A gym class is notoriously one of those things you either love or hate. The people who love them can’t imagine exercising without the support of a group behind them. And, to be fair, they have a point; exercising in groups has a whole host of benefits, including –
● Professional guidance
And, a load more besides. In short; if you’re struggling to get into a regular exercise routine, a class could well have your back. But, what if you’re one of those people who hate the idea of group exercise? It may be that you’ve already tried and concluded that exercise groups aren’t for you. That’s fine. Everyone’s different. But, what happens if self-conscious feelings stop you from even trying?
Rest assured that you aren’t alone. It’s common to fear entering a group exercise situation for a vast array of reasons. And, many people never get around to it because of this. It may be that you’re self-conscious about your body or your abilities. Or, your fears may be grounded in something else altogether. But, if you really think an exercise group could help your workout efforts, you shouldn’t cut yourself off due to lack of confidence. Instead, take heart in the fact that you can build yourself up here. Read on to find out how exactly you can do it.
Choose your class carefully
The first step towards feeling confident in gym class is to take time choosing. This is essential if you’re to find a setup which works for you. You’ll need to consider everything, from the location to the class itself. Location-wise, you’ll want to pick a setting which puts you at ease. A high-speed gym in a city setting, for instance, could leave you a little out of your depth. Instead, you’d be better off opting for a smaller gym, or even a town hall.
Here, there’s less chance you’ll be the only learner in your class. And, that can make a massive difference to your self-esteem. Think, too, about the class you pick. As can be seen from the class schedules on sites like www.clubfitness.us, there are a whole load of options to choose from. You could do anything, from kickboxing to Zumba. But, if you make the wrong choice, it could turn you away from group exercise for life.
So, take time considering everything, from what you want to achieve to your current abilities. Don’t jump in with a high-energy option if you’re at the start of your exercise journey. Only pick something you think you could realistically manage. And, if there’s ever an option between a mixed ability class and one for beginners, always choose the latter. Knowing that you won’t be at the bottom of the pile can really help you take the plunge.
Attend as an observer
There are no gym class rules which dictate you have to jump straight in at the deep end here. In fact, if you’re feeling uncertain, it may be best that you don’t. Instead, speak to the gym or center where the class in question is held. If you ask ahead of time, there’s every chance you could go along as an observer. This means you can stay hidden on the safety of the sidelines, but still see what it’s all about. This is a no-pressure way to get a feel for the general class ability level, and also the instructor. After the class, you could even chat with a few attendees about their experiences.
Don’t be afraid to admit to your fears here. You’ll likely find that every person you speak to was worried about the same things when they started. But, the chances are that most of them loved it the moment they took the plunge. You can take time here, too, to speak to the instructor about upcoming lessons. Again, don’t be afraid to mention your reluctance here. The chances are that they’re used to working with people who feel that way, and can tailor your experience to make you more comfortable.
Don’t go solo
Admittedly, it’s difficult to go solo in a GROUP exercise session. But, what we mean by this is that you don’t even need to turn up solo. Going along to any new class alone is daunting, let alone one where you must get your body out and get moving. So, ease those nerves by taking along a friend or two. Suddenly, instead of feeling like a confidence hurdle you need to jump, that class will seem like a lot of fun.
When you have friends by your side, it won’t matter half as much if you can’t do something. Instead of internalizing, you can laugh about those struggles with your friends. If it helps, make sure to pick buddies who are at the same fitness level as you. That way, there’s a good chance you’ll all experience the same stumbling blocks. You’ll then be able to build your practices together, too. Besides, you’ll feel much more comfortable walking in when hand in hand with your best friend. You can also hold each other accountable.
If you’ve had a bad session, it’s easy enough to stand up a room filled with strangers. But, your friend knows where you live, and can hunt you down even when you ignore their calls. So, ask around. There’s a good chance at least some of your friends will jump at this opportunity. We could all do with a little more fitness and friendship in our lives, after all.
Prepare by getting the gear
You can also help yourself feel prepared by getting your gear ahead of time. Admittedly, what you need will vary depending on the class you’ve chosen. Either way, you can be sure you’ll always need a suitable workout outfit. That’s a given irrelevant of anything else. If you turned up in a jumper and jeans, for instance, you’re going to stick out like a sore thumb. On top of which, you’d struggle to gain any benefit from the exercises.
Instead, head to sites like www.underarmour.com and stock up on some outfits you can be proud of. You don’t need to spend a fortune to achieve the right look here. A basic set of leggings and a sports bra could leave you feeling confident and ready to go. Aside from being practical, clothes like these will stop you feeling like the odd one out. And, that can help when it comes to beginners confidence. Think, too, about whether you need to take any props along. Admittedly, if your class is in a gym, there’s a chance they do supply these already.
But, many die-hard gym goers will bring their own stuff along anyway. So, consider whether you want to do the same. This has the benefit of leaving you to pick equipment which is suited to your needs. And, that could help your performance, and thus your confidence. Again, you don’t need to go mad here. But, if you’re doing a yoga course, take along your own mats and blocks. If you’re attending skipping classes, take a rope measured to your body. These will ensure that you can match your practice to your ability, and thus leave you with no excuse not to take the plunge.
Build your stamina before the event
Speaking of your ability, it’s also worth building your stamina before you start class. Appearance worries aside, many of us feel reluctance because we don’t want to die of exhaustion in front of cool-headed people. Imagine how mortifying it would be if you could no longer stand while your fellows haven’t even broken a sweat. In truth, this is mainly an issue in mixed-ability classes.
If you’re all starters together, you’ll all be equally exhausted by the end of things. But, if you know there are more advanced members in your group, your confidence could benefit from practice. The good news is, it’s easier to build stamina than you would think. In fact, sites like www.livestrong.com claim they can help you here in just three days. What’s more, the steady building of stamina doesn’t mean you need to dedicate hours to the cause.
Something as simple as five or ten minutes each day will help you prepare. Start small and don’t push yourself. Then, the moment you feel able, increase your practice. Before you know it, you’ll be able to do physical tasks without losing the ability to stand. If you work at this, you should be able to keep up a lot better when you have a class around you. No more embarrassing class collapses for you!
A final word
That first session in any class is going to be nerve-wracking. Such is the nature of walking into the unknown. But, taking even just one or two of the above steps can give you the push you need to get started here. And, remember; once you get past that first session, you may never look back.
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