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20-40-60 Etiquette---Should I offer to help?

(Editor's note: To ask an etiquette question, email Helen  ---


By Callie Athey, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace

QUESTION: Several times a week, I attend a group exercise class. There is equipment involved which the instructor brings to each session.

Throughout the class, the gear has to be picked up and moved around in order to continue. The norm is for everyone to pitch in and help. A few of my fellow classmates regularly complain about this simple task. They believe that it's the instructor's job since we are paying him.

Is there a delicate way to strike a balance?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: My assumption is a few of your fellow classmates are trying to find something to complain about. Clean up after yourself and be helpful.


I would think the class would prefer to get more exercise in over watching the instructor move equipment, so it makes sense the exercisers would help. Maybe their complaint is that the class is not as well organized as it should be or that the equipment moves disrupt the class. If so, is there a solution that someone could suggest that would help the class flow?

When I've been in exercises classes with a variety of equipment, the exercise pieces (inflatable balls, weights, bands, etc.) stay in one place while individuals rotate to each station.

On the surface, these complaints about helping with equipment seem shallow, but maybe there's more to them than it appears.

Start with some deeper questioning about why pitching in is a problem; if it is just regular complaining, then be the one that offers to help the instructor so you can maximize your own workout.

HELEN'S ANSWER: To keep within the time slot, it sounds like everyone needs to help a little. Yes, it is the instructor's job and you are paying him, but what is wrong with assisting whenever it is necessary?

If everyone helps, then perhaps you get a little extra time on the equipment, or learn something about exercise that you did not know. Exercise comes in all forms. Even helping to move the gear is exercise. Get moving!

GUEST'S ANSWER: Lindsey Fry, community volunteer, and works at Schnake Turnbo Frank: Any group exercise class has a great deal of planning and logistics for the instructor to coordinate beforehand, but also to implement in their designated time slot.

If the instructor is not doing this already, he could set out the equipment before the class begins. This would be helpful and a great solution for balance.

In order to keep the class on track and efficient, it would be more helpful for everyone partaking in the class to just pitch in. Lead by example and feel good about yourself. Common courtesy is always welcomed.

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Helen Ford Wallace

Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for... Read more ›

Lillie-Beth Brinkman

Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman Read more ›

Callie Athey

Callie Athey is 20-something and is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked in various positions, ranging from Event Coordinator to Environmental Health and Safety Assistant. Currently, Callie is an Executive Assistant to a... Read more ›