Getting The Best From Your Group Fitness Class

There are many great reasons for engaging in group exercise such as increased motivation, structure, inspiration and the positive endorphins emitted from others sharing in similar fitness and wellness goals.  Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your group session:

  1. Be Punctual
    • Arriving 5 – 10 minutes early allows you time to set up any necessary equipment, meet the instructor to ask questions and inform them of any limitations you may have so they can suggest alternate exercises. Being present for the warm up reduces possible injury and speeds up recovery time.
  2. Listen and Focus
    • The instructor gives important information on how to perform each exercise safely and effectively.  Paying attention helps to reduce injury and maximize the effectiveness of the activity.
    • Mind focus: particularly during really challenging exercises, remember the reason why you are doing this and change your “self talk”. Tell yourself things like, “I can do this”, “I’m strong”, “I’m a finisher”, etc.
  3. Avoid Distracting Activities And Electronic Devices
    • Excessive talking: having conversations in a group environment is distracting to yourself and others.  It is disrespectful to both the instructor and fellow participants. In environments where no microphone is present, an instructor will have to yell over the voice of those who are talking in addition to background music which can ruin their larynx and cause permanent vocal damage.  For fellow participants, not everyone wants to hear someone else’s conversation and may miss key details and fitness tips given.
    • Electronic Devices:  Turn cell phones, pagers, PDAs (i.e. iPhone, Blackberry) to silent mode and they should not be used in the studio. If you have an urgent matter to handle, please excuse yourself from the room and use your device outside.
  4. Don’t Be Afraid To Kick It Up A Notch
    • In order to improve our wellness state, we need to stimulate our bodies differently.  Have you been using the same weights for the past 10 years? It’s time to add more resistance to your load.  Still doing push-ups on your knees?  Get on your feet!  However, never compromise form for the next level. Perfect the basic level first, then kick it up a notch!
  5. Stay Hydrated
    • Don’t wait for the instructor to say water break to take one. If you wait until you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated. So sip often throughout the class.
  6. Stay For The Entire Class
    • The cool down is just as important as the warm up.  It brings your heart rate down to normalcy and ensures that your muscles are prepared for recovery and growth.  For those who are looking to gain muscle, stretching is especially important to help lengthen the muscle fibres to stimulate growth during sleep (which is when your muscles grow and strengthen)
  7. Try Your Best
    • Remember it’s about YOUR wellness, not the person next to you.  Never quit, modify if you need to, but don’t give up!
  8. Offer Feedback
    • Instructors want to hear from you! Both positive and constructive.  If you enjoyed something, say so! That will help them design the program to better suit the class. If you didn’t like something, explain why. Just saying you didn’t like something doesn’t help in program design.  If something caused you joint discomfort or pain, let the instructor know so they can offer alternate options.
  9. Be Consistent – COME BACK!
    • To see the benefits of any program, you need to do it regularly. So be patient and keep attending the class.  At first it may seem discouraging if it’s your first time, but you’ll get better at it and soon you’ll be doing hand stand push ups before you know it!
  10. Have Fun And Remember This Is “You Time”!
    • Fitness should be fun. Laugh, cry, encourage your fellow participants and be encouraged by them.  A fitness class is much like life. We struggle, but we triumph! Celebrate your accomplishment!