Are you hesitant to try a group exercise class like Zumba Fitness, Spin, Insanity, U-Jam, or any of the many fun fitness formats that are out there? Let me promise you that no one in your fitness class is thinking these five things.
1. Ew, look at his/her [negative body comment].
I know you are fixated on your flaws, but here are two truths for you to hold onto both in and out of fitness classes: no one else cares and no one else really sees them. “How can that be?! Look at this gross [additional negative body comment]!” You see yourself all day long and have time to fixate on all of the minutiae of your body…but guess what? Everyone else is busy doing the same things about themselves! Fitness classes are not beauty pageants, and no one is there to pick anyone else apart. I’m not just saying this to boost your confidence and yank you off of the couch – it’s really true.
2. Wow, he/she really sucks at this!
Just like #1…no one cares. If you’re in the middle of screwing something up big time during your fitness class, everyone else is, too! And Beyoncé up in the front row is too busy noticing how fabulous and flawless she is to see you tripping over your feet. Go big. Take the risk. No one is looking. No one cares. You’re there for you, and they’re there for them.
The instructor might make some corrections for your safety or to make sure you’re working hard enough, but those aren’t criticisms – that’s just to help you get what you came for!
3. Look at that weird outfit!
Some people wear different flawless, designer outfits to every workout. Some people are rocking the same pair of black sweatpants and their high school Spanish competition t-shirt, 7 days a week. As long as your various parts are sufficiently covered, no one cares what you’re wearing. Wear what you like. Wear what is comfortable, and what inspires you to give your best effort. But dress for yourself, not for anyone else.
Don’t fear group fitness.
Group fitness was my gateway into the gym world – I loved individual sports before I tried a group exercise class, but when I found yoga and martial arts I was really hooked. Being part of a class motivates me to work out in a different way than individual workouts do: there’s a little friendly competition, there are other smiling (and sweating) faces there that encourage me when I’m not sure I can do it, and there are deep and lasting friendships that start in those exercise studios. You can snooze your way through your 5 a.m. run day after day, but you’re not going to ditch your friends so easily.