The other day, Bec @ Half Baked (go check out her blog for some mouthwatering baking ideas) asked for some suggestions on trying group exercises for the first time. Her question sparked the idea for this post, so here we go.
Find something you think you’ll enjoy – if you love dancing, for example, Zumba or step might be good options. If you’re totally uncoordinated, try spin. If you’ve been wanting to lift weights but have no idea where to start, try a class that incorporates strength training. If you love high intensity workouts, check out a bootcamp class. I’m a firm believer that everyone can find an activity they like (or at least can tolerate) at the gym.
Come prepared – find out what classes your gym offers beforehand and read the descriptions so you’ll have an idea of what to expect, what you need to bring (if anything), whether you need to sign up in advance, the level of difficulty etc. I hate walking into new situations blindsided so it’s better to know what you’re getting into before you arrive.
Talk to the instructor – show up a little early so you can introduce yourself to the instructor and let him or her know you’re trying the class for the first time. This will give you a chance to discuss your level of fitness, past workout experience and any past or present injuries so that the instructor can offer you modifications during the workout.
Don’t be intimidated – I know it’s a little scary walking into a new class for the first time but here’s the thing – nobody cares what you’re doing. All of the hardcore attendees will be too busy admiring their own reflections in the mirror while your fellow newbies will be focusing on trying to keep up. Nobody is going to notice or care if you screw up the choreography, need to take a lower intensity option or need to take a breather. We’re happy to have you there! We like working out with other people, that’s why we chose the group ex class over the weight room / cardio equipment.
Listen to your body – while the teacher is leading the workout, you don’t have to follow every single thing he or she says. If an exercise causes you discomfort, do something else. If you really need a break, take one. Don’t injure yourself just to impress people (again, nobody cares anyway).
Shop around – try out as many classes as you can in order to find out what you like and dislike (I usually give a class a few tries before I dismiss it completely). Over the years, I’ve found instructors whose classes I love and others I’m not so crazy about. The more classes you try, the more you’ll start to figure out what you like and dislike in a class (my must haves are good music and a teacher who motivates and encourages but doesn’t take it toooo seriously and is able to have some fun with it).
So those are my top tips gleaned from two years of bouncing around from class to class. If it weren’t for group ex, I’m pretty sure I’d still be a couch potato so if you’re able to, give it a try sometime.
Here are the group ex classes I hit up this week:
Monday – Pilates
Tuesday – BodyAttack
Wednesday – BodyPump
Thursday – BodyCombat
Today is my rest day and tomorrow I’m going to BodyPump again. My only non-group ex workout was a quick run on Sunday morning.
What’s your favourite group exercise class?
If you’ve never done group ex, why or why not? What’s one class you’re curious to try?