Archives for December 7, 2012

5 Tips on Going to Your First Fitness Class


Source: get-thinspiration.tumblr.com via Ashley on Pinterest

Yesterday I experienced something like never before: my very first fitness class. And if there was only one thing to say about my experience, it was that I was completely and utterly unprepared for what was ahead of me when I walked through those doors. I had watched videos of the classes and was told by my husband that it would be tough, but there is nothing anyone can say to you or show you to make you understand what the day after is going to feel like.

So today I figured why not let others gain something from my hour of misery and leave you with five things I wish I had known beforehand.

1. Don’t introduce yourself (or let your husband introduce you) if you want to go unnoticed.  Nathan, being the sweet and charming person that he is, felt the need to tell the instructor our names shortly after letting him know we were new. It sounds innocent enough until in the middle of some crazy dance remix of Adele’s song Set Fire To The Rain as you’re retaining all of your strength to not let the bar drop from your hands, you hear “Ashley, stand wider!” Oh good. I wasn’t self-concious enough already so the instructor letting the entire class know that my feet were mere inches from the correct position was definitely needed. And the reminder at the end of the class when everyone else is given a round of applause? Much appreciated.

2. Be prepared to feel like you’re close to dying. Not once, not twice, but at least three times I remember feeling like I was going to pass out. Maybe I pushed myself too hard or maybe I’m just that out of shape, but I was convinced death was surrounding me and ready to engulf me in a swarm of laughter that echoed my crazy lack of upper body strength. I survived by smiling through it to mask the shaky arms and unstable calves that pleaded with me for mercy.

3. Know you’re going to sweat. There’s no shining or shimmering here, ladies. It’s sweat. And you’re going to do it no matter what (unless you’re half-assing the class and if that’s the case, I’d find something else to do because I’m pretty sure even half-assing it would be like a slow and painful death.) Bring a towel or a yoga mat or something equally as helpful in preventing your step or the floor from showcasing just how much you’re dripping in the first 10 minutes.

4. Fake it until you make it. Prior to the class, I hadn’t done about .. oh, 90% of the things that they did in there. And the other 10% consisted of things I hated like push ups and crunches and lunges. So what did I do? Faked it so I blended in Dexter style (brownie points for anyone that gets that reference) and went under the radar until my dumbo feet decided they wanted to stand closer together. Take a rep or two to watch the others around you if the instructor tells you how to do something too fast (which definitely happened.) or you can’t see them and then push yourself to do it harder or faster than them so you look like a rockstar.

5. Know that all eyes aren’t on you. Going into the class, I was positive I would be the new kid that everyone heckles and that I would go on to cuss my husband out for even suggesting we go to the stupid class. Truth be told, even with the foot stance call-out, I’m pretty sure very few people even knew I existed during that hour. Short of the girl ahead of me who I’m pretty sure wore too tight of clothing that prevented her from even doing the moves properly, I had little time or want to even see what everyone else was doing. And I was lucky enough to convince myself that everyone else was in the same boat, not gawking at my awkward form for sixty minutes.

So there you go – the five step guide to preparing you to be as unprepared as I was for a fitness class. Would I go to another class? Definitely – my hope is to go to a kickboxing class soon! Would I recommend everyone else go to a class? Even more so. It pushes you to go beyond what you think you can do and actually challenges you to bring out a side of yourself that’s hard to uncover alone. Even if it’s just to go once and say it’s not for you, it’s worth checking out if you need a bit of motivation with your workout routine. Or if you’re looking to get some sympathy when you’re sore the next day – that may be worth it, too.