As both a long time teacher of fitness classes as well as someone who takes on average 3 workout classes a week (spin, kickboxing, dance, barre, weightlifting, TRX, yoga), I can speak from experience about how to get more out of your fitness class. While the benefits of taking a fitness class include the ability to ‘tune out’ since you don’t have to plan your own workout, often I see people cutting more corners than just that. If your goal is to shed pounds, build muscle or purely just peace of mind, here are 5 ways to make the most of your fitness class workout.
How to make the most of your fitness class workout
#1 Pay Attention
Seems obvious right? Sadly, its not. Tuning out may be fine for meditation, but from TRX to spin to barre, you need to pay attention to the details to get the most out of your workout. In something like barre or yoga, there is a big difference between a pointed foot or a flexed one, arms in front of you or arms by your ears, a flat back or a round back. Paying attention to the teacher can mean less back problems, a better stretch, or a different muscle group working.
#2 Wear the Correct Clothing
While baggy or loose clothing is not ideal for many workout types, it can work for things like kickboxing and TRX. But please don’t show up to barre or yoga in loose clothing, as you will not be able to see your body positions clearly and it makes it hard for the teacher to assess and help you. For spin, avoid short shorts because they will ride up and you will be pulling on them the whole time (there is a reason ‘bike shorts’ are longer cut!). I wear completely different items depending on what kind of workout I am having, because having the wrong clothing that chafes, cuts you off in weird places or hangs in your face when you’re upside down can distract you while working out.
#3 Take a Spot in the Front Row
Yes those ‘turbo’ people might be annoying to you, but that’s because YOU ARE BEHIND THEM. Taking a spot in the front row is the absolute best way to make the most of your fitness class because there are no excuses. No distractions, no excuses to slack off, no ways to cut corners. If you want to get a great workout go to the front, because you will push yourself harder knowing there are people behind you. Don’t be scared of people judging you, or that maybe you’re not able to do everything correctly. People will always judge, and you are here for YOUR WORKOUT, so ignore the others!
#4 Stay Until the end (including stretch!)
For the love of all that is Holy, PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE EARLY. I understand if your kid got sick or something urgent popped up once in a blue moon, but man oh man is it disrespectful to leave a class early. Not only are you shorting yourself on your workout, but you are shorting the teacher, and making them wonder why you are leaving early. Plus, a good stretch and wind down is often one of the most important parts of the workout, ensuring that your body releases the tension that it held for 45 minutes and you don’t end up with pain and aches that keep you from future workouts. Just stay and stretch, it’s not that hard.
#5 Thank the teacher afterwards
If you want to take your workout class up a notch, always thank the teacher afterwards. Not only do they appreciate it, but it gives you some face-to-face credit with the teacher so that they remember you. Everyone likes to know who takes their class, so that they can remember if this client did the same workout 2 days in a row, or if they can help improve that person in any way. If you don’t want recognition, that’s ok too- just say a quick thank you and run out. No need to have a long conversation about your favorite song or part of class (unless you want to!) but saying thank you goes a long way to appreciation for the teacher and you will feel great afterwards as well!