Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How to choose the right group exercise class for you

This post is from Melissa, a guest blogger on The Z Beat!

Recently, I have come across a lot of people who seem to be hitting a rut when it comes to their exercise routines. Many folks started at the beginning of January as part of a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight and get healthy and now that May is here, getting that cardio in seems to be harder and harder.

I know when I started on my own weight-loss journey five years ago, it seemed cardio was one of the hardest things to get geared up for. After all, there is only so much excitement that can be generated on a treadmill. That is one of the reasons I was drawn to Zumba and why I eventually became an instructor myself.

But when it comes to group exercise, how do you choose what is right for you? There are so many options, from spinning to kickboxing, and not everything works for everyone. It seems I tried a little bit of everything and I still continue to try new things all the time. I even recently tried the same format with a different instructor just to be sure I liked it.

Here are some tips and tricks I picked up along the way that may help you decide what works best for you when it come to choosing a group exercise class.

* Pick a class that interests you. There really is no point in going to a class you have no earthly clue why you would want to be there in the first place. If yoga isn’t your thing, I wouldn’t recommend signing up for a class. At the same time, don’t avoid the class because you don’t think you can physically handle it. Which leads me to the next point.

* Test your limits. NEVER avoid going to a class because you feel like you won’t be able to do it and you don’t want to embarrass yourself. Trust me when I tell you, everyone in that room had to take their first class and they weren’t experts from day one so push yourself and see what you are capable of. You may just surprise yourself.

* Sign up ahead of time and get there early. If you sign up and even have to pay ahead of time, you are more likely to attend the class. That gives you extra incentive to be there. And, getting there early gives you a chance to talk to other participants and get an idea of what they think of that class, instructor, etc. They can also give you some tips on what to look for at certain times during the class and most will even share some funny experiences of what their first time was like.

* Contact the instructor ahead of time. Sometimes, you can contact the instructor of the class ahead of time by e-mail or on their Facebook page. Try reaching out to them and letting them know you are interested in their class but want to know what to expect. Many instructors have a “first-class free” policy where you can try it to see if you like it and then go from there.

* Don’t expect to get it all the first time. The biggest problem I had to overcome was the frustration that I didn’t know all the moves or the fact that I wasn’t grasping it all that first class. It’s OK to maybe fall behind a step or two or to just watch for a few seconds to figure out the move before continuing on with the rest of the class.

* Have fun! Remember to smile and have a good time. Exercise isn’t supposed to make you miserable and the instructor truly wants to see you smile. Yes, you are sweating and might even be out of breath but a quick smile or a random “Whoop!” during class is a totally welcome expression.

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