So you want to try a group exercise class for the first time, but you’re intimidated by the equipment, instructor and room full of perfectly synchronized members? Fear not, here are a few guidelines to consider that will ensure you have a great experience!
1. Meet the instructor
Before trying any group fitness class, meet the instructor. This lets her or him know you are new and would like helpful tips — such as what equipment to use, where to stand in the room and what certain cues may mean. It also enables the instructor to accommodate and injuries or challenges you might have. Many people find that they attend group exercise classes based on their affinity for the teacher over the class itself. So, can test whether you have a good connection.
2. Talk to other members
Talking with other members who regularly attend the class can be helpful. They will be able to share their firsthand experiences with you. Watching the class also is a great way to gauge whether it’s the right class for you.
3. Know your injuries and ask for modifications beforehand
Taking a group exercise class is different from working one-on-one with a personal trainer. The instructor will not be able to provide every person with individual instructions. So know your body, your limits and (most of all) your injuries. Use modifications and only do what you can. Listen to your body; you know it best.
4. Get familiar with the equipment being used
Most group exercise classes use equipment. This can include things like weights, bands, balls, kettlebells, steps, blocks, spin bikes and rowing machines. Once you add any piece of equipment into the equation, you increase your risk of injury. So knowing the equipment and being comfortable using it is very important. This is something you can talk to the instructor and other members about beforehand.
5. Have fun!
The best part of any group fitness class is being part of a team and feeling that collective energy. You’ll see regulars in the front row, seamlessly in sync with the instructor, and rookies in the back row sweating and stumbling.
Chances are there will be someone grunting, singing or hootin’ and hollerin’, too. Don’t spend the class judging yourself in the mirror. Instead, crack a smile, throw your hands in the air and give it your best shot. Chances are: If you have fun, you’ll keep going — and that is the most important thing!