You Want Me to Do What?

For those of you who don’t know, I’m currently a member of Weight Watchers. I joined the program about two years ago and, at my lowest, had lost 60 pounds. With the stress of school, teaching, and the job hunt, I’ve backslid a little and relocated ten of those pounds, so now I’m trying to get back on track.

In this vein, I decided to try out one of the group exercise classes at my gym called Body Blitz. I chose this particular course based on it’s description as being a workout that included cardio bursts and work with weights. Since those are the same kinds of things we do in my group training sessions, I figured it would be a class that I could fit into fairly easily. Boy was I wrong.

Inevitably when I have the bright idea to go to one of these classes, I end up looking like a complete idiot. This is mostly due to the fact that the other participants are typically at that class every day and so know the routine by heart. In fact, the leaders/instructors seem to bank on this and don’t offer much instruction to us newbies. This is especially problematic since the class involves 60 minutes of continuous movement. Throw in some fancy footwork, unfamiliar lingo, and some difficulty hearing everything the leader is saying and it’s enough to turn off any newcomer. I’m pretty sure I spent the entire hour alternating between this face:

You want me to do what?!

and this face:

Oh the pain and burning in my muscles!!

But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the course of my weight loss and my goals to develop a healthier lifestyle, it’s that you should never, ever, ever give up. You will break that plateau, you will work off that gain, you will achieve your goals–if you just keep working at it.

So what do you do if you find yourself in a situation like I described above? Here’s a handy list of tips I’ve learned that just might help you out. Who knows? You could be the next Zumba-Pilates-Hot Yoga guru!

Rebecca’s Tips for Surviving a New Fitness Routine

1. Get yourself there. It may seem silly, but sometimes for me the biggest hurdle is just getting myself through the door at the gym. Once I’m there, decked out in my workout clothes, it seems silly not to at least hit the track or pick up a few weights.

2. Ask questions. This was difficult for me at first. I was certain that everyone else at the gym was not only fitter (and prettier!) than me, but that they were also more knowledgeable. But the only way to learn is to ask for clarification about what you don’t know.

3. Watch others. Though this can be intimidating, there are typically some regulars in the workout group. This means that they probably already know the ropes and can serve as a good model if you don’t have a good view of the instructor. Most people are more than happy to answer a question if you find yourself completely lost.

4. Stop worrying about how you look. I know, I know, this is far easier said than done, but 9 times out of 10 most people are so focused on their own bodies, movements, aches, and pains that you aren’t even on their radar. When I first started going to these kinds of classes, I pushed myself harder because I thought that I needed to be as good as everyone else there. Being new to exercise, though, this had potentially dangerous ramifications. I was lucky enough not to have hurt myself, but there was a very real chance that I could have damaged my muscles by trying to do something that my body just wasn’t ready for. So, long story short, focus on yourself and keep in mind that everyone else is focusing on their own bodies–not yours.

5. Let your body set the pace. This point continues in the same vein as above. Sometimes the beauty of group exercise is that the instructor sets the pace, which keeps you moving at a good rate. But sometimes the worst part of group exercise is that the instructor sets the pace because their level of fitness and/or the average level of fitness in the class may not be the same as your own. What this boils down to is focusing on what you’re capable of. If that means that you can only do 8 reps of a move instead of the instructor’s 12 reps, that’s just fine. Just try to keep yourself on pace with the instructor’s movements between positions so that you don’t find yourself standing up working on bicep curls while everyone else has dropped down into a plank position.

What tips and tricks have you picked while exercising? Leave a comment below to share!

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