Top 10 Essential Rules for Fitness Classes: A Guide for Beginners

10 Fitness Classes Rules


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January typically sees a surge of newcomers in yoga, strength training, and various other fitness classes, as people either embark on their fitness journey or explore new workout forms.

Unfortunately, these beginners can sometimes be unfairly criticized by regular attendees for issues ranging from overcrowding the space to a lack of familiarity with routines.

This can create an unwelcoming atmosphere for those just starting out.

As an instructor who’s been through this New Year rush 26 times now, let me tell you straight up:

Whether you’re brand new to exercise, have taken a break from it for a while, or were just in another class last week, we want you here! And we want you to keep coming back.

I get it, fitness classes can feel intimidating.

But, I promise you, a little forethought and preparation can make the newbie experience feel far more doable and, dare I say, even enjoyable.

If you happen to be one of the new, new again, or new to this type of class participants, there are some incredibly helpful rules that can turn the experience into a positive one, both for you and for everyone around you.

Remember, the better you feel about each session, the more likely you are to want to come back and we want to keep seeing you there!

1. On time isn’t exactly what you think.

This is one of those times when the strict coaching adage, if you’re on time, you’re late, is appropriate.

Get there early. Please, for the love of whomever is teaching that class, I beg you.

Fifteen minutes or more before the posted start time would be ideal.

This is your chance to meet the instructor and get the rundown on any particulars about the session say, the specific focus for that day or special equipment that you might need to grab and get your questions answered.

It’s also a great opportunity to make them aware of anything going on with your body they should know about (more on that below) as well as get their recs for which dumbbells to start with so you aren’t scrambling to switch out the weights at the last second.

2. Come prepared with the essentials

There’s nothing worse than a class where you can’t fully participate the way you’d want to, not because you are unable, but because you were unprepared.

If you can, try to do a little research beforehand, either by searching the studio’s website, calling the front desk, or talking to people you know who are regulars.

Find out what kind of attire is best for the class and if you need to bring anything particular.

For example, is it a Pilates class where shoes are not worn, but sticky socks are needed?

Is it a treadmill class that requires need running shoes?

Is it a hot class, so you’ll want those sweat-wicking leggings and the bigger water bottle?

Oh, and if you can fill out your waiver online, do it—this will save a lot of time and hassle day-of.

3. But hit the pause button if you’re sick.

I’m hoping that we have learned this over the last few years, but, for real:

If you are feeling under the weather (and certainly if you’ve tested positive for COVID), please stay home.

This should hold true for any and every public space, but it’s especially vital in a small room with lots of people breathing heavily.

I beg you, don’t come to class if you’re unwell.

You never know who might be at-risk for extra complications or have people close to them who are.

Wait until you’re symptom-free (and, if you have COVID, you test negative) before you come back. We (and your body) will thank you for it!

4. Don’t feel shy about sharing any injuries.

Instructors commonly ask new participants if they’ve got anything that doesn’t feel quite right in their bodies or any other considerations they should know about

but if they forget or are distracted by the before class chaos, a quick mention of what’s going on is helpful so that they are aware and can adjust accordingly.

Things like,  I rolled my ankle,   I’m pregnant,   I’m just coming back from surgery, or I tore all my tendons off the bone

(okay, that last one might be extra personal to me)

will allow the instructor to provide necessary modifications in class or give you a heads up in advance of something that you might need to omit.

I know it may seem like you’ll stick out by sharing this info and doing those modifications

but I guarantee you, it’s so common; the regulars do it all the time! As an instructor

I can tell you that sharing this info whether you’re brand new or taking your 700th class will make for a better, safer experience.

🔍 Read More: Ready to elevate your fitness journey? Dive deeper with our BMI CalculatorBMR CalculatorTDEE Calculator, and Body Fat Calculator. Uncover the science behind your health!

5. You don’t need your phone.

I know it’s hard.

So much of our world is right at our fingertips, but much like if you were taking any other kind of class or in a meeting, consideration rules.

Turn your phone off, to silent, to DND, or to vibrate

(as long as it’s not near anything that can make that buzzing extra noticeable)

or simply stow it in the locker room beforehand so you won’t be tempted to constantly check it.

This can be distracting, both for yourself and the people around you, and might make you miss out on the cues the instructor is giving. You can grab those selfies before or after class!

(One caveat: If you truly do need to be reachable at all times like if you’re a caregiver or on-call medical pro I’d rather you still take the class, even if you need your phone there, and even if it might distract you a bit. The escape and self-care is worth it!)

6. Respect other people’s personal space.

I can’t stress this enough: Read the room.

Be observant. Some classes are really packed. Some have designated, reserved spots.

Some are just a few people in a wide open space. Whether crowded or not, air on the side of giving people a lot of personal space.

This means not putting your equipment or mat on top of theirs, making sure you’re not spreading out too much, and avoiding blocking someone’s view in the mirror.

7. Don’t interrupt while the instructor is teaching.

This one can be tricky for people new to group classes because you might have a lot of questions totally fair! But, often the instructor won’t have time to give you personal attention in the middle of class.

Do the best you can while the session is going on, follow along with other participants, modify where you need to, and then definitely talk to the instructor after class with your questions.

This is also when #1 comes back into play many of your questions can probably be better taken care of in those minutes before class begins.

8. Take it slow, steady, and controlled.

You’re not looking to be a hero: There are no rewards given for being the best in class, nor are there any for taking on the most “advanced” version of a move.

Actually, in my opinion, true “advanced” means knowing the intricate balance of when to progress and when to back off. So be kind to your body, go at your own pace, and let yourself adapt.

It’s okay to take it a little lighter for the first few classes so you get the lay of the land—even if the person next to you is showing off or showing out.

On that same note, you should always feel empowered to challenge yourself as you get comfortable.

For instance, if the weight you’ve been using no longer feels challenging and you know that your form won’t be compromised, you can go up, add more reps, or try the next progression.

9. Stay for the whole class.

For your first class, get there early and remain the entire time.

This will give your body proper time to cool down, which means less likelihood of injury and, yet again, more reason for you to come back!

Plus, it allows time to check-in with the instructor after class about how it went, ask those remaining burning questions, and get any notes for next time.

This is still important even when you’re not a newbie, but I get it: Sometimes life gets in the way.

On days when you do need to rush out or even leave a few minutes early, just let the instructor know ahead of time—this can minimize distractions.

There’s one big asterisk to this one, though: If you’re feeling triggered, unsafe, or threatened in any way say, if the instructor is using shaming language please leave to protect yourself.

I’ve done this myself. As I’ve said before, if I notice any personal eating disorder triggers, I know it’s safer for me just to leave.

10. Don’t get discouraged.

Every single person in that room was new at some point, and I know that it can feel disheartening to not completely get everything that’s being taught.

But, eventually, you will.

Remember: You’ve been new at other things before that you are now doing with much more ease.

Sure, it may never get “easy” and actually, challenge is vital for continual progression but you will get better at it if you keep showing up. I promise.

If you’re new, you absolutely can sweat with us. You’re welcome here.

And we want you to become a regular.

See you in the room!

Source: self

The opinions shared in the GymNation blog articles are solely those of the respective authors and may not represent the perspectives of GymNation or any member of the GymNation team.