Amp up your autumn wellness routine with these exercises for all experience levels.
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!