There is a protocol that should be followed in order to make sure that you and your classmates
have the best possible experience when attending a group fitness class. Sure, when I write this I may sound like a disgruntled instructor who gets offended when people show up late and leave early... but this post isn't about me, it's about YOU. If you want to have the best experience possible and make sure your classmates do too, there are a few things that you should be doing each and every time you attend a group fitness class, no matter what the format is.
Keep reading to find out what these are, and why you should take note...
1.) Be On Time.
This is not only for your classmates, but for yourself. Group fitness classes are designed to make sure that your workout is safe, fun, and effective. However, when you show up late and miss most or all of the warm-up, you are actually doing yourself a disservice and putting yourself at risk for injury. Warm-ups are ESSENTIAL to having the rest of the class be the most beneficial it possibly can be for you. Plus, it's respectful to your classmates and your instructor to not walk in late to class as well. But, really, think about yourself here. Don't deny yourself a proper warm-up.
2.) Let The Instructor Know...
... if you have any injuries, or anything that may restrict you from properly executing certain moves in the class. This is VERY important to make sure that you don't injure yourself. By letting the instructor know, they will be able to help you come up with modified moves so that you can continue to participate in class during the segments that may be outside of your realm of practice on that given day. This also includes pregnant women... it's a MUST to let your instructor know, especially if attending any yoga or pilates classes.
3.) Turn Off Your Cell Phone.
Nothing interrupts a Mind/Body class like a jazzy ringtone going off in the middle of class. What's even worse than that, is if you answer it! Do yourself and your classmates a favor and turn your phone off. It will make everyone's experience more enjoyable, and it will show respect to your fellow classmates during their practice. This class is YOUR time, so everyone else can wait.
4.) Do Your Best...
... and forget the rest. Yes, I stole that from Tony Horton, but it's a great line. Exercise isn't about perfection, it's about improvement. Every time you attend a class you have different life circumstances affecting your performance, not to mention your current level of fitness as it stands. Just have fun and do your best. You are there for YOU! It's not a competition (unless you want it to be, and in that case seek a class that functions in that way. If you don't like competition, then avoid classes that may promote this). Strive to improve with each class... and SMILE!
5.) Stay Hydrated.
You don't HAVE to wait for water breaks to get water. In fact, if you are thirsty, it's best to get water when you need it and not wait, as dehydration can be dangerous and can affect performance in class. Make sure you hydrate before, during, and after class. Drink that H20!
6.) Stay For The Whole Class.
The cool down is just as important as the warm-up. This will allow you to bring your heart rate down at a steady pace, allow your lungs to recover properly, and allow you to properly stretch those nice, warm muscles. If you skip this part of class, you will be more likely to get soreness or even set yourself up for injury (exercise shortens the muscles, and when muscles are tight your body is more likely to be out of alignment, which can cause joint/muscle strain. Stretch it out!). It's also another matter of respect to your classmates to stay with them for the whole class.
7.) Offer Feedback.
Believe it or not we, as instructors, WANT to hear from you. These classes are designed for you, so if you have a suggestion, let us know! Likewise, if there is a portion of the class you'd like help with, we can do that! Don't be afraid to approach us... we don't bite. Likewise, we can help you pick out other classes to try that may fit your interests or compliment your routine as well.
8.) Come Back.
It's easy, especially when starting anew to fitness again, to get discouraged by your first class. Maybe everyone else in there is running circles around you. Remember, though, that everyone started somewhere. Those people who are keeping up in the class are those who keep coming back. It wasn't easy for them at first either. Be patient with yourself and give yourself a break. Fitness is about fun, it's about loving ourselves, and it's about allowing ourselves to live longer, healthier lives. It doesn't matter if you were the best person in class or not. You WILL reap the benefits of attending regularly. Do that for yourself :-)