I’ve taken a decent amount of group fitness classes in my life, from yoga to bootcamp to TRX. Whether it’s a strength, cardio, or flexibility class, there are a few things you should think about before going in.
In starting my bootcamp class last week, I got to thinking about some important things. Being a certified personal trainer, I am somewhat able to acknowledge my own imbalances and also when I am sacrificing form because I’m tired. However, not everyone is expected to know this before entering a group fitness class. Whether you’re a veteran or brand new, these tips can help you get the best experience in a group setting.
5 Things You Should Know Before Going into a Group Fitness Class
There Is Homework
When you leave the class, your job isn’t over. Think about what movements you did or didn’t do in the class. Did you stretch? Did you focus on cardio, strength, flexibility? Just because you take yoga three times a week doesn’t mean you don’t need to do any cardio. Conversely, doing 2 CrossFit classes a week doesn’t excuse you from working on your flexibility. Make sure you give yourself time to warm up and cool down, because a lot of times the instructor doesn’t do that. You should try to find out before going.
Do you have any injuries? Any illnesses that the instructor should know about? There’s a room full of people so he or she will not always have their eyes on you. Group fitness classes are great, but the one benefit you lose is that one on one time that you get with a personal trainer. Make sure you let them know ahead of time so they can modify exercises for you if necessary.
Don’t think about anyone else. Think about yourself and your benefit from taking the class. Pretend that nobody else is in the room. Push yourself as hard as you can, but also know when to step back. Just because the girl next to you is doing a bent over row with a 50 lb. dumbbell doesn’t mean you need to too. Who knows, maybe you can out-sprint her! Not everyone is at the same fitness level. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.
Doing 25 weighted lunges? Maybe you should think about grabbing the lighter weight. Endurance exercises shouldn’t be done with heavy weights, but exercises with lower reps might call for a heavier weight in order for you to benefit from it. Be aware and switch the weight if it feels too heavy or too light. The last thing you want to do is be straining with a weight that’s too heavy and have bad form. This can cause injuries very easily.
Take a Break
Staying hydrated is really important, especially in higher intensity classes (or hot yoga!). If you need a drink, stop and take one. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means you are smart. You know when your body is asking for something. We can sweat over 1 liter per hour during exercise, so that means we need extra H2O! Refueling will help get you through the rest of the class.
- What are your tips to get the best experience in a group fitness setting?