Poll: Do You Take Workout Classes?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  302 comments   :  32,556 Views

It's been a long time since I have taken a workout class at a gym. I normally do my workouts on my own, but I joined a gym a few months ago and want to shake up my workout routines a bit and am now considering going to a few of the classes that they offer. I hate to admit it though, but that makes me nervous and even a little bit scared (even though I have gained a lot of confidence with reaching various goals). What you may not know though, is that I'm not the most coordinated person and I usually have to modify exercises to suit my physical ability/needs, so that is where the feelings of being nervous and scared come in. What if I make a fool of myself in some way (whether it is going the opposite direction and running into someone, dropping a weight if I lose my grip, or just not picking up on what it is that I should be doing)?

Well, I know in the past that I had similar feelings and was able to get past them eventually. Back then, I started out in the back of the class first and would sometimes be towards the front, but never actually in the front. I hated the thought that others might watch me and perhaps criticize my every move. Scary thought, right? I mean, who wants others to watch and criticize you, especially when you are not that coordinated? It's one thing to do workout videos at home -- there is nobody there watching to see all the missteps that you take, but it is a completely different story when you are surrounded by a large group of people that are workout class veterans.

Something I must keep in mind are my past experiences and that as I start going to these classes, over time I will get used to the classes and they won't be so scary. Additionally, isn't it possible that the others are worrying about themselves just as much as I am worried about myself? I think so. If they aren't, and they really are watching me, I suppose I will give them some good entertainment value. At any rate, I have decided to take another big leap in my journey and not worry about what others are thinking about me or if they are watching me mess up some choreography in a workout class. I'm going there for myself to add more variety and challenge to my current workouts and that is what I need to remember, even if I don't do everything perfectly. Despite my feelings of being nervous and a little bit scared to do something new, I have decided it is time for me to leave my comfort zone of working out on my own (at home and in the gym).


Do you take any workout classes? If so, which workout classes are your favorite? Have you been (or are you) scared or nervous to take a workout class? Do you have an recommendations on how to get over those feelings?

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  • DAWN8378
    I occasionally take classes for the variety it adds and the challenge. If I like it, I'll do it a few more times. If I don't, I try something new. I don't see the point in becoming frustrated, since I'm not commited to the class. - 6/22/2013   10:56:26 PM
  • 251
    I do at times. - 6/22/2013   9:18:50 PM
    Yoga and Zumba! - 5/12/2013   7:01:06 PM
  • FITNESS386
    I take spinning, Zumba, hip hop cardio, kickboxing, and pilates classes. They are all super fun with some classes being more challenging than others but my cardio workouts are never dull. - 4/1/2013   8:05:22 PM
  • 248
    Yes, I love classes. Hate the machines.. boring! Zumba is my fav. Some are slow and some are taught by expert professional dancers. Just go at your pace. Let me tell you, I'm a veteran, but I always admire people who are doing it. There is a little old man who is at the back left side of our class and he does his best to do what we do, but when he can't he still works it. I am inspired by him and think it's great. I never think negatively of him or anyone else who has to modify the movement/intensity. I recommend staying a few rows back, behind the teacher at first so you can see what the teacher does and see the other folks and so you don't get trampled if it is a fast paced class. ALWAYS do it at your own level and pace and don't think "I can't do that, I should leave" think " I can do it this way, and I'm still burning calories and having fun" If anyone things bad of you, well, then they are not nice people and we don't care what they think do we?! Don't be scared, we were all in the back going slow at one time or another. I still do when a new teacher comes along. Also, none of us are watching you... we are all watching the teacher or trying to get it right ourselves.
    - 3/13/2013   7:21:35 PM
  • 247
    I take Zumba...I enjoy it. Some instructors are really good and make it easy to follow....some seem to be dancing in their own little world...yet others, you just don't feel comfortable with because they do the over the top smiling. Find one that you are comfortable with, that way you know you will keep going. One bad instructor should not make you give up. You can do it! - 1/8/2013   9:51:31 PM
  • 246
    I love the Latin dance classes at my gym, at first I was intimidated b/c I was usually the biggest girl in class, but I found that I'm still fairly coordinated (use to dance in high school many moons ago) and in time I was able to keep up with the instructor. I held off on joining the ballet class for same fear being biggest girl, but also I'm not physically able to do some of the moves yet...conquered that fear and the instructor was so nice and gave me and others modified moves.

