Shaun T or Cathe Friedrich? Why the Instructor Matters

July 9, 2019

should you set up your home gym in your garage? here's what you need to know

should you buy a peloton? here's how to decide

You'll also love

tell me more

I'm Mickie. Co-founder and CEO of One Strong Southern Girl. Our team is here for you. We want you to remember us because we helped changed your life. 


Have you ever quit a workout (right in the middle of it) because of the trainer leading the program?  I have.

If you’ve been doing exercise videos for a while then you know the instructor in the video makes a big impact on the quality of the workout and your impression of the video (or series).

The instructor sets the tone for the workout.

They MUST motivate and encourage you.

The instructor has to be a good role model and look good in their workout gear (it’s true).

It’s imperative that he/she interacts well with the rest of the team doing the workout and that they provide accurate and well-timed cues and form pointers. 

The instructor has a big job.

There’s a reason they were hired to lead the video.  It’s ok to hold them to a high standard.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular exercise video instructors along with my opinion about them and their exercise programs

This post may contain Amazon (or other) affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission. You can get more information about that here.

a nerdy professor with text overlay that says Your Fitness Instructor matters here's why

Cathe Friedrich

Instructor Cathe Friedrich
You can read Cathe Friedrich’s Bio by clicking on this Image

The Best Part Of a Cathe Friedrich Workout

Premix Routines!

Almost all of her videos have a Premix section that gives you several more options for workouts.  You get a lot for your money with her programs. (What’s a premix?  That’s where Cathe takes the main workout and add/subtracts/rearranges the program to create a new workout.  Every premix is an additional workout on the video.)

Variety—she’s made a video for just about any kind of workout you want.

Cathe’s Personality/Workout Style

Cathe is all business. No cracking jokes or trying to be cute.  She gets down to business. 

She’s professional and always on task.  And never intimidating.

Good cuing (I think this is spelled ‘cueing’ but my software disagrees with me so I’m gonna stick with ‘cuing’).

Cathe (almost) always lets you know what weight she’s using.  And she does a great job of cuing in her step routines.  This is important. Trust me.

Cathe actually does every kick, lift, step, lunge, crunch, etc. in every video. This matters to me.

I like her crew. The same 6 or 7 athletes have shown up in many of her videos for over a decade.  That’s amazing.

She’s not afraid to use heavy weights.

I love that she incorporates heavy weights at times.  It keeps things interesting and will change your body.

Advanced! I can count on Cathe to challenge me

If she calls a workout advanced you can count on it being hard as hell.

Check out 10 Five Star Cathe Friedrich Exercise Videos for ideas on which workouts to buy (or read through some of my Cathe Friedrich workout reviews).

Chalene Johnson

Chalene Johnson image
Read Chalene Johnson’s bio by clicking the image

The Best Part of a Chalene Johnson Workout

Good music. She always picks good tunes.  This is SO important to the overall workout experience.

FUN FUN FUN!! Did I say her workouts were fun? 

If Chalene’s videos were a lot of fun but not effective then I’d say so.  But she’s fun AND brings a good workout.

Chalene’s Personality/Workout Style

Chalene’s always on beat.

It’s annoying when routines are purposely created to be off beat.  I appreciate that she’s always on beat.

Her energy is contagious. This sounds silly but I swear it’s true.

She’s a pro at rallying every last ounce of energy you’ve got with phrases like YOU ARE NOT TIRED!!

I love that you know exactly what to expect from her workouts.

Her style never wavers from video to video (although Piyo is one of a kind) so there’s rarely a big learning curve and no anxiety that you may not be able to do some of the moves.

Her crew!! They are all sculpted athletes. 

Personally, that’s what I like to see in a work out video.  I can go to my local gym or Walmart to see real people.  If I pay for an exercise video I like to see people who look amazing.

Shaun T

Instructor Shaun T
Click on the image to read a detailed bio from Shaun T’s site

The Best Part of a Shaun T Workout

Shaun T’s workouts are really challenging and provide a good calorie burn/time spent ratio.

Very little equipment. In general, he doesn’t use much equipment.  The Asylum series has some accessories that are fun but in general his videos don’t require you to buy a lot of extra stuff.

I like his crew. They look like it’s hard for them, too.  That makes me feel better.

Shaun T’s Personality/Workout Style

You can’t help but love this guy. He’s like the cool hot guy that you wanted to be your friend in high school.

He loves his own body and makes it ok.

His enthusiasm and energy are nuts and seem genuine. That’s all good.

Shaun T’s Insanity Max:30 Series is awesome!  Get it!

Tony Horton

Tony Horton's workout style
You can read more about Tony Horton by clicking on his image. The guy is not lacking confidence…

The Best Part of a Tony Horton Workout

His gym-style workouts are what you expect. There are no surprises.  It’s weight lifting/resistance training with some bonus cardio.

The P90X series are all about sculpting.  It’s ok, girls.  You can (and should) do them, too.

Tony Horton’s Personality/Workout Style

Tony Horton is a super dork with a sculpted body. Seriously–great upper body.

I imagine he was the dude that wasn’t that cool in high school (but wanted to be) and now he’s going to every class reunion (without his shirt).  That’s ok.  He’s earned it.

I started liking him more after I listened to this podcast interview.

P90X3 is amazing.  Buy it!

Jillian Michaels

Jillian Michaels' fitness style
You can read more about Jillian Michaels by clicking on her image

The Best Part of a Jillian Michaels Workout

Her workouts are creative. I think she tries hard to fill a niche to provide a workout with new moves.

When you do her routines it’s likely you’ve never done a lot of the exercises she does (which seems impossible after all the videos I’ve done, yet she achieves it).

Jillian Michaels Personality/Workout Style

Jillian is an in-your-face encourager. She’s like a Badass warrior.

She’s really good at rallying your ‘gung-ho’.

I like her but she’s not for everyone. She’s the perfect example of why you need to try out a bunch of different instructors.

Over time you’ll find the instructor who clicks with you.

Thanks for reading!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

search the database!

Excuse me...Do you have any articles on...

get it now

Don't waste another minute trying to piece together all the right workouts and equipment for the 'perfect' plan. Download a blueprint with all the steps in one place.

Your home exercise roadmap.

free guide

Take me to the quiz

Get matched with the on-demand library that aligns with your workout style, equipment and goals by answering a few questions!

Have you taken our

Workout Personality Quiz?