I’ve recently discovered a new passion of mine: spin class.
Shocker right? What a stereotypical female thing to be in love with. But I don’t care, it really is amazing, and contrary to most belief, an extremely difficult 45 minute workout.
I’ll be honest, I used to be one of those people who teased girls that went to spin. I mean how mainstream is that? And you’re just biking, it can’t be that hard. But then I took a chance and realized just how difficult it can actually be.
I went to my very first class five weeks ago. It was the second day of fall classes, and I just wanted a nice workout to get me moving, so I strolled into a beginners spin class.
I was sore until Saturday. So yeah.
In that first class I struggled with keeping up and learning all the different moves and lingo, but when I came back the following week it came so easily to me.
Two weeks ago I stepped up my game and I went to my very first normal spin class- not one for beginners. It was then that two guys swaggered in looking like, “Man this is gonna be easy.” Boy did I feel sorry for them. Within the first five minutes they were making faces like, “Holy cow!” and taking tons of breaks. I was silently laughing in my head at their pain. I was thinking about how naive they were thinking they could just stroll into a spin class and find it easy….when I realized I had done the same thing a mere three weeks ago.
I used to tease spin class enthusiasts because I thought spin class was dumb. Why? Because I had never done it, and I always wanted to. I projected my fear onto the class itself. It had nothing to do with the class, it had everything to do with me.
Spin isn’t just a glorified workout, it is an honest to goodness intense workout. If you don’t believe me, go to a class yourself. Or ask the cocky guys who came into class last week.
Since I was hesitant to go to class in fear of being seen as stereotypical or being made fun of, I thought I’d share my advice on joining group fitness classes.
Go with a friend
This is perfect if you are scared of looking dumb or think you’re going to chicken out. I went to my first Zumba class only because my friend wanted to go, and we had so much fun! Tagging along with a friend is a great way to try new classes you normally wouldn’t try, and a way to have more laughs in the class. Fitness doesn’t always have to be serious!
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Start with a beginners class or tell the instructor you are new
I highly recommend starting with beginners If your gym offers beginners classes! In those sessions, the instructors take more time to go over the different moves, lingo and form so they are perfect for people who don’t know what they’re doing.
If they don’t offer intro classes it’s totally okay to just tell the instructor you’re new. This helps them out, because if they have a lot of newbies then they know to explain the moves and to tone down the workout.
Number one rule: stay hydrated. Make sure you’re drinking enough before the class starts and have water to drink during the class as well. Most classes I have been to even carve out time in the class for you to drink water, so take advantage of it and bring your own so you aren’t fighting over the water fountain. If your instructor doesn’t give you time to drink water, it’s up to you to choose if you need water or not. Don’t feel pressured to go thirsty the whole class just because the instructor doesn’t say, “Okay water break!”
Don’t position yourself in the back!
Just like you shouldn’t sit in the very back of the class, you shouldn’t be in the very back of fitness classes. If you’re in the back you won’t be able to see what the instructor is doing, and it may be harder to hear what they’re saying. I’m not saying you have to be smack dab in the middle, right in front of the instructor. Just make sure you’re somewhere that you can see and hear clearly.
Don’t compare yourself to the regulars
This is something I learned really quickly when I started taking yoga classes last semester. I thought I was amazing at yoga because I had taken yoga classes in high school and middle school. Um, wrong. I was nowhere near as bendy and strong as the other people in the classes. I remember being so disappointed that I wasn’t as great as I thought I was that I considered quitting.
Then I realized that I’d rather push through the hard then and slowly grow, rather than give up and have to start all over again months later.
It’s 100% okay and normal, to not be the best person in the class.
Especially if you just started out not too long ago. You could be comparing yourself to someone who has been going to Zumba for four years or someone who grew up doing yoga or a pro cyclist. So don’t compare yourself to others in the class.
Don’t get down on yourself if you can’t do everything yet
This goes hand in hand with the last tip. If you compare yourself to others you may end up trying to do something you aren’t ready for yet. Don’t get down on yourself if everyone else is doing the advanced version of the exercises and you’re still doing the modified beginner version. It’s actually great to start out doing the beginner version because then you can focus on form and then you will be less likely to injure yourself.
My second class, I may have been able to keep up easier with the instructor, but I definitely didn’t have everything down pat yet. I had forgotten that you needed extra resistance on the bike so you could stand, so when I went to stand up on the pedals my left foot flew out of the foot holder and my leg scraped the side of the bike. Luckily I think the only person who noticed was the guy behind me. My shin is still has a bump and bruise and this happened a month ago! So like I said, it’s totally okay to start out easy so you can focus on getting everything right and not hurting yourself like I did.
Show up early!
Never, ever, ever show up late to a group fitness class. It’s disrespectful to the instructor, distracting to the other students and then you’ll have missed the warm-up.
Showing up early is the way to go because then you have time to get yourself in the right mindset, use the bathroom before, get all the equipment you need and introduce yourself to the instructor. That last one isn’t necessary, but I highly recommend it to people who have never gone to a fitness class before. By letting the instructor know you’re a beginner they are more prone to helping you out and making sure you aren’t doing anything that will cause you to injure yourself.
Group fitness classes have become one of my favorite ways to get my workout on, so I hope my advice helps you if you’re interested in them as well!
Remember, don’t look down on something just because you don’t understand it or have never done it yourself.