Toby talks about life as a group fitness instructor

Toby has been a Spin instructor since 2001, he teaches 9 classes a week and you can find him at both Totton Health and Leisure and Applemore Health and Leisure. He also combines this with his full time job here in the offices at Appletree Court. Here he shares some insights in to the life of a group fitness instructor.  20597443_10154814041072816_2928524311771423673_n

Toby at the New Forest Show 2017

Why we love our jobs so much

  1. It feels great that you can have a really positive effect of someone’s day
  2. It’s a great feeling when you see or hear that participants have achieved great things in your classes and in some cases they have totally transformed their lives and become happier and healthier as a result
  3. When we receive great feedback it encourages us to give more back and to keep pushing the boundaries a little bit further.
  4. It’s great to share a class/ride that I’m passionate about with others. Hopefully that comes through within the classes.
  5. I get to listen and play music that inspires me, an inspired instructor will inspire their participants. I feel like a DJ.
  6. Teaching is a hobby that I’m fortunate enough to get paid for. But in all honesty instructors should love to teach and inspire. For me it’s not about the payslip.
  7. I try and take people to places that they were not expecting or didn’t expect to go within a class. When participants go to that deep and dark place and they are really working hard and you can see it you’ve totally got my respect. But I’m aware that for many it’s not about that and I’m totally cool with that.17098526_10154355600442816_4004056425227823121_n

Toby at the Stages indoor cycling award ceremony

What you may not know

Many people may just think that the instructor rocks up, pops in CD or set the iPod on shuffle and off we go, but it’s not that simple.

Each class has its very own playlist that has been painstakingly put together to fit the theme that is being delivered. Music is sourced and downloaded and then put together to create the class profile. This process is fairly involved; I’d say a new class from scratch could take up to 2 hours to create.

Those instructors who teach Les Mills spend an awful lot of time preparing for the new release. It takes hours and hours of revising and practicing the new choreography ready for the launch and they are doing this in their own time. It’s the passion and dedication of our Les Mills instructors that drive them to make sure your new releases are perfect come launch date. It’s hard enough remembering 1 release but many of our team have to learn 2 or 3 and that adds up to days of preparation. Teaching in spin in comparison is much easier.

Feedback is appreciated after a class whether it’s good or bad. The best feedback I ever received was pretty hard to take but it was the defining moment that I look back on that I believe made me a better instructor. If you come to a class and enjoyed it then just let the instructor know that. Without feedback we can’t improve. Even I quick thumbs up at the end of the session is enough.

I’ll try and be the first person to arrive in the studio and the last person to leave to ensure that new users can be set up correctly prior to the session commencing and I’ll always be on hand to answer questions after the session. Instructors only get paid for the 45 mins or the 55 mins that they are actually teaching.


At his limit directly after an functional threshold power test on a spin bike

Class etiquette

When the instructor commences the class please don’t carry on the conversation with the person next to you. It’s not the instructor who’ll be most annoyed but most likely the person next to you who’s trying to get into the zone. You wouldn’t go to the cinema or theatre and talk through the first act or scene.

As an instructor, when you’ve spent hours creating a new profile for then to see 40% of the class cancel a few hours before is quite frustrating. There is nothing better than teaching a full class that is packed with energy.

We may have had a bad day at work, we may not be feeling 100% within ourselves when we turn up to teach but very rarely do instructors bail out.  We will push on through as instructors have that inner belief that they don’t want to let people down.

We all know you have your favourite instructors but sometimes things happen and they can’t be there every week; of course we do also allow them the occasional holiday. If the cover instructor isn’t your favourite please don’t make it obvious. Don’t forget that they’ve probably given up an evening with the family to ensure that you still get a class.

Best moment in teaching

big spin

Staring in our Big Spin Facebook campaign 2016

My ultimate teaching highlight has to be the Big Spin 2016. It was simply awesome to see close to 250 people all spinning at the same time and knowing we were raising money that would make a huge difference to so many people was incredible. I am looking forward to the next one. It’s also those little moments when someone comes up to you at the end of the class and simply says thank you. That’s enough to keep me going till the next week.


Beat the bounce


For gents investing in a good pair of trainers suitable for your feet and exercise forms the basis of any workout outfit. However, for the ladies not only are a good pair of trainers essential but you also need to take care on top. **WARNING** Gents if you’re still reading this – it’s going to get personal.

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Why getting your ‘Zen’ on might be one of the best things you do today

yoga-manAt some point in our lives we’ve all heard, “try yoga, it’s so good for you” or “try pilates, it’s great for your core and back”. But what does yoga and pilates actually do for us? Isn’t it all just noisy breathing and trying to contort your body into weird and wonderful poses? Not quite. Read on to discover why getting your ‘Zen’ on could be the best thing you’ve ever done.

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Fitness Fun with Minstead Training Trust

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On the first of July, Fitness Instructor, Sam Millard was invited to Totton and Ealing community centre for a session of fitness fun and advice to those in The Minstead Training Trust – a support centre for adults with learning disabilities.

The session began with a meet and greet and then a chat about a healthy lifestyle, including what exercise they liked to do and why it is important. Sam then spoke about eating healthily and defining the basic macronutrient groups protein, fats and carbohydrates and what they are good for.

After a question and answer session Sam began to lead a gentle HIIT session, starting with a warm up and a cool down. Everyone worked incredibly hard and had a lot of fun.

Sam said, “I had a great time, the whole group showed a real interest in the nutrition aspect of our chat and asked some really great questions. When it came to the HIIT session they were one of the most fun & enthusiastic groups I have ever had the pleasure of instructing. The whole group did as much as they could which is all I ever ask for and just enjoyed themselves. I particularly enjoyed seeing some of the shyer members of the group slowly get involved.”

Great job guys!

New Forest Marathon


It’s coming towards that time of year when you turn the TV on and see the inspirational sight of 38000 people running in the London Marathon and say to yourself “I’m going to do that next year”! Sound familiar and you do in fact wish to run an iconic event but can’t wait a whole year? Listen up!

New Forest Health & Leisure have teamed up with The New Forest Marathon to help inspire people in the New Forest to get active this summer. Famous for being “more than just a marathon” the popular local event that has been running for the last 32 years offers distances from as little as a walk and a 1.5k junior run, 5k and 10k as well as a half and full marathon all in one day on Sunday September 11th 2016.

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On your bike!

Man on road bike riding down open country road.

It may not feel like it but Spring is finally here! This means the beginning of taking exercise outside without contracting frost bite. Did you know that the New Forest has a network of over 100 miles of approved cycle trails which are well signposted and take in quiet lanes, old railway lines and forest trails? Better still, they are largely traffic free (and often flat).

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