The other day in my spin class I noticed that there was a newbie in the corner, and for the entire duration she looked totally out of her comfort zone. Obviously, I know exactly how she felt because for the last month I’ve been ‘the newbie’ in all the classes I’ve been attending. I really wanted to tell her that she did a great job and I knew the feeling of being new, but she shuffled out the spin studio before I had a chance to speak to her. I did then bump into her in the changing room, but I thought it would be too awkward to strike up conversation while we were both half dressed, so I bottled it.
But it got me thinking about what its like to join a new class, and so I have put together 10 tips from my own experience on how to join a new class.
1.) Do Some Research.
My first bit of advice to joining a new class would be to spend some time actually researching your chosen area before going. The best way to do this is to go online, usually Google or YouTube should be enough to give you an idea of what the class could be like. Read some blogs or watch a video to give yourself enough knowledge of what you’re about to let yourself in for. Alternatively you could try some DVD’s to see if you like it before you try a class. If you do use a DVD however, try to keep in mind that a class will probably be a lot more useful and proactive so don’t be too put off if the videos don’t appeal to you – its just to get a rough idea to whether its your sort of thing.
This is basic but useful advice. Make sure you book yourself a spot in class before just turning up. Lots of classes are popular and have many attending so to avoid disappointment save yourself a space in the class.
3.) Go Prepared.
Again, pretty basic but make sure you go to class prepared. Just for your own peace of mind. Get everything you need to make yourself as comfortable as possible so you can focus on the class. Wear suitable and comfortable clothing and as for other essentials, most of the time a bottle of water and towel is all you will need.
4.) Take A Friend.
If you can, take a friend along with you. Discovering a new class with someone can be quite rewarding. Having a friend with you is definitely beneficial because it takes the pressure off a little bit knowing that you’re not on your own. Obviously taking a friend won’t always work, there are plenty of times where I’ve had to start a class by myself but whenever possible bring someone else. I go to Pilates every week with my Mum and its nice to have a buddy to go with, it reminds you to have fun and it can actually bring you closer together.
5.) Get There Early.
For me this is absolutely essential when I join a new class. I always try to get to class early, whether its my first time or if I’ve been going every week. Being there early allows you to give yourself time to relax, get ready and most importantly find a spot where you feel comfortable. Its crucial to get a good spot but especially if you’re new. I would say to try and find a place where you have a good view of the instructor because that is who you’re going to be focusing on for most of the time. There is nothing worse than turning up to a new class late and feeling completely unprepared.
6.) Ask If You Need Help.
Okay so once the class is underway, no doubt there will be times when you’re thinking ‘I don’t know what I’m doing here.’ The best thing to do in these situations is to stop and take a minute to watch the instructor to see what they’re doing, then if you’re still unsure don’t be afraid to ask for help. In my experience the instructors are more than happy to give new members extra help and attention.
7.) Don’t Compare Yourself To Others.
I’ve found that the worse thing to do is to compare yourself to others. We’re all different so there really isn’t a lot of point comparing yourself to what someone else can do, especially if you’re a beginner. In the end all it achieves is lowering your own morale and performance. Plus its not about who can do this and who can do that, we’re all there for the same reason – to exercise and keep fit.
8.) Go At Your Own Pace.
On a similar note, just because the woman in spin class next to you is pedalling her little heart out, it doesn’t mean you have to too. While you’re new take things at your own pace. Eventually your abilities will get better and your confidence will grow so you can get more and more out of it. But its perfectly acceptable to start out slower while you’re picking things up.
9.) Follow The Instructions.
Listen to all the instructions you get given carefully and follow them through. The harder you listen the more you will gain from the class.
10.) Try It Again.
Finally, if you didn’t enjoy your first class, for whatever reason, try it again once more. Chances are your second class will be a lot easier, purely because you’ve been before and you know what to expect. The instructor and other members will respect you for showing your face and trying it again – even if it turns out that actually that class isn’t for you. You never know unless you give it a go a couple of times!
Hopefully these tips are enough to enable any beginner have a smooth experience when joining a new class!
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