad to bulk up my meal so I don’t eat the entire thing by myself (though I have!). When I don’t care about the health factor? It’s ‘Mozza To Go’ delivery! OMG — personal, crispy, golden pies of loveliness that I would not share if you paid me! No salad this time. Just straight chewy, oily, gorgeous pizza. And, honestly, I don’t feel guilty about it. Not one bit. If you are on a good path nutritionally 80 percent of the time and you work out and push past your comfort zones physically, you should be able to enjoy your favorite food once a week! (Tell ‘em your trainer said it’s okay!)”

Michelle Akda, instructor at Swerve in Los Angeles

A frozen treat

“Most of my riders don’t believe me, but I love to treat myself to ice cream even during the brutal Chicago winter. My go-to flavor? Moose Tracks or anything that combines chocolate and peanut butter. While I try to focus on eating healthy and nutritious foods 80 to 90 percent of the time, I allow myself to indulge with the other 10 to 20 percent. My secret trick to staying healthy is ordering the smallest serving size possible. Then I get to really enjoy the flavor of the ice cream without feeling overly stuffed.”

Sarah Pelc Graca, cycling instructor at Cyclebar in Chicago

Salty finger food

Elizabeth Thuvanuti, founder of Dance Cardio Plus

“French fries—the thinner and saltier, the better! Rather than deprive myself of something I love, I make a healthier version at home by slicing sweet potatoes thin and tossing them with organic coconut oil and Himalayan sea salt. Then, I bake them at a high temperature so they crisp up nicely. You won’t even miss the fryer!”

Elizabeth Thuvanuti, founder of Dance Cardio Plus in New York City


Wine, pizza and Netflix, please

“When I’m not training, I absolutely enjoy a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, a whole gluten-free vegan pizza and binge watching an entire season of Love on Netflix. It’s my time to refuel, and I see it as completely necessary and accepted!”

Danielle Cuccio, instructor at Swerve in Los Angeles

A spicy snack

“There is nothing like a bottle of Coca-Cola, a bag of Hot Cheetos and a Netflix binge-watching session. I also thoroughly enjoy lounging around and reading for hours without a care in the world. It’s necessary to take a break from the chaotic lives we all live, tune out for a bit and reconnect to situations (and foods) we know and love.”

Robert Eyler, yoga instructor at CorePower Yoga in San Diego

Corn chips, plus Pinterest

Jenny Vande Hei-Secor, co-owner at Ra Yoga

“Snacking on Have’a Corn Chips and browsing tree houses on Pinterest.”

Jenny Vande Hei-Secor, co-owner at Ra Yoga in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, California

Chocolate coupled with wine

“I can’t go more than a couple days without a piece of chocolate. Paired with a glass of red wine after class — pure perfection! In addition to yoga, I also run marathons and use my high level of activity to justify my addiction. I’m a true believer that life is all about balance. If we never give into our guilty pleasures and we deprive ourselves of what we crave, life really stops being fun!”

Lindsay McClelland, yoga instructor at Revolution Studio in Houston

A bakery fave mixed with a Netflix go-to

“Eating an egg croissant sandwich and a double chocolate chip cookie from LeVain Bakery, all while binge watching Grey’s Anatomy.”

Julia Chan, fitness and yoga instructor at Crunch Gym – Tribeca and Crunch Gym – West 83rd Street in New York City


Emily is a recent graduate and proud Midwesterner who just moved to the big city to start her career in magazine journalism. When she isn't commuting between Brooklyn and Manhattan, she enjoys browsing bookstores for her next read, sipping chai tea lattes at local coffee shops, and playing tourist in the city she always dreamed of living in.