We’ve all been there, that moment when your friend or work colleague suggests you go to a group exercise class together. You respond with a hesitant nod and then…panic! The thought of lycra starts to make you feel queasy.
Panic no more, check out our 10 tried and tested class-y tips that are guaranteed to help you stretch, pedal or pump like a pro.
Research shows that people who attend group classes are more likely to “stick” to their exercise goals vs. going solo. Why? Simple! Great music, rock star instructors, scheduled classes, variety, power of the group, and proven exercise methods are some reasons that come to mind. So, what’s not to like?
Whether you have done one class, consider yourself a regular or you are trying something new, hopefully we’ve got something for you.
1. Right gear - right idea – hold your horses, don’t go swiping that credit card just yet, this is not an excuse to hit the shops. There is no need to go splurging on kit that might not be right. When it comes to exercise, clothing has a functional and safety aspect that must not be overlooked. For example, if you are attending a spin class try not to wear loose clothing around the ankle or long laces that could get tangled as you pedal. Or if you are attending a hot yoga class try not to wear heavy warm clothing that might impair your movement and make you sweat unnecessarily. When doing a class you must feel comfortable and safe. Do your research or ask the venue what is appropriate before you hit the class.
2. RSVP - Check if your class requires booking to avoid disappointment, some classes are more popular than others depending on the format, instructor and time of day. A simple phone call or online booking is all that is needed to guarantee your spot.
3. No warm up – no class – Avoid looking like a deer in the headlights! No class goer appreciates the one who arrives late and interrupts the class. Save yourself the embarrassment (especially if it is your first class) and schedule yourself to arrive at least 10 minutes before the start time so you can get yourself familiar with the room and equipment (if available).
4. Make yourself known – Now’s not the time to be shy, let the instructor know you are new. It is their job to make sure you enjoy the class and that you are familiar with what will happen. Believe me, even if you don’t, they will soon be able to tell, so why not beat them to it. The instructor might tailor the class and their cues according to the level of the participants in the room. Your success is their success and they will want you to come back. It’s win-win.
5. Cosy middle – it is important that you have good visibility to see what the instructor is doing, you might move or change position during the class. It is a good idea to set yourself in the middle of the room so you can follow others if needed and the instructor can keep an eye on you to make sure you are moving safely and with good technique.
6. Gears, bars, weights, what? Allow time to set up and get assistance. Get familiar with the equipment and make sure you know how to use it. There is nothing worse than playing cool, then the class gets under way and it’s too late to realise you have no clue what you are doing. Find out what equipment will be used and provided. Easy peasy? Sure, as long as you know what you are doing.
7. Frenemies? – Going with friends is part of the fun right? Sure, however sometimes our friends will try really hard to make us feel comfortable and tell us EVERYTHING there is to know about the class. This can backfire; make sure this does not distract you from the important information the instructor might be trying to say or give especially for you.
8. Leavers are cheaters - Stay until the end so you can stretch, return the equipment where and how you found it and thank the instructor for the class – brownie points!
9. Leave tech in the locker – Avoid distractions and respect others, after all a class involves a group of people. Avoid blinding others or killing the mood with your bright screen!
10. No sweat! - Immerse yourself in the moment, relax and enjoy the workout.
Not that scary ha? Why not give it a try, book a class today!
I always find it hard to walk through the doors of a new class and have left a couple in the past but these tips will help me next time I decide to start a new one. I go to a couple of regular ones now and I know from experience it took 3-4 weeks to feel like I really fitted there so persistence pays off!
I'd actually suggest going to the front for a new class, you can see the instructor better. Might as well get your money's worth!
Very useful and inspiring article - and quite true about putting yourself in the middle of the group. It feels hard but makes a big difference.