June is the perfect time to have something to celebrate. The days are getting noticeably longer, my neighbour’s donkey Eddy is in heat, and I’m putting the finishing touches on an article for Alive Magazine linking fitness with mental acuity.

 Up here in Canada, we’ve been having the coldest and wettest June on record. Therefore I propose a week-long celebration of griping.

 I propose we celebrate griping now and get it out of our systems before summer holidays.  Nobody likes a cranky old fart on summer holidays. This coming week would be the ideal time to honour the griper. This week we might experience the last vestiges of winter, and there are feelings of hope and anticipation that spring will start sometime before November.

 Most people agree that fitness instructors are a pleasant and jovial bunch lot.  They are chock-a-block full of information they eagerly unleash on a class at the slightest hint of provocation. The information could range from the latest health and fitness abstract from an obscure medical journal to a proclamation that the Government of Canada hasn’t yet found that two hundred billion dollars apparently misspent on job creation.

 It’s hard to imagine a fitness instructor losing it. It’s hard to imagine a Spandex clad fitness instructor picking up a step and chasing a participant around the gym with intent to injure . . . or is it?

 These three situations cause steam to blow out of my ears and my pate to gleam bright scarlet. I mention them here as my personal safety valve. I don’t want to hurt anyone. If I can write about them, and celebrate them during International Gripers’ Week, I can last until next year.

 1) Too Many Instructors Spoil the Class.

 I recently had occasion to ask a participant to move to a different section of the gym.  He positioned himself in the first row of the step class and proved within a few minutes that he could do any move I had in my routine. Unfortunately, he liked his routine better, and he started doing it.

 I have to admit he had some good moves in his routine, and I reserve the right to swipe one or two of them. However, the rest of the class was getting confused. A few participants started following his routine, and I could see possibilities of on-floor collisions. The fellow was a little on the large size, and I calculated that a collision between him and the tiny Asian woman beside him would reduce her to atoms.

 I approached the perpetrator. I told him I had a safety concern and asked him to move over to the side. He didn’t. Instead, he kicked his step into the corner and walked off in a snit. I haven’t seen him since. I suppose that means I’ll have to start using some of his moves.

 2) Don’t Lay That Poli-Speak on Me.

 Who wants to be a millionaire? Don’t bother with that popular television show. Write a dictionary to explain all those new politically correct expressions that crept into our popular vernacular over the past few years.  I used to work as a community school coordinator and I stumbled over six or seven new ones every day.

 You know the words. They include Client Centered, Community Focused, Leadership, Cooperation and Collaboration, Partnership, and Best Practices. These never made sense to me – unless I was in the mood for a nice therapeutic headache. When politically correct agencies or businesses want to describe themselves, they make a bulleted list these ideals and expect everyone to understand them.  They use no verbs. If they need a verb, they make one up from the list – like liaising or up scaling. You can make a million dollars.

 I’ll help you out.  They mean nothing. You can prove it.  Try taking a leadership role and see how far you get.  Those words are only for fawning funders looking to spend those extra charity dollars before the next fiscal year (which in these parts is April Fools’ Day).

 Don’t use them in my class. You’ve all seen those guys that roam around the shopping malls with a Black and Decker chain saw and a vacant look. That’s who I become in the presence political correctness.

 (I learned a short while ago the LOL doesn’t mean Lots Of Luck,)

 3) Don’t Go A-Messin’ with My Pissin’ Time.

 Gyms ought to help instructors make an entrance to their classes.  I often joked that we should be lowered to the stage in an iron cage, then as the participants file in, they’d be treated to the spectacle of their favorite instructor pulling the bars apart and crawling through them to teach. “That sounds like something you’d see in professional wrestling,” people said. “Why would we want a spectacle like that in a fitness class?”

 “Well how about one of those cane and bamboo Oriental bird cages,” I once said. “I’d love to step on one of those before a class.”

 Those few moments before a class are particularly nerve wracking for even the most seasoned instructor. There’s a lot at stake. Their self esteem is about to go on the line.  There might be a crisis, someone might get hurt – or die.  The instructor might get hurt – or die. Worse, the instructor might have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the class. I always make a point of piddling before class, and woe betide anyone who gets in the way.

 These are my gripes for International Gripers’ Week. What are yours?

 Mike Broderick WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he FOUND employment for people with physical disabilities.
He remains an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at  or at 604-464-4105
If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates .
Apparently 22% of companies in the Greater Vancouver area will be hiring within the next month. Get your resumes ready.





  1. energywriter Says:

    Great job, Mike. An International Gripers’ Day is much needed. That way we can all b***h from morning til night one day a year and be civil the rest of the time. Steel cages, huh??

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