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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!
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.