Are you a fitness class first-timer? Finding the courage to join a workout class can feel intimidating, especially if you’re just starting to explore new activities. Whether you exercise daily or want to try something new, taking a workout class for beginners is one of the best ways to discover what activities you enjoy.
You might be thinking, “What if I don’t like the class?” or, “what if something embarrassing happens?”
Don’t worry – the people around you will be focused on their own workouts. And if you don’t like it, there are plenty of other classes to choose from! When in doubt, phone a friend and show up to class with a workout buddy. You’ll have a built-in support system, and someone who you can cheer on, too!
Here are five of our best tips for trying a new workout class and leaving with the confidence of a seasoned pro. Remember, the most important part is to enjoy the workout and have fun — even if the class doesn’t go as planned, you can revel in those post-workout endorphins!
Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
1. Do a little research.
If it’s your first time going to a gym workout, check it out online and read a few class descriptions. You’ll find out if you’ll need to bring any special gear, like footwear or a yoga mat. Take advantage of video clips posted to the gym or exercise studio’s social media page – they’ll give you an idea of what to expect during your first class. Or, call the studio with your questions to find out which class is best for beginners.
2. Arrive early.
Give yourself 15-20 minutes before the class starts to fill out any necessary forms and introduce yourself to the instructor. Once you do, explain that you’re new and mention any concerns that you have. Do you have knee trouble or lower back pain? Your instructor can provide modifications and keep you in mind. Even if you don’t have injuries to worry about, the instructor will know you might need a little extra guidance or support. Plus, an early arrival guarantees you’ll get a good spot in the room!
3. Take frequent breaks.
You don’t need permission to take breaks — listen to your body and slow down when you need to. Ask your instructor about any "active resting" positions you can try, especially during yoga or Pilates. You’ll be able to take a break without completely stopping your workout. Even if you exercise often, a new class may work different muscles than you’re used to, so feel free to take breaks when you need them.
4. Remember to hydrate.
Drink water before, during and after your workout. Dehydration affects your ability to maximize your workout. In fact, losing only two percent of your body weight in fluid can decrease performance by up to 25%!1 To get the most out of your class, drink water an hour before you exercise and make sure to sip water throughout the class as well. Toss a water bottle (or two) into your bag before you leave the house so you can stay hydrated before, during and after class.
5. Eat a pre-workout meal.
Eat a mix of carbs, protein and a small amount of healthy fats a couple of hours before exercising. Try to avoid heavy, spicy or salty foods before a workout, since they can cause bloating and discomfort.2 If your workout is particularly strenuous, try to eat a light snack within 30 minutes of finishing your session to give your body the fuel it needs to recover (think: a Jenny Craig Chocolate Dream Shake or an apple with a teaspoon of nut butter).3
Bonus Tip: Remember to stretch!
Typically, your instructor will lead you through some stretches and exercises to get you limber for your class. After your workout, your muscles will be warmed up after working hard. Gently stretch your arms, legs, back, and any other areas of tension to cool down, feel less stiff and more relaxed.4 Your body will thank you!
Ready to get started?
Trying a new workout class might seem scary at first, but completing your first one is a huge accomplishment! Trust us — the hardest part is getting started. It might take a couple of classes to get used to doing new movements, but they’ll get easier as you build your strength and endurance. Between workouts, you can improve your balance and strength with these helpful fitness videos.
You got this!
Eating healthfully and working out go hand in hand. Learn how to boost your workout efforts by making the right food choices by setting up a free appointment with a Jenny Craig consultant today!
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, CA. They’ve focused on writing within the health and wellness space for the last several years, but have dabbled in the tech and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Stephanie employs a “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoys the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find them photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.
Favorite healthy snack: green apple slices with sunflower butter
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and reviewed by certified professionals.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on the topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.
Edited by Stephanie E - Jenny Craig