Group Exercise – Where to Begin
So, you just joined the gym and are wondering where to start…or maybe you’ve been a member but are looking for a change in routine. Have you tried Group Exercise classes? For lots of members, Group classes are where they get their workout in, but for many others, it can be a great unknown and leave you feeling unsure. No matter our age or gender, it can be daunting stepping into a new situation. I remember starting as a new member at the club many years ago and being nervous about taking class. Not because I was worried about the class itself, (I was a tried and true Group Exercise junkie), but rather that I might be standing in a regular’s “space” and that people would look at me and wonder who the new person was. It’s funny what we worry about. The truth is, at BAC, the people taking classes are some of the most friendly and welcoming people in the club! (OK, certainly there are others, but lots of them are in class!) They like the idea of adding to the tribe and do their best to make you feel included. And while you may still feel a little hesitant about stepping out into uncharted territory, there are a few things you can do to increase your comfort and success.
Come 10 minutes early and introduce yourself to the Instructor.
Our instructors look for new participants in their classes, but sometimes people slip in at the last minute or even late and the instructor doesn’t have the opportunity to say hello or help with questions. Come a little early and let your instructor know you are new to the class. They can help give an overview of what you can expect and it’s really important so they can help you get set up with the proper equipment and settings. It would also be a good time to tell the instructor if you have any injuries or limitations so they can help coach you with a modification.
Don’t hide in the back of the room.
It happens 9 out of 10 times. A new participant comes in and immediately sets up in the back corner of the room where they feel they will be least “seen.” This way, you tell yourself, if you “mess up” or can’t do the exercise, no one will know. Self-preservation, right? Not really. If you hide yourself in the back corner, you’re right, it’s likely people will have a harder time seeing you – including the instructor! Stand closer to the front. Believe me, everyone else isn’t watching you – they’re too busy finding their proper form and challenge – but your instructor will want be watching so they can offer some great cues and possible corrections so that you stay safe and get the most out of your workout. Isn’t that what you want?
Be kind to yourself (aka check your ego at the door).
Even if you’re a regular and have exercised all your life, a new class will challenge your muscles and heart in a new way. Instructors will give you lots of options and modifications. Take them when and if you need them. There are no gold medals or trophies handed out at the end of class for the ones who rode with the hardest resistance, lifted the most amount of weight, used the band with the highest resistance, did the most pushups from their toes, or held a perfect plank for 3 minutes. Work at the level that suits your body that day and challenge yourself there. Instructors see it all the time – people taking harder options than they should just for the sake of taking them. Proper form fails and that’s when, at the least, you don’t get the full benefit of the work, and at worst, risk injury. Work smart and remember, no one is taking notes on whether cranked out that overhead press with 10 pounds or 30, but your body will know. And please – take breaks when you need. Everyone does it.
Really. That’s not to say we don’t work hard – we sure do! But this isn’t brain surgery we’re performing here folks. We’re moving our bodies while listening to good tunes and pushing ourselves to the very best of our ability. Everyone comes for a different reason. Whatever your reason is, work hard – your body deserves it, but have fun while you do it. In Group Exercise you’ll find encouragement and success, comradery and friendship. And before you know it, you’ll be a seasoned “groupie” too!
So are you ready to give something new a try? We’ve got classes that will make you stronger, leaner, fitter, faster and more flexible. Not sure where to start? Feel free to contact me with any questions. You can email Beth Fielder at [email protected]