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Tips for Fitness Class Newbies

  • June 12, 2014
  • By Brittany
Tips for Fitness Class Newbies

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their wonderful comments on Tuesday’s post.  The Hubs and I are extremely excited and I love sharing everything with you all!  Now on to today’s topic.

If you’ve been here for awhile, you know that I love love love fitness classes.  I live and breathe to find the next great class in this city that never sleeps.   But not everyone shares my enthusiasm for the group fitness scene.  In fact, it can be downright intimidating.  So I have put together a few tips to make taking the plunge a lot easier because, trust me, group fitness is so much fun!


1.) Do a little research before you go.  Just because you’ve heard tabata is the latest fitness craze doesn’t mean you should just jump on the bandwagon.  Before signing up for a class, do a little research on what type of class you’ll be attending.  Is it cardio, strength, flexibility or mind-body?  What level of fitness experience do you need to take this class?  Is there a beginner’s class you should try first?  The easiest way to get this information is to check the website, observe a class if you can, ask a friend or just call the studio. Someone should be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Zumba mC 2
2). Arrive prepared.  As part of your research, find out what you need for the class before you go.  Maybe long pants will be uncomfortable for that hot yoga class.  Most barre classes require socks.  And please make sure you have sneakers if you plan on doing cardio.  Also, check to see if you need to bring water or if it is complimentary or available for purchase.  Also check on the locker situation so you know if any are available and if you need your own lock.  Otherwise leave your valuables at home.
3) Invite a friend.  I hate walking into a room not knowing anyone and I especially hate it when all eyes are on me (which they probably aren’t but it feels that way!).  If you get nervous trying new things or going to a new place, ask a friend to join you.  I’ve been to tons of classes with friends wanting to try it for the first time.  I’m more than willing to go and show them the ropes.  By the same token, I’m always grateful when’s friend agrees to go with me to a new class. Strength in numbers!

4) Tell the instructor you are new and if you have any injuries. This is a big one.  A lot of instructors will ask at the beginning of class but in case they don’t or you are too shy to raise your hand in front of everyone (I hate doing that), just let the instructor know by going up to them before class starts.  If the instructor is unaware there is a new person in the class, they may spend less time explaining the basics and cueing proper form since they may assume everyone has been there before.  It’s also a good idea to let the instructor know if you have any injuries or other conditions so they can suggest modifications or stay away from pushing you too hard if you need to pull back.

5) Don’t stand at the back.  This one sounds counterintuitive but you are really doing yourself a disservice by standing in the back.  You most likely will not be able to see the instructor that well, not will you have a great view of yourself in the mirror.  And let’s be honest, we all want to check ourselves out in the mirror.  Seriously, checking your form and making sure you are mimicking the instructor is important!  While you don’t need to be front and center, I recommend the second or third row.  You’ll have a good view of the instructor and you’ll most likely have the benefit of class regulars in front of you, which can be great for motivation and to help you follow along.

6) Listen to the music. One of the best parts about group classes besides the group mentality is the music.  A lot of classes are specifically choreographed to the music and it is really enjoyable.  Just relax and listen to the music!

7). Don’t take yourself too seriously. This is probably the most important tip I can give.  It’s just a fitness class not the SATs.  Relax and enjoy yourself.  These classes are supposed to make fitness fun!  Don’t worry if you can’t get all the moves and you don’t look like a rockstar, like most things, it takes time to build the coordination and muscle memory required to excel.  Just enjoy the moment!

Readers,  are you a fitness class junkie or do you shy away from studios?  What are your tips for your first fitness class?  What’s your favorite class?

By Brittany, June 12, 2014
  • Paige@FitNotFad
    June 12, 2014

    It’s like you know exactly what’s going on in my life 🙂 I got invited to go to a boxing class this morning…I leave in about 30 minutes and I’m SUPER nervous…I’ll do yoga classes but group fitness where I know nothing about the class at all….nerve wracking. I needed to be reminded all eyes won’t be on me, even when I feel super paranoid. Great tips!

    • FitBritt
      June 17, 2014

      I hope the class went well! I have done a few boxing classes over the years and they are always really tough. That is actually one of the classes that intimidates me the most, especially when you have to work with a partner!

  • Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat
    June 12, 2014

    All great tips! #7 is a big one for me! It’s important not to worry about other people looking at you because in all likelihood they’re not and just trying to figure out the moves just like you. It’s important to keep moving and just have fun!

    • FitBritt
      June 17, 2014

      Totally agree! I never look at other people in class unless I’m trying to do exactly what they are doing!

  • Shawna
    June 12, 2014

    great tips! “don’t take yourself seriously” is always such a good thing to keep in mind when you’re doing a new class — everyone started at the beginning once, and you do what you can and congratulate yourself for trying something new. i like the “go with a friend” one also — one of my best friends is into yoga so i recently went with her for the first time, and i’ve been challenging her to get into running a bit (which is so not her fave), so we are able to encourage each other and have fun with trying out one another’s passions. it rocks. 🙂

  • caitlin @ tulle wedding skirts
    June 12, 2014

    As a fitness class junkie (and teacher), like yourself, I totally agree. I’m partial to barre classes 🙂 Great tips – and great post girlie!!

  • Melanie @ Happy Being Healthy
    June 12, 2014

    I LOVE group fitness classes SO MUCH! I seriously push myself so much more and get such a great workout when I’m surrounded by people in a class. You always get to go to so many cool classes and I love all of the tips you shared!

    • FitBritt
      June 17, 2014

      Thanks Melanie! I agree, group fitness classes really help me push myself more and are just more fun!

  • Lisa @ Lulus Big Adventure
    June 12, 2014

    Great tips for anyone who’s nervous about group fitness! I enjoy group fitness because it keeps me accountable, but I find it hard to make time for it sometimes.

    • FitBritt
      June 17, 2014

      Me too! I usually try to do at least one class a week and then supplement with my own workouts at home.

  • Kim
    June 12, 2014

    Great tips!
    You probably know that I don’t go to organized classes often but last summer I did go to a Zumba class a few times. I definitely followed the “don’t take yourself too seriously.” I spent most of the time laughing at myself.

  • Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
    June 12, 2014

    I just did a cycling class with a friend tonight! Haven’t been to one in awhile and it was a great workout.

  • Cassandre
    June 13, 2014

    I love fitness classes. These are great tips. I also like to talk to the instructor after class and get some tips and pointers.

    • FitBritt
      June 18, 2014

      That’s a great point! Instructors always are willing to talk to participants but I hardly ever see anyone taking advantage!

  • Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness
    June 14, 2014

    Great tips! When I started going to spin I was the “new girl”. It’s a small gym and everyone knew each other. Everyone was very nice and instructor helped me out a ton with my first class. My tip is never be afraid to try something new.

  • Carla
    June 14, 2014

    I do like fitness classes but I just don’t have any options close to my work or home. I keep looking in case something new pops up.

    I am bad about talking to the instructor ahead of time. Great tip!

    • FitBritt
      June 18, 2014

      I like talking to the instructor because then I get more personal attention, which really makes me feel like I’m getting the most out of my $$!

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