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We’ve all been there—trying a fitness class (or studio) for the first time feeling nervous, anxious, and intimidated—not knowing what to expect. Did I bring enough water? What weights do I grab? Why can’t I find a seat in the back of class? Am I the most out of shape here?
Getting out of your comfort zone and starting a new type of workout can be a daunting task, especially during your first class. Like starting a new job, getting to know your surroundings and accepting that things *might* get awkward is just the start.
Whether you’ve never done burpees before and are dying on your mat in the middle of class or your Warrior Pose looks a little weak, here are ten things to do (and remind yourself of) when trying a workout for the first time.
Guess what? You booked the fitness class, and you showed up. Give yourself a high-five! It takes courage to try a new workout, especially if it’s something that’s outside your normal routine. Be proud that you made it and start class on a positive note. Also, try picking a spot in the middle or front of class so you can make the most of your experience.
There’s something about starting a new class with a friend that helps to calm the nerves. You’re in it together, right? Leveraging your support system can help you overcome that “OMG what if I fail” fear that can come with trying a different type of fitness. Plus, after class, you can trade war stories and laugh about that super-hard squat sequence or how silly you looked in Downward Dog.
Nothing heightens your stress level pre-workout like showing up to a new studio with just seconds to spare— and there’s no parking. Make an effort to arrive early to the studio to get better acquainted with the location, staff, and classroom. This also gives you the chance to ask questions and get set up, like finding the right position (and gears) on the cycling bike.
One of the bonuses of arriving early to class is that it allows you to talk to the instructor and let them know of any injuries you may have. A good instructor will always have a modification up their sleeve—like swapping lunges for squats. While your workout should be challenging, you shouldn’t be in pain and instructors want you to make the most of the sweat session. What if you’re in the middle of class and need help? Don’t be afraid to raise your hand!
Put yourself in a positive mindset when you walk into class by setting an intention or selecting a mantra to help guide your workout. It could be anything from making sure you complete one full sequence in class to leaving the days negativity at the door. You’ve made it to this new class, so why not enlighten your workout with something that makes you smile and feel stronger? Remember, this is your time to make the most of every sweat-dripping heartbeat.
If fitness were easy, we’d all be running around with the “perfect” body. Guess what? That’s not reality. No matter what you want to achieve—leaner lower body, better heart rate, a little *extra* self-love—you have to work for it. Whether it’s tucking at the barre or clearing your mind of negative thoughts on the yoga mat, every fitness class you try should challenge you. Your muscles are going to tremble, and you’ll sweat bullets. It’s supposed to be hard.
Real talk: We’ve all looked at someone else in class or at the gym. Maybe to check out their yoga pants, see how much weight they just picked up or how seamless their yoga flow is. When stepping into a new type of fitness, avoid comparing yourself to the other people in the room. Everyone starts somewhere. No matter where you’re at in your wellness journey, don’t worry about what everyone else looks like or how much faster (or slower) they complete their reps because you are doing your best.
When you’re burning out those muscles and getting tired in class, your form can get sloppy—and you can start to feel defeated. Instead of giving up and staring blankly into the mirror, focus on the voice of your instructor, the sound of the playlist, and reset yourself. Take a deep breath and a quick water break. Your body knows what it needs. Pausing in class to get your bearings doesn’t mean you’re giving up, it just shows you’re listening to your body and taking the time to do it right.
Ever wake up the day (or several days) after you’ve tried a new workout and you can barely bend down to pick up your shoes? It’s no surprise that soreness is a side effect of working harder. Be prepared for soreness after your new class. Instead of viewing it as a painful punishment, look at your aching muscles as an accomplishment! You completed that class, and you’re getting stronger.
As you second guess your class choice while barely catching your breath (and dreaming of a cold shower), remember you booked this class for you, no one else. Maybe you love it, or you never want to come back. No matter how you feel after class, you tried out a new type of fitness and that’s what’s important. Here’s to sweatin’ out of your comfort zone!
Since 1992, April has been recognized as Stress Awareness Month. It was established to help shed light on the issues behind stress, teach us how to fight it, and create methods to overcome it. While this initiative has existed just shy of three decades, this year it seems particularly important.
