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Whether you love cycling, running, aerobics or weight lifting, group fitness classes are a wonderful way to get in shape and make new friends at the same time. But if you’ve never participated in a group class before, they can appear a bit daunting. Put all of your worries aside, I’ve got the low-down on the best group fitness classes and how to make the most of them:
Do Your Research Ahead of Time
Group classes become much less intimidating when you know what you’re getting yourself into. Do a bit of research beforehand to see exactly what’s involved with the classes. At CrossTown Fitness, for instance, you can expect high intensity interval training, which mixes strength and cardio exercises to shred fat, improve endurance and tone muscles. We also offer classes that focus purely on strength, as well as yoga and even paddle boarding on the beach. Try them all out to find the best group fitness classes for you!
Show Up On Time
How are you supposed to get the most out of class when you’re not there the whole time? Give yourself plenty of time to get to the gym so you have a few minutes to change, stretch and do what you have to do. This is especially important if you’re a beginner – you’ll have a moment to talk to the instructor if you have to and to find a good spot in the gym. It’s best to be in the second row so you can see and hear the instructor clearly, and you have the front row to follow if you get lost or forget how a certain exercise is done.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and raise any concerns you have to the instructor. They’re there to help you, so take advantage of their service! If you have an injury, let the trainer know so that he or she can properly modify any exercises. Are you not sure how to do a kettle bell swing? Call over the instructor so he or she can guide you through the exercise. Asking questions will help you to get the most out of class and diminish your chances of injury.
Don’t Compare Yourself
Group classes can be extremely motivating, as you may attempt to keep up with or surpass your neighbor with whatever you’re doing. A little friendly competition can be fuel for being at your best during a workout. However, in a group setting it can be very easy for you to compare yourself to others. Keep in mind that these classes are filled with people who are at very different levels of fitness. For instance, if you’re a beginner, it would be unfair to compare yourself to someone who has been doing these group fitness classes for years. Don’t ever feel like you’re not as good of an athlete if you can’t do as many sit-ups or pushups as the person next to you. Instead, focus on competing with yourself – see if you can push yourself a little bit harder with each repetition, set or class. When you’re concentrating on beating yourself, that’s when you’ll start to see the results.
Avoid Going Through the Motions
Simply making it to the gym is half the battle. Now that you’re there, why not do everything you can to get in the best workout possible? Rather than going through the motions trying to get in the repetitions quickly, pay close attention to your form. Are you doing the exercise right? If you’re not sure, ask your instructor for help. If you’re going to do 20 squats, you might as well do them correctly and make them worth your time. Quality of an exercise always beats out quantity.
Keep Your Eyes On the Prize
It’s easy to focus on the tacos you’re going to inhale after class, but try to think about your fitness goals when you’re in the gym. What do you want to get out of class? Think about why you’re there, and concentrate on how you can best reach that goal. Having that in mind acts as a motivator to keep you going strong even when you’re tired.
Have any questions about the best group fitness classes here at our West Loop gym? Stop in and say hi or give us a call!