Christina is a mom, registered nurse, and blogger. She fully admits to both a love of too much food and a love of the couch, two vices she struggles to overcome on a daily basis. In the past two years, she’s lost nearly 50 pounds through diet and exercise, some of it chronicled on her blog, Losing My Hind.
Before this year, I was devoted to fitness DVDs. I felt too self-conscious to consider joining a group class or even wear anything tight-fitting in public. Looking ridiculous in the privacy of my own home suited me just fine.
But in January, I was tempted by an incredible Groupon deal for a 6-week boot camp class at a local fitness studio and made the decision to try something new. At the time my progress had stalled using my workout DVDs so I was willing to try nearly anything to jump start my weight loss, even if it meant a group class.
Now, twelve weeks after starting those classes, I’ll confess that I’m addicted! If you’ve never taken a fitness class, consider these benefits of joining a class:
Every workout is different. Unlike DVDs, which can be customized in only a limited number of ways, a live class is likely going to be different each time. This cuts the boredom level tremendously, as you never know what your trainer will throw at you next.
In my boot camp class, they use a mix of strength training, cardio moves, Pilates, kickboxing and yoga, depending on the day. I love the variety, and my body has responded well to it, also – variety keeps your muscles from adapting to your routine, which leads to faster results.
The class probably has more fitness toys than you. At home, I have a few sets of dumbbells and recently bought a resistance band. My class, however, makes use of steps, dumbbells, weight benches, kettlebells, medicine balls, exercise balls, ropes, sticks and probably more stuff we haven’t even tried yet.
Again, it helps keep variety in your workout to prevent boredom. If you had to keep all of that stuff in your house, you’d probably need an entire room devoted to nothing but your fitness gear! (And a decent amount of money to buy it all!)
You might develop friendships with others. I now recognize a handful of women in my class, and have come to know three of them beyond just our names. We look for each other at class now, encourage each other during class, and we support our shared goals of getting healthy. On those days when I’m really not feeling up to a workout, I still show up just because I don’t want to miss out on seeing my group and I know they’ll get me motivated to work hard.
The key here is to take the time to smile or say “hi” to those around you. Even if you’re shy, there will be a moment when you can connect with someone on your shared struggle. Be open, be friendly to those around you, and you’ll probably get the same in return.
You won’t be the “worst” one there. This was probably my greatest fear when I arrived for my first class. I thought I wouldn’t be able to keep up, that others would laugh at me, or that I’d be the heaviest person there. None of it was true. There was a mix of all sizes and abilities and I quickly felt comfortable in the class.
And if you are the heaviest or “worst” one there? A good trainer will be watching to make sure everyone is working to their personal best, and will help you modify any exercises so you can keep up. Also, just because you can’t do as many crunches doesn’t mean you won’t do better than some at bicep curls. Rarely is anyone the “worst” at everything!
If you feel stuck in a rut with your fitness routine, give a group fitness class a try!
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April 24th, 2011