With a year under our belts in pandemic mode—a lot of us had to get creative when it came to keeping our cool. On top of that, everyday stresses didn’t just magically disappear during this time either. Just think about it—have you ever been in a situation that was overwhelming? Maybe you’ve had a looming deadline or a to-do list that seems, well...totally un-doable? If you’ve ever felt you were in over your head, please know you’re not alone—you never are. At one time or another, we’ve all been affected by stress—although each person may manifest it differently. Me? I'm definitely a frequent rider on the "hot mess stress express."
There are many ways to help combat stress—some of us seek out support from friends and family, while others find solace in taking up meditation or unwinding with a relaxing yoga class. Whatever helps you find peace, just keep doing you. But also know we have some resources to help you overcome stress whenever the need arises.
Here are some blog posts that are always available to you when you feel a little stressed out:
When in doubt, breathwork expert and sound healer, Shanila Sattar, always has tips to help ground yourself—especially in times of need. In this blog post, she gives you the recipe for incorporating self-love into your daily routine by encouraging us to ask ourselves these questions: How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love? As we all know, self-love defines and redefines itself for everyone over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.
Yoga Nidra, or “yogic sleep,” is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and it aims to restore the mind, body, and soul through deep, guided meditation. The way it works is like the way a power nap helps one feel refreshed during a particularly exhausting day, except you aren’t technically sleeping. I describe it as a long-form of savasana—anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. (Real talk: savasana is one of the best parts of practicing yoga, am I right?)
TLDR: I learned that I could conquer stress in a matter of minutes with Yoga Nidra.
Are we safe in saying this last year brought up a ton of emotions the likes of which we did not plan for? The good, the bad, the “unprecedented”—our hearts and minds have been taken on a wild rollercoaster ride, and for many of us, our mental health is suffering. With our minds running in thousands of directions, it’s hard to notice our own needs. Yes, our attention to the goings-on of last year is vital but caring for ourselves is as important as ever. Here are some tips from our favorite yoga instructor, Dani Schenone.
Have you been feeling it? The big emotion floating around the last year is the Big Anxiety. Coupled with the stress of what the COVID-19 pandemic has bought for millions of people, disturbed wellness routines, and worry, we have a recipe to create massive damage to ourselves. Adjusting to the new normal, with social distancing practices in place and adapting to precautions and routines, may be the root of even more anxiousness for many as we’re navigating uncharted territories.
If you've got those familiar feelings of stress and anxiety coursing through your body right now, you're definitely not alone. We get it. Times are uncertain, our mental health is taxed, we're doing what we can to reduce stress and anxiety in general, and relaxation has taken a back seat. It’s no secret that stress is proven to weaken our immunity, so now more than ever, it's important to relax, deal with what's happening, and find the coping mechanisms to help you reclaim your mental health and reduce your involvement in stressed moments. Let's deal with stress and anxiety together and see what we can do to reduce them.
Meditation will change your life if you let it. The pace of our modern life is at least ten times what it was just 10 years ago. Technology improved our lives but also created a more frenetic and stressful pace. If we decided to stop, breathe, and become more mindful, we would reduce stress and experience much more enjoyment in each moment of our everyday lives.
There’s always something to worry about. Whether it’s our career, relationships, dating, or trauma, we go through moments that bombard us with negative thoughts that can make us feel anxious and stressed. Our worries may often define our choices, our view of the world, or ourselves. This doesn’t mean they are faults, flaws, or downfalls—we just need to practice managing them in a healthy way, placing deserved value on self-care. Yoga is only one connection. Check out these seven yoga poses that can help your mind and body when you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, or overall stress.
We’re all guilty of our routines and habits running our lives at one point or another. We’re all guilty of being attached to our schedules and our to-do list. We’re all guilty of running on a loop every now and then. As the energies of 2021 continue to shift, we get to ask ourselves the intentions of why and how we are participating in the places we are participating in, the thoughts we are thinking, the habits we are cultivating, and the communities that we are a part of. This intention and mindfulness process can not only shift our own experiences but of those around us as well.
If you have found meditation to be useful in trying times, right now is an incredible time to also try virtual sound baths to receive the deep sound healing benefits. As many of us are processing a variety of emotions as a collective—stress, worry, fear, anxiety, uncertainty—we can start to cause long-term damage to our bodies, especially to our immune and nervous systems. Giving ourselves self-care in a way that is easy, non-intrusive, and simple, can be the perfect way to help your body restore.
These resources aren’t the only thing we have to help you deal with stress—they’re just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, there are tons of classes available to you on the Mindbody app and through Mindbody Flex to help you reignite your calm whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. And always remember, at the end of the day, your best is always good enough.