Written by Angele Satariano
One of the things I hear really often as a fitness instructor is “I’m not fit enough to join a class”, or “I’m doing some training on my own to get fit before I join classes”. It had never occurred to me that being fit is a pre-requisite to joining a fitness class. I assumed that the whole point of joining the class was to get fit. Otherwise, what’s the point? I started to realise that people want to get fit before joining a class because they worry that they won’t be able to ‘keep up’ or that they will look inferior compared to the other participants who have been training for a long time.
The aim of this beginner’s guide is to highlight some misconceptions about group training and give you the courage to sign up to that class you’ve always hoped to join!
1. Fitness is not a class pre-requisite
You do not need to be already fit to join a fitness class. Everyone who attends the class was a beginner once. They started slowly and gradually built up their fitness thanks to their commitment. That is how they got to where they are today. The whole point of training is to get fit. Fitness is a journey, not a destination and there is so much to be enjoyed from each and every phase of the journey – even the very beginning!
2. Take your own pace
Not being able to ‘keep up’ with the class seems to be one of the things feared most by someone just starting out. The truth is, there is absolutely no need to keep up with anyone when joining a class! Most fitness classes will have timed intervals so you can decide how many reps you want to do in that set time. You can do 5, or you can do 20. It’s completely up to you! You also have the freedom to stop and rest whenever you need to. Your trainer will know that you’re just starting out and will not push you beyond what you can do. You also need to be your own guide and not let pride get in the way.
3. No one is judging you
I understand that joining a new group of people for exercise could feel intimidating. As a beginner, you might feel that people are judging you for not going faster or not lifting heavier. Want to know the real truth? NOBODY CARES! Everyone is busy thinking about their own exercise, their form, their breathing. No one is looking at you or judging you! As I mentioned above, everyone was in your shoes once upon a time and they admire you for your courage to show up and train! In my classes, I see so much camaraderie and I absolutely love it. I see participants helping each other out with technique and some of my regular participants take the initiative to guide any beginners through some of the exercises if I happen to be caught up instructing someone else. This is what training teaches us – discipline, friendship, integrity, kindness ♥️
4. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ with fitness
What I mean to say here is that everyone is different. Squatting might be a good exercise for you but it might not be for someone else. As a fitness instructor I always offer simplified versions of exercises as well as progressions. This way each participant can choose the variation that suits them best. I also always tell my participants to substitute any exercises that don’t feel right with ones that do. I really believe that each person needs to be their own guide during a class. If doing those squat jumps is hurting your knees, take out the impact. If that core exercise is hurting your lower back, change it to an exercise that doesn’t but also ask your trainer for guidance! Don’t be shy, it’s what we’re here for 😉
5. Start with the basics
As a beginner it’s important to focus on basic exercise technique first. There are numerous variations to squats, lunges, push-ups etc, but make sure you master the basic technique first before progressing to more complex variations AND before lifting heavy weights. This will help you to avoid injuries and also make sure that you get the maximum benefits from each and every exercise. If your trainer offers a simple variation to a complex exercise, don’t be shy to opt for the simple version. As you get more confident with the exercises you can start trying out the complex variations. Also, if you notice that you’re losing your form, shift to lighter weights or a weight at which you can maintain your form or else take a break and then go back into it. This is what I like to call ‘training smart’.
6. Have fun with it!
Training doesn’t need to always be serious business. Don’t forget to have some fun too! Made a mistake? Laugh it off! Went round the circuit the wrong way? Laugh it off! Fitness classes are not an exam or job interview. They’re a relaxed environment where friends are made, muscles are built and laughs are loud 😉
Share this with a friend who wants to start training!!
At Active Spirit we offer a range of fitness classes that cater for all fitness levels. The classes are designed to help you strengthen your whole body and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Check out our class timetable and also do not hesitate to contact us if you need any fitness tips or have any questions!
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