If you’re attending a new exercise class, you’re probably feeling a little bit nervous. Are my classmates watching me? Am I going to get winded and collapse? Will my shirt be too loose and fall over my head? We may not be able to quell all your first-class fears, but here are a few expert tips to boost your confidence and help you get started.
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1: Forget the Coffee Run – Be On Time
It should be a rule of thumb to arrive early for any new endeavor, but this is particularly true for an exercise class, especially if you’ve never been before and are unsure of what it entails. Arrive at least 15 minutes ahead of schedule to find the building, fill up your water bottle, scope out the locker room and get your equipment ready. If it’s a particularly large gym with multiple floors, you also may need a few minutes to locate the classroom.
Another benefit of being first on the scene is that you can secure a spot at the front of the class where you’ll be able to consult the instructor on form or other concerns. If you’re one of those first-timers who prefers to plant at the back of the room, that’s OK too. Whatever your style, arrive early so you can find a comfortable spot.
2: Find Yourself A Workout Buddy
Everything’s better with friends, right? When you’re alone during your first Pilates or Zumba class, you might feel like there’s a spotlight shining on you the entire time. If you bring a friend or tag along — especially if they’re class veterans — you’re much more likely to get out of your shell and enjoy the moves. Plus, you can help each other out instead of asking a stranger.
3: Dress Appropriately
One of the best ways to ensure your comfort and confidence during a class is to wear clothing that suits the workout. If you’re enrolled in hot yoga, you’ll probably keel over in a hoodie and sweatpants. If you participate in a spin class, don’t wear loose pants that will get caught in the spokes of your bike.
Some classes might have specific outfit requirements, so if you’re confused about what to wear, don’t hesitate to contact the instructor beforehand.
4: Communicate With The Instructor
Speaking of contacting your instructor — feel free to reach out to your instructor ahead of the class with any questions you might have. They’ll be happy to share any information about the class, including physical requirements or changes in the schedule. And if you run into an emergency and can’t attend class, you can let them know in advance that you won’t be there. And don’t be afraid to say hello afterwards to get tips on technique or to ask about any exercises you weren’t sure about during the workout.
5: Take It Slow
When you begin a new exercise class, you’ll likely be using muscles you didn’t even know existed. You’re likely going to be a bit sore, but if any posture or movement is giving you great discomfort, stop what you’re doing immediately! Never push your body past its limits. With each class, you’ll come closer to performing the movements perfectly, so use breaks to observe your fellow classmates and take it slow.
Hopefully by the end of your first class, you’ll have the confidence to come back and do it all over again! While it’s always nerve-wracking trying something new, you may discover a new activity you love.