How to Survive Your First Group Fitness Class

Ahh yes…. February, the month that is notorious for quitting all those ‘new year, new me‘ resolutions and the desperate search for all of that January motivation we have lost, begins.  Here’s an article I wrote and submitted to YEG Fitness with a couple pointers on surviving a new fitness class to help get you inspired to try something new.

Staying active doesn’t always have to include going to the gym, running on a treadmill,  or feelings of uncertainty and impending doom. So if you’re looking for a little more motivation these next few months of winter here in Edmonton, consider trying out one of the amazing group fitness classes that are available throughout YEG. If you aren’t feeling too confident on how to get started, here are a few tips on how to make taking that new group class a breeze!

  1. Bring a friend – Not only is this a great excuse to spend time with a friend, partner or family member, but having the support of someone else regardless of their experience with the type of exercise both holds you accountable and will help make those challenging and seemingly awkward moments more enjoyable.
  2. Come prepared – One essential to any workout class is coming prepared! A water bottle, proper clothing and footwear, a hair-tie and maybe even a small towel are a few of my suggestions.
  3. Arrive early – Being early for a class is important, not only does it give you time to settle in, fill your water bottle, and relax those nerves but, it holds you accountable for doing the workout, which can be difficult if you’re jumping in late. Plus, it will give you some extra time to complete steps 4-6.
  4. Communicate with your instructor – Although it might seem intimidating to approach the leader first time, it’s important for the instructor to know who is new to the class so they can get to know their clients, make modifications if necessary, and to be aware of any injuries you may have.
  5. Move it to the middle – If you’re someone who can blow into a class and take the reins of the front row that is incredible! Unfortunately, I know this isn’t the case for most of us (myself included). Now I know it can be tempting to hide yourself in the back of the room, however, I recommend situating yourself somewhere in the middle, for a few reasons: a) It is usually a little closer to the instructor which can help with getting feedback b) You’ll get a better view of the instructor and be able to hear their instructions clearer c) You’ll push yourself harder knowing there are more people around you as you’ll feel more included in the ‘pack’.
  6. Stretch, Stretch, Stretch! – This is important to do before any after any exercise but especially with a new modality as you are most likely going to be moving some muscles you haven’t worked in a while and moving in ways your body may not be as familiar with. This will be especially important in the days following the class, and you’ll be more likely to take another if you’re not feeling as sore afterwards.
  7. Listen to your body – This is one of the most important steps on this list. It is incredibly important to pay attention to the signs your body is giving you. If you’re thirsty or feeling lightheaded, take a break and drink some water. It’s okay. And If something hurts, stop doing that particular movement and be sure to talk to your instructor about the pain after class.
  8. Don’t be too hard on yourself –Its easy to feel discouraged when trying anything new, but especially a new exercise class. Try to remember that everyone was a beginner at some point and the only way to progress is to keep trying.
  9. Keep the goal in mind & avoid staring at the clock – Take it from someone who’s been there, if you keep staring at the clock, it’s going to go even slower and it will make a half an hour feel like an hour and an hour feel like two. If you’re struggling to find motivation to complete the class just remember why you’re there, and how amazing you will feel after accomplishing something new.
  10. Smile & stay positive – Even if the class isn’t quite your cup of tea try to stay positive, smile and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. As they say, you’ll never regret a workout but you will regret not working out.
  11. Have fun! – Most importantly, have fun! It’s no surprise that people are more likely to continue something they enjoy so do your best to make the most of the hour or so you’ve committed to this one!
  12. Schedule your next class – After your first class is done, keep the momentum going and commit to another class in the near future. Maybe that class wasn’t for you, don’t worry – there are a ton more available throughout the city and there is truly something for everyone, all you need to bring is your willingness to try!

What are some of your favourite group classes and what keeps your motivated?! Let me know in the comments!

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