The benefits of getting your dance on
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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!
Ah, 2020—the year that truly put our sanity to the test. On top of that, something that most people use to navigate through a tough time has essentially been stripped away from us—our normal workout routines. I don’t know about you, but even skipping a week at the gym can send me into a tailspin. But several months of sheltering in place and being forced to adapt to this new normal?
That’s a different story.
While I think we can all say we’re grateful that fitness studios were quick to offer virtual classes when COVID-19 hit—there is something about constantly working out by ourselves that may trigger some of us to hit pause on our workout routines and start turning towards less robust habits. *Reluctantly raises hand*
The other day I came across a stat that really set off some alarms. According to a recent study, Americans are spending an additional two hours each day on their couch since March 2020. As of recently, I can say I’m totally guilty of a little too much R&R. While an evening of Netflix and wine once sounded like heaven on earth for most of us, I think it’s safe to say the repetition of this is starting to get kind of old. Also, Schitt’s Creek is over now, so I really don’t have any excuse to not dedicate my free time to jumping back into my at-home workouts.
I started pondering what made dial back my fitness routine in the first place? Was it a lack of motivation? No, not really. Screen fatigue? I think my Netflix history outlined above would tell you that’s a solid ‘no.’ Then it hit me—the thing that motivated me to stay on top of my fitness goals was being around other people with the same goals. Pre-COVID, going to my favorite spin studio and the local yoga hot spot was how I typically spent my social hour during the workweek. I realized the best way to amp up my at-home workout routine was to re-connect with my workout buddies and start doing virtual classes together to create that sense of community I craved.
If you’re also experiencing some form of live stream lull when it comes to your workouts, then getting a virtual workout buddy may be exactly what you need. Here’s why:
Just like in-person workouts, making plans to sweat it out with one of your friends motivates you to show up and be your best self. According to the Mindbody Wellness Index, 25% of the folks we surveyed said they found it difficult to hold themselves accountable to their workout goals on their own—and an additional 20% of people said a lack of support was responsible for missed workouts.
Everybody enjoys a little friendly competition, right? Maybe you have a friend who is a powerhouse at virtual HIIT—try signing up for a class with them to help you take your workout to a whole new level.
Getting a workout sesh in with a friend is the perfect time to try a new exercise such as virtual yoga or virtual barre. Trying something new can be scary—I get it. But by trying a new type of exercise with a friend, you can both give each other a confidence boost by acting as each other’s personal hype man.
Look, we’re all craving human interaction these days—and I know I’m not the only one who is missing weekly happy hours with friends. Luckily, fitness studios are getting creative with their virtual offerings post-workout, too! When we asked members of our MindbodyOne Community how they are keeping things interesting for their students in the virtual space, they said they are hosting monthly virtual wine dates to share fitness stories and personal victories. Not only do you get to drink wine, but you and your buddy get to meet other like-minded people at the same time.
As 2020 winds down (thank goodness), you have a unique opportunity to reconnect with your friends and take your workout sessions to the next level with a virtual workout buddy. So, why not start now? Book a virtual fitness class and encourage your friends to show up for you and themselves today.