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Tips for Your First Fitness Class

As a fitness instructor I see a lot of faces each week. Each class I walk in and there is at least one new person who is looking to try a class or get back into a class after having been away for a while. Instructors get VERY EXCITED when we have new people in class, not because we’re looking to single you out (although sometimes we do unintentionally) but because we’re so happy you chose US to join for a class.

As a new time student, or a “newbie” as I like to call you, I have a few tips that should help you get through the class which is both beneficial for you AND for the instructor.

  1. Welcome to Class! So it’s your first class, please let the instructor KNOW this so that they can help you as best they can before getting started. Try to find a spot in the class where you can CLEARLY SEE the instructor. Why? You have no clue what’s going on and standing all the way in the back corner is not going to help that, so please move forward. We all have a tendency to want to mesh into the wall during a fitness class so that no one can see us messing up or not following along. A GOOD instructor will make you feel welcome in class and comfortable no matter where you end up standing.
  2. KEEP MOVING!!  A lot of fitness classes  these days are structured to be like “Simon Says” – I tell you what to do and you do it for as long as I tell you to until I say stop. Our instincts as humans is to stop mid-movement and watch until we catch on; or better yet, simply give up. In a class like Zumba for instance, where moves are dance based, participants get frustrated easily because they have a hard time keeping up (see #1 – see the instructor). My #1 rule for any of my classes is to simply KEEP MOVING. I don’t care if you’re doing our move, or the Carlton. So long as you’re moving, you’re keeping your heart rate up and burning calories. The second  you stop moving your body thinks its time to cool down and veg out.
  3. Don’t be Harsh on Yourself! Ok, so you’re at the half way point of the class and you’ve been watching the clock praying that you’ll be ending soon. KNOCK IT OFF! If you’ve NEVER taken a class like the one you’re in RIGHT NOW, you’re NOT going to “get it” the first go around… heck you may not get it the second or third either. Any “Simon Says” type class is going to take a little practice on your part as a participant. What’s this mean? It means that after a few consecutive classes, you will begin to pick up on core moves and more importantly INSTRUCTOR CUES. So please, I BEG OF YOU, don’t leave class half way through because you don’t think you can do it or because you don’t get it. Suffer through it, because let’s face it, it beats being bored on a treadmill for 2 hours! Make it your goal to go to the same instructor’s class AT LEAST 3 times and if after the 3rd time you still hate it then, and only then, can you quit it and try something else. Not only that, but instructors know when people have left and it is our responsibility to ensure you’re safe and not dying in the hallway.
  4. Stay Hydrated. This one is simple. Drink water, don’t die in class…simple 😉
  5. HAVE FUN! Us instructors thrive off the energy of their classes just as much as participants thrive off of the instructors’. So, come in to your class ready to HAVE FUN! Check your ego at the door because no one likes a Diva (unless it’s Whitney or Aretha then we may talk). Classes like Zumba are meant to be like a party and I certainly don’t know of any parties wherein the party goers are quiet and not having fun…

Have questions? See your instructor after class and they’ll be more than happy to talk with you and answer any question you have!