Getting the most out of your group fitness class
As a group fitness instructor it can be difficult to get all cues delivered and provide all the information needed to correctly perform each movement in a class – given the time and the number of people. We can say as much as we have time for, but more often than not, I know it can leave people’s heads spinning with questions on whether or not they are doing it correctly. What I like to do at the end of each class is to try and provide a tip. It is usually chosen based on my observations in class. If I notice a lot of people struggling with a particular movement or consistently creating less than ideal form, I will target that. Have you ever felt overwhelmed or confused about a movement in a group fitness class? I have created my list of top tips to improve each workout, especially in a group setting.
- Ask questions after class. I always welcome questions or feedback after class from my clients. The workout is for you – not me – so if you need clarification on form or feedback on format, music, or setup, ALWAYS let me know. Things can happen quickly in a group setting with less time to explain than a personal training session. When you ask questions, you can then master the movements at home, in between classes.
- Stand where you can see and hear best. A group setting can be intimidating. I’ve also been the person who stands in the back corner for fear of others seeing me. But, the best advice is to not only stand where you feel comfortable, but also where the instructor is most visible and easy to hear. You are only setting yourself up for greater success when you can understand and view the demonstration before trying it for yourself.
- Figure out where you are feeling it. Listen to the instructor’s cues about where you are supposed to feel each movement on your body. For example, depending on how we shift our weight, we might feel it in the quads rather than the hamstrings. Many clients can become confused because we feel a ‘burn’, when in reality we aren’t actually targeting the correct muscle group. Again, if you don’t feel it where you are supposed to, ask after class.
- Do your homework in between. If you notice an imbalance in strength or flexibility, or a movement that is more challenging to you, practice in between! By doing more repetitions or improving range of motion in between classes, you feel better and go into classes feeling more confident.
- It’s you vs you. There is no need to compare to others in the room. If I am in a new class I may look around to know what I am supposed to be doing, but after that I zone in on me; I check in on my form because it is MY workout. You are only trying to improve your own self so there is no sense feeling anxious that you aren’t up to someone else’s standards. It might be your first class while they have been coming for two years! Another tip if you are worried about other people watching you – they aren’t! Take my word for it because everyone is more worried about what they are doing than what anyone else in the room is.
Training can become overwhelming whether it is a new movement or adding pieces to a movement that has been mastered. It doesn’t matter if you work out daily or you are new to the whole process – we can all make improvements. The best thing to do is to set a goal and intention for each workout and at the end, leave feeling confident in one thing and choosing a new goal to work on an area that needs improvement for next time. I hope to find you all in my outdoor bootcamp or at one of my other group fitness classes this week! Let’s work hard together to have you reaching your goals!
Be fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.