How To: Not Die of Embarrassment When Trying a New Exercise Class

Imagine it: a dark room, music pumping, everyone feeling the beat, lifting their butts off of the impossibly-small bike seat and pedaling hard, fast.  You’re feeling great, you can do this and then, well, you realize that you’re legs are burning bad.  Soon, your towel falls off the front of your bike, a hand-weight falls out the side and your left leg is hanging precariously off of the pedal into which it was locked.  And the instructor?  Yeah, he just got off his bike to help you.

That was kind of how my first class at Soul Cycle went.  ‘Kind-of’ implies that I was also painfully sore for days afterward and could barely walk up stairs.  But you know what, it was amazing and totally worth it.  Even if my spinning-ego will never quite be the same again.

Trying new exercise classes can be tough.  There’s the potential for embarrassment, pain and being humbled.  If you have a friend to go with you it gets marginally easier, but still, only a bit.  Frankly, if a friend had gone with me to my first Zumba class, I doubt we’d still be on speaking terms.

But you really want to try out that new class that you saw on a blog/in a magazine/heard about from a friend.  I did too.  So I decided to get over my fear of new exercise classes and just do it.

What helped me, following this simple rule:  Be prepared.

The more you know going in, the more confident you’ll be and the more you’ll enjoy the experience.  Google the class, see what people are saying.  Look on Yelp for reviews, ask your friends.  Remember, being the new kid isn’t easy for anyone.

Feel free to freak out, talk to people about how you are freaking out and then freak out some more.  These things seem like they should be easy, but they aren’t.  The more you feel like this is an obligation, the more likely you are to be there when the time comes.

Get to class early.  You won’t be too early.  Use the time before class to expel nervous energy in peace.  The staff will be more willing to help you if they aren’t bombarded by other students.

Tell them it’s your first class, they’ll show you the ropes.  No one expects you to be perfect the first time around, so mess up!  Remember, the hardest part is before the class begins.  Once things get started, you’ll be able to go along just fine.  Feel the music, enjoy the vibe and learn from the instructor.

No matter what, even if you look back on the class with embarrassment and personal disdain (which you shouldn’t, but that’s a different post), you’ll have a story.  You’ll have a feeling of pride and accomplishment from doing something that most people wouldn’t do.

So get out there, bite the bullet and jump into that new exercise class.  It will be rewarding, no matter what.

Do you enjoy trying new exercise classes?  Is there a specific type you want to try?


5 thoughts on “How To: Not Die of Embarrassment When Trying a New Exercise Class

  1. Michael

    While I probably won’t dip my toe into the Zumba waters, I have tried some other classes in my time. Being a guy, I try to determine if there are other guys in the class and notice where they stand during class. (Last thing I want is to be THAT GUY)

    1. Emilia Post author

      Haha, zumba classes are definitely girl territory (though my friend told me of one that was held in her town hall, that must draw an odd group). It seems such a shame that there are so few exercise classes that are guy-friendly, even when I went spinning there were only a couple. Good luck 😉

      1. Michael

        I’m willing to be a pioneer to a mostly female exercise class but not THE pioneer. And also I’m far too rhythmically challenged to really enjoy zumba and get the workout I need in there. I’d be worrying far too much about shaking my hips the right way or not resorting to doing a moonwalk..:)

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