New to exercise or to your health club? Often a great place to start with your fitness routine, and to meet new people, is with group exercise classes. These exercise classes sometimes come at a fee, or if you’re lucky, are included with your membership. Often exercise classes include things like yoga, pilates, bootcamp, strength training, spin/indoor cycling, water aerobics, and just about anything else you could think of to keep you from getting bored. Still, they can be a bit intimidating at first, so here’s a few tips to get you started; plus some simple etiquette as a reminder for not only the newbies, but also the seasoned health club member.
Be on time.
Group exercise classes are designed to make sure that your workout is fun, effective, and safe. If you show up late and miss most or all of the warm-up, you are actually putting yourself at risk for injury. Warm-ups are ESSENTIAL! Don’t deny yourself a proper warm-up.
Let your instructor know!
If you’re new, introduce yourself! We love to know your name—much better than “hey you.” If you have any restrictions, injuries, or other conditions that prevent you from properly executing certain moves in the class, tell your instructor! This is VERY important to make sure that you don’t injure yourself. Your instructor will suggest modifications that can help you participate in the exercise class. This especially includes pregnant women; it’s imperative to let your instructor know you’re expecting.
Check your cell phone at the door!
Nothing interrupts Yoga or Pilates exercise classes like a space age ringtone going off in the middle of savasana. It’s a distraction in any kind of class! Texting and checking your email can usually wait for a break in the action, right? Do yourself and your classmates a favor and turn your phone off, or silence it. It will make everyone’s experience more enjoyable, especially YOURS. This is your time—take the opportunity to enjoy it!
Be your best YOU…everyone else is taken.
Don’t compare yourself to those around you! Exercise isn’t about perfection, it’s about improvement. Every time you attend exercise classes you have different life circumstances that affect your performance. Respect your current level of fitness! Keep in mind, that ability can differ from class to class too! Have fun and do your best. It’s not a competition. Work to improve with each class, and enjoy the journey!
Water Water Water!
Make sure you are well hydrated during your exercise classes! In fact, if you are thirsty, it’s best to get water when you need it and not wait, as dehydration can be potentially dangerous and can affect performance in class. Make sure you drink before, during, and after class. Sports drinks are usually not necessary, unless you are in extreme conditions, or exercising for more than 60 minutes.
Stay for the whole class.
In the structure of most exercise classes, the cool down is just as important as the warm-up! It allows you to bring your heart rate down at a steady rate, to recover properly, and to properly stretch those nice, warm muscles. When you skip this part of class, you will be more likely to get soreness or even set yourself up for injury. If you need to leave early, get that stretch in, and let your instructor know that you’ll be leaving early. We get a little alarmed when someone ducks out the door without a wave, or a thumbs-up. I’ve actually followed a couple of people down the hall to make sure that everything was okay!
Tell us what you think!
Believe it or not, we as instructors, WANT to hear from you. These exercise classes are designed for you, so if you have a suggestion, comment, compliment, or concern—let us know! Likewise, if there is a portion of the class you’d like help with, we can do that! Don’t be afraid to approach us, we don’t bite!
One last thought…
You looked at the schedule, and you chose a class you thought would be fun. Great start! The exercise classes we offer are carefully designed to offer the best results for the participants. Our instructors are certified, trained, and experienced (this is not our first rodeo). Please follow the instructor’s directions, and stick to the format of the class design. There is nothing more distracting to other members than someone “doing their own thing” during a class designed for specific exercises or movements. The reason group exercise is so popular is because it’s a fun, effective way to get fit. Let your Instructor guide you to that new level of fitness you’re striving for!Get Started! Tell us about your goals!