As a group fitness instructor, it is my job to guide you through a safe, effective, and hopefully fun workout. I teach 20+ classes a week and spend at least that many hours preparing class formats and playlists. Despite all of that prep and planning, YOU are what makes a class great! Here are a few things you can do before and during class to ensure that you get the most out of your group fitness experience:
Be on time. Early is on time. On time is late. Plan to show up a minimum of 5 minutes ahead of time, 10 to 15 if it is your first class. This is especially important for classes with personal equipment settings (ex: spin). No one is perfect and things happen, but do your best to be ready to work at the scheduled start time.
Tell me if it is your first time! When instructors ask if anyone is new, we aren’t trying to call you out or embarrass you; it just changes our approach. For example, if everyone has been to class before, we might forgo an extensive overview of equipment or class format. We also might explain exercises differently or work at a different pace. Speak up! Everyone was a newbie at some point and we want you to have the best, and safest, first experience possible.
Be mindful of your placement in class. If you have never taken a particular class before, or know that you will need to modify, don’t put yourself front and center, but don’t hide either. If you will need some guidance, make yourself accessible for your instructor. On the other hand, if you are a regular and you know you can keep up with the pace of the class, step up and be a leader in the front. You don’t have to have flawless form or hit every single rep to be a great example for newer students but it is a great way to step up your game and push your limits.
Bring water. I know this seems like a common sense “duh” statement, but so many people neglect to bring water to class. Everyone needs water. Even if you don’t like to drink during class, you should be hydrating immediately after. Little things like this can affect your results more than you think.
Be prepared. It doesn’t take long to check a website (the studio’s or Sweat and Repeat) or make a phone call to find out if you need to bring anything to class. Ask if you will need shoes, a towel, grip socks, a mat, etc. Having everything that you need ensures you get the best and safest workout possible.
Listen! Process what your instructor says before you decide that you know better. A great instructor will often explain why, but sometimes we don’t have time to explain every detail of the method to our madness. You’re paying good money for our professional guidance. Trust the process unless an instructor has given you a reason not to. Unfortunately, as with anything in life, there are going to be a few bad apples out there. If someone is asking you to do something way above your ability, or an exercise that doesn’t seem safe, you reserve the right to sit it out or modify. Trust us, but don’t allow yourself to be bullied.
Be humble. Know your limits but also know that challenging your body and getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to create change. When necessary, grab a lighter weight, work at a slower pace, or use a more beginner modification. Sometimes it actually takes more strength, discipline, and body awareness to know when it’s time to pull back. It’s not weak, it’s smart.
Disclose injuries. Or course I’m not a doctor, but if you have any kind of injury or issue, tell me. I will monitor your form and give you appropriate modifications.
Contribute. When I ask how you are, I really want to know. If you’re not crazy about being vocal, give me a thumbs up, a head nod, something! If you’re non-responsive, I don’t have much to work from. If you are worried you’ll be the only person who responds, don’t be. You’ll win your instructor’s heart forever if you contribute vocally in an otherwise silent group.
Good vibes only. Class is your time. Every bit of work you put in comes back to you, and your workout is a great time to work through stress. When you walk in to a class, you are joining a team. Your energy affects the people around you, and vice versa. We all have bad days, even your instructors, but when you walk in to class you should hit the “pause” button on your bad day. Be present and focus on the current moment, work hard, and I promise you you’ll leave feeling at least little lighter and happier.
Since 2009, Kelly has been an in demand instructor, teaching indoor cycling, Cardio Barre, TRX and Pilates reformer classes throughout Southern California. She graduated from USC with a B.A. in History and a minor in Neuroscience. As a Celiac, she has a wealth of gluten-free cupcake knowledge that she is willing to share. Kelly is the lucky owner of a very cuddly rescued red nose pitbull named Napoleon Bone-a-parte. She prides herself on her cycle playlists so much that she’s pondered quitting fitness altogether to pursue a career as a DJ. Not really, but those playlists though…
Check out one of her classes at Bespoke Premium Cycling Studio, Aura Cycle, TRX at AuraYoga, or Cardio Barre|Beverly Hills, Woodland Hills, Studio City, and DTLA. All available through ClassPass.