Group fitness classes are more popular than ever. There are various types of group fitness classes in the market, so much that making a choice on which class to attend is tougher. You will find low impact or high impact classes. Low impact classes means the intensity is lower while for high impact classes the intensity is higher (I would expand on this in another article). You may find some classes with a combination of both. What type of group fitness classes can you find today, there is yoga, Pilates, Zumba, kickboxing, step, Taebo, spin, sculpt, Dance aerobics, boot-camp and the list goes on. Whatever the case, I believe there are a few things to bear in mind when attending a group fitness class:

Be Knowledgeable: Have some knowledge of the class you are attending. You may not need to do a lengthy research, but asking can help you come better prepared for the class both physically and mentally. You can find out more about the class by asking the gym, other participants who have been attending, or the instructor in charge of the class. You can also find general information on the internet.

Arrive Early: Every class has its own format, arriving early helps you understand the format for that class. There are several reasons why you should arrive early, one is to participate in the warm-up, especially if you were not participating in any other exercise prior to the time. Secondly, you progress with the class. Especially if you are a newbie, you most likely would be thrown off guard when you arrive thirty minutes late for a class. I see them a lot, they sneak behind the class and spend the next fifteen minutes trying to figure out what the class is all about, then by the time they get the hang of it, it’s cool down time. 

It is not just about you: If you know you require special attention then I would suggest you hire a personal trainer. As much as your group fitness instructor would try to pay attention to every individual, he/she may not give you the special attention that you require, so do not expect the focus of the class to be on you.

Follow the Instructor: while I always encourage participants to keep moving, it is quite distracting for both the instructor and the class when someone is constantly doing their own variations of an exercise. I mean you are in a group class, so follow the class as much as possible. If you must do your variations, then stay at the back where no one can see you. Secondly, if you do not follow the instructor’s instructions then be slow to complain about the class not meeting your goals. 

Challenge yourself: You are there I believe to workout, as you could be using that hour to do so many other things. Give it your all and if you sucked at it the first day, try again and again until you get into it. Unless of course there are medical reasons why you have to quit the class.

Know your Instructor: I’m not saying know his/her personal problems or where they live, etc. I’m talking about your instructor’s style and way of teaching. If you have suggestions, approach him/her. I am always happy to hear feedback about my class and I’m sure most fitness instructors would.

Let yourself go: You will not get the best of your workout when you are too self-conscious. It is very easy to spot them, constantly brushing their hair back, adjusting their bra straps, taking tiny steps and looking into the mirror to make sure they don’t look silly. You need to let yourself go. The fact is no one really is looking at you, unless you are a big time celeb or something, so, get the best of your workout and lose yourself.

Be open-minded: you may have heard some negative reports of the class before attending, or maybe you had some personal reservations. Whatever the case, you are bound to not enjoy the class if you go in with a negative attitude. Perhaps you are used to aerobics and do not understand the concept of Pilates, don’t make the class uncomfortable for others by sighing at every interval. Leave your issues at the door and come in with a new mind. That’s one difference I’ve noticed between adults and children. Children are always opened to trying out new things. Give them Bollywood, salsa, hip-hop, ballet, they are always down for anything.

It is okay to feel tired: Do not compare yourself to the lady in the front row who seems to have a rush of energy. Pace yourself and enjoy the class. Take breaks if you need to. Always remember that everyone would have different fitness levels, so do not be discouraged but rather be inspired and motivated to work harder.

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