An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Demystifying Group Fitness Classes

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Demystifying Group Fitness Classes

P90X, Insanity and CrossFit full of sweaty, ripped bodies and grunting faces that likely reek of AXE Body Spray. Yogi's who showcase their own gun show in expensive Lululemon gear. Ballet Barre studio's where, apparently, nobody has one spare pound to loose and nobody is over 30.


I mean, next-level YUCK.

Just to keep it real with you, dear reader, I fully recognize that I, pre-pregnancy, fell into more than one category above. I mean, looooooove me some AXE Body Spray! I kid, I joke. And yet, "these people" STILL annoy me! So I can only imagine the public perception, annoyance level, and general disgust with the likes of me. I totally get it because I feel it too! Anyway, I digress...

To avoid these scenes at all cost, you commit yourself to outdoor activities to get in or maintain some level of fitness. But I'm here to tell you: Walking or running outside alone isn't going to cut it.

It's fairly common knowledge, at least in the fitness world, that to remain in top-notch shape, you should mix up your exercise routing regularly. To keep your body, and therefore muscles, "guessing", you should incorporate quick workouts of intense, high heart rate movement; weightlifting in some form to promote muscle development and growth; longer, slower workouts for maximum fat-burning; and stretching and balance work for muscle rehabilitation.

Well. That sounds like a lot of work. Also, that sounds like a gym is necessary.

While a gym isn't necessary, per se, unless you have some weights and other materials at home and know how to use them in a number of diverse ways, yes - you'll want access to a space that has these things. You'll also want access to someone who can teach you how to use the equipment with proper form to avoid injury.

Well, that sounds expensive. So what's a person to do?!

I HIGHLY suggest taking advantage of the group fitness classes at gyms! You have access to the instructor to guide you through the movements to ensure you're doing them correctly, you'll listen to their music to give you some variety to your old mixes, you'll be motivated to work hard by the folks around you, and the BEST part?! No, not everyone in there knows what they're doing, so NO, you won't look like an idiot.

I've been teaching yoga for about a year now. As a fitness instructor of sorts, please allow me to tell you that new students are the best students!  You know who we can't stand? The dude in the front who tries to take over the class by incorporating advanced moves that I haven't instructed and that others try to do that could result in serious injury, or the woman by the mirror in just a sports bra who busts out a handstand in the middle of my flow, intimidating everyone else to the point where they just sit back wide-eyed and watch her. Trust me, we love new and inexperienced students!

We can usually spot the "newbies" out, and if it's a good instructor, s/he will come and introduce her/himself to you and ask you a bit about yourself. But if that doesn't happen, go up there and and tell them! They will help you get set up for class and keep an eye on you to ensure you're catching on and don't have questions mid-class.

Group classes, whether a vinyasa flow yoga class, circuit training class, or kickboxing, will keep your muscles guessing and keep you interested in coming back for more. You'll start to see the results you want much faster than slow laps around your neighborhood in your worn out running shoes, and despite what you may think about the other participants, no, they're not experts and they're not judging you. One-handed push-up bro is too self absorbed to even notice you're in the class, and the sports-bra woman put herself by the mirror because she's focused on one thing: herself. And likely her boobs, to make sure they do/do not come out in class.

*Sorry, I had no pics to include with today's post! I'm adamantly against any/all "gym selfies" and while I googled some hysterical pics of "gym bro's" I wasn't exactly using the term in a positive light and didn't want to attach a person's photo - whom I don't even know! - to my negative review. Onward with more photos tomorrow! Enjoy the short novel I wrote.


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