Whether you just joined a gym or have been going to a gym for years, group exercise classes can be a fun and effective way to get into an exercise program for anyone. With that being said, venturing into a room full of people you don't know and working out can be intimidating. Many first timers take a class once and never come back. If you are just starting out, here are a few tips to make sure you have a successful experience in group fitness classes.
No need to be nervous about taking a group fitness class; here are some helpful tips to help you navigate your way through the workout.
1. Don't hide in class
When you are new to class, don't stand in the back corner where your instructor can't see you. Stand in the middle of the class so your instructor can watch how you're doing and help you if necessary. Standing in the middle also enables you to see the people in front of you who have likely been going to exercise classes for years, so you can take cues from them when the instructor isn't right there to assist.
2. Listen to your body
It's easy to get swept up into the music and the energy of the room during your workout, but make sure you continue to pay attention to your body. Only you know how you are feeling, and what you can handle. If at any point you feel as though you could pass out or throw up, you are pushing yourself too hard. Take a break when you need to, breathe, and be sure to stay hydrated (it's best to bring a water bottle with you so you don't have to leave the room for water). Your instructor is there to help you, but it's your responsibility to take care of yourself during class.
3. Let your instructor know it's your first time
Make sure to let your instructor know that it's your first time in an exercise class. They will be able to tell you what to expect from the class, and give you tips on excelling. A good instructor will be able to guide you when you feel lost or unsure. Remember, your instructor is there to help you. If you have questions don't hesitate to ask.
4. Don't hurt yourself
If there is something that you can't do yet, don't try to do it. This is where many beginners get discouraged or injured. Exercise classes should be made to accommodate all levels (unless noted), but if you don't know how to do an exercise, don't do it. You could hurt yourself if you don't know what you're doing. Ask your instructor for a modification of the exercise if one is available, if one is not available simply take a break until you can join back in safety.
Classes are not a competition. Don't think that you have to push yourself just because everyone else is. If you injure yourself, that will keep you away from exercising and would be counterproductive to the reason you are in the class to begin with. Avoid injury and burnout by progressing slowly, even if you'd rather be moving much faster. Don't worry or push yourself too far, you will get to a faster pace eventually.
Keep these tips in mind when navigating the world of group exercise, so that you'll not only enjoy the first class, but keep coming back for more!