So you’ve signed up to an exercise class, great! Now what? This is where we tend to start over complicating things. Panic sets in and we start worrying about everything from getting there to what to wear. Will people stare? Should I do some research in preparation? Should I start a daily workout regime to get in shape for it?!
So what should you do? Well the answer is very simple – turn up! That’s it. You definitely don’t have to do any of the following…
Get fit before you start the class – The idea that you have to be fit to go to a fitness class is nonsense. The purpose of going to a class is to GET fitter. Unfortunately you won’t get fit until you start exercising so you may as well just go to the exercise class! Of course some classes will be of a higher intensity than others but that shouldn’t put you off. In the words of Nike – just do it! Everyone has to start somewhere. Don’t write yourself off and decide you won’t be able to do it before even giving it a go. ‘I can’t do it’ is a knee jerk reaction to something that seems hard.
In my job I get to see how much people can physically do when they give their self a chance. Your body can stand a lot; it’s your mind you have to convince. If you are struggling to ditch the negativity and think you’re not fit enough to go to a class, then you shouldn’t wait any longer to attend. You NEED that positive group class atmosphere. You need the support and encouragement of the instructor and class members.
Tell the instructor your measurements – Your waist, bust or dress size will not make you exempt from joining a class! The instructor does not need to be warned about how much you weigh beforehand. I think many people imagine fitness class goers and exercise lovers alike to look a certain way. The stereotypical ‘gym bunny’ comes to mind. Please don’t panic about being the ‘biggest’ person there. You will find all different body shapes and sizes at an exercise class. You will not stick out like a sore thumb! Your shape does not dictate your fitness level or ability so it’s irrelevant.
Buy a whole new wardrobe – You do not need to go wild in the aisles at Sports Direct before going to a class. Obviously if you do have any sportswear/gym stuff to wear then that’s great, but it’s not essential. This topic of what to wear reminds me of a funny post I once saw on Facebook which said – “I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose fitting clothing…If I HAD any loose fitting clothing, I wouldn’t have signed up to begin with!” The key is to wear something comfortable that you can move in. If you want to invest in something you should buy a good sports bra and a good pair of trainers. These are the most important items you can own when it comes to exercise gear.
Build the thought of going into this big, scary thing – Of course anyone will empathise with someone who is nervous about going to a class for the first time, particularly if they are on their own. There is the fear of the unknown. Will it be embarrassing? Will it hurt?! 9 times out of ten if someone comes to a class of mine for the first time they will come up to me at the end and say they enjoyed it. OK, so sometimes not all of them come back. A dance-based fitness class is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea! This is like any class. If you don’t enjoy it you don’t go again. At least it won’t have been an hour wasted – you’ve still done an hour’s exercise!
Remember the instructor will want you to enjoy it to ensure you do come back so don’t fear the instructor! The other women at class will be there for the same reasons you are so there’s no need to fear them! It might feel like hard work that first time. That’s perfectly normal. Anything new will always feel hard. Nobody gets super fit overnight. You will feel proud of having pushed yourself afterwards and you will become more capable the longer you stick at it.