Dear Miss Fit: How To Handle Pushy Yoga Teachers And Other Fitness Etiquette Dilemmas

Welcome to Miss Fit–a weekly advice column from someone who is a bit of a non-conformist when it comes to health and exercise.

Dear Miss Fit,

Our Pilates and Yogalates teacher shouts at us often and her voice makes me crazy. Do Pilates teachers always shout at people to motivate them? In our case, she seems as if she wants to motivate us, but she often breaks my motivation. For example, she pulls/pushes our legs/arms too much and makes them ache. Moreover she pokes fun at us if we cannot do an exercise perfectly. Are these normal for a Pilates/Yoga class? I want to learn Pilates and do it, but this kind of behavior keeps me out of the class. Thank you very much in advance for your answer.

—signed Fatosh in cyberland

Mutiny in yoga class! No, this is not normal, although some instructors get on a bit of a soapbox when they teach and forget they are talking to other adults who don’t need to be yelled at in order to finish our peas, I mean, hold Boat pose a little longer. If I were you, I’d talk with her privately after class and let her know that you love the class, but the shouting interrupts your zen. If you’re not comfortable talking with her directly, you can always leave an anonymous note in the suggestion box (if there is one) or send her an email. If none of that works, there are plenty of other good instructors out there who don’t have yoga and Pilates confused with bootcamp. GOOD LUCK! I’m shouting. :-)

Dear Miss Fit,

There is a woman at the pool who spends more time talking than swimming while she ties up a lane. Should I say something?

—Karla P. in Georgia

You should jump in her lane and then if she looks at you like, get the hell out, you could politely say, “Oh, I’m sorry. I figured you were done with this lane since you’ve been yakking for the last 10 minutes about your dog’s kidney stones.” Seriously though, yes you should say something! If she’s insensitive enough to not realize that people are waiting for a lane–and that people really don’t want to hear about Spot’s ailments–then you should bring it to her attention. Ask if you can share the lane with her. Then she can yap and you can swim.

Dear Miss Fit,

I get really annoyed when people talk out loud to each other during spin class. The other day someone actually answered her cell phone in the middle of class when we were in the middle of a climb. I’m pretty sure this is bad etiquette, but I don’t know what to do.

—Spinner in Chicago

Just like in the movie theater, sometimes people forget they are not the only ones in the universe. Other than shoot these annoying talkers dirty looks, this is one for your instructor to handle. It’s her job to be aware of what’s going on in the class and make sure everyone is focused and engaged. Pull her aside after class or next time you see her in the grocery store and casually mention the distractions. If that doesn’t work, you can always retaliate with several really loud “WOOH’s!” next time your classmates try to talk.


Send us your dilemmas about feeling like a misfit when it comes to eating, fitness, going to the gym or dealing with yoga bitches, and Miss Fit will take a turn at answering them. With 10 years of trying to be a better athlete and testing her willpower at every turn, while coaching others to do the same, chances are she’s heard it all before and can share some wisdom.

To ask Miss Fit a question, email us at with “Miss Fit” in the subject line.

Photo: Thinkstock

Share This Post: