Have you ever felt just a little bit overwhelmed at the gym? Like maybe you’re the only person there who doesn’t bench 750 pounds or run marathons?
When I first started working out, I was in a constant state of being overwhelmed and down on myself. The group class was the embodiment of anxiety. Do I want to spend 30 minutes to an hour being the chubby kid in the back row heaving like a beached whale? No thanks.
But I have a secret. You are one of the blessed few that gets to hear it. Group classes can actually be an ego boost! They give you mojo and can crush that plateau.
Sure, sure, I’ve mentioned them before but I wanted to highlight how big of deal they’ve been for me. That workout buddy you have is perfect and wonderful, but having a whole group of people who notice when you’ve been skipping out is such a motivation. Here are some tips that I wish I’d known from day one.
Group Class Survival 101
1. Not everything is about me. Everyone in the class you just entered is working on their own fitness goals. You aren’t the center of the world. Not everyone is staring at you. Not everyone is wondering why the hell is that girl here. Not everyone just noticed that you couldn’t knock out that last pushup. Promise.
2. Chill out. Take a break. There’s always that moment in the middle where I’m pretty convinced I’m about to die. I’m a little embarrassed how long it took for me to have the realization that this is MY class and it’s all good if I take a little break and grab some water. I always had this idea that I had to do everything exactly like the instructor—pace, intensity, length, speed, and height. Yeah, that instructor that teaches these classes 4 times a day and has dedicated his/her life to teaching others fitness. Needless to say, I couldn’t quite keep up.
3. Bring water. And a towel. If it’s a good class, you’re going to sweat like crazy. Dehydration will make you shaky and unfocused. Make sure you keep yourself hydrated. Don’t get blinded by sweat dripping into your eyes, causing them to sting like mad. You won’t be able to concentrate on the instructor or see what they’re doing, so a towel is a great plan too.
4. Don’t let your clothes be an obstacle. I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again! Confession: I didn’t follow my own rule at a recent boxing class and really regretted it. You know those sports bras that zip up in the front? Cute right? WRONG. While we were doing sets of burpees then mountain climbers, the zipper came unzipped…whoops. I can promise you I’ll never again be wearing that one to a high intensity class. Oh, and do us all a favor and wear shorts long enough to cover your ass.
5. Talk to people! They’re probably nice. As an added bonus, you get a new support person cheering for your success and doing the same thing you are.
Hopes this helps! Let me know if I missed your favorite tip 🙂