    My gym must have had some feedback on this issue of the fear of taking a class, so they decided to give sample classes, I think they were 10-15 minutes each. I say go to the class a few minutes early let the instructor know that you're new, many will look out for you and make sure you don't stay lost for too long. - 1/7/2013   12:51:22 AM
    No - 1/6/2013   4:47:50 PM
  • 244
    I have been a member of the Y for about 6 months. I started taking water classes and when those got too crowded are just hit the gym. Now that's getting too crowded, so I started trying different classes at different times to see if there were any I liked. I tried a cardio muscle class, and that kicked my butt. I've taken a yoga class, and look forward to it every friday night. So far I've done well in 1 class, and the other 2 have kicked my butt (they closed down the studio for a week to refurb the floor). Hoping to try new classes during the next few months. I'd really like to find a big open field I can run around and do cardio on my own without people staring at me. lol - 1/3/2013   8:17:42 PM
  • WHEELS54
    Like many others, I have taken Zumba and yoga classes. They were OK. It is more convenient for me to do a video at home. Via youtube, I am teaching myself how to dance gangnam - just for fun and exercise. It's a hoot! - 1/3/2013   12:47:59 PM
  • 242
    I love the Les Mills classes--BodyPump, BodyAttack, CXWorks and watching others in the class motivates me to work my hardest. - 1/2/2013   4:52:17 PM
  • 241
    YES! I take zumba and it is a very important part of my fitness plan! If I can't get to zumba, I am sad. I also take a cardio tennis class once a week... what a great workout!!
    ONE NOTE to those who are worrying about how they look to others in the class - - for the most part NO ONE is watching you!
    As JOANNEJI says: "Everyone starts out looking like a beginner - we have all been the new person in class. But most of us "veterans" love to see a new face, and are just happy that you are out there, being active and working toward fitness." - 1/2/2013   4:46:50 PM
  • 240
    have long considered work out classes. Not sure of what class to take. Plus there is the overall fear of showing up and looking stupid. I think I will wait, until teh psot new years resolution rush dies down and consider a spinning course - 1/1/2013   9:30:05 AM
  • 239
    3 Metafit classes a week, also at least 2 from Les Mills Body Pump, Les Mills Body Combat, Kettlercise, Vipr, or FTZ TRX circuits. - 9/9/2012   2:37:30 PM
  • N16351D
    I absolutely love exercise classes for several reasons.I have been in Pilates, Yoga, Ballet, Jazz, Jazzercise, Aerobics, Strength, Zumba and other classes. I get exercise, make new friends, learn new skills and ways to move, stay motivated and have fun with other like-minded people. I am terrible at exercising at home because that is where I work (cleaning, dishes, laundry, cooking, etc.) and those chores are never done (have to be done over again each day). It is boring to do it solo.

    Starting something new is always uncomfortable, that is just the nature of getting involved in something unfamiliar. I am not particularly athletic or coordinated, but so what? I have become that way after years of consistent exercising. I accept being uncomfortable with something new as part of life in new activities and know I will soon fit in as I learn what to do and get to know people. That is part of the adventure! Sure beats doing it alone! I could care less what others think about me when I am exercising. I have to live in my body, not others, so I am going to take care of it. Classes help me take care of me. - 9/7/2012   8:59:51 AM
  • 237
    Good article........I took two separate yoga classes within the last several year. Both times the instructor pushed us all too hard .... Which resulted in injury for me. I did Curves for a year until they closed down, a step class that got way too crowded. Many years ago I did water aerobics which was fun. Maybe I'll join the Y for the winter months and give that a try again. Okay, okay...I will look the schedule up RIGHT NOW! :) - 9/6/2012   6:53:54 AM
    I started spin classes last febuary and I am hooked! I felt like you and was embarrassed starting at 279 lbs. Was months before I got up outta the saddle. Since then I have gained alot in that class, made friends, confidence. I go to the ymca and they make it very easy to try a new class and encourage you. so I wish you luck. - 8/20/2012   2:35:50 PM
  • 235
    Several years ago I took my first ever fitness class, the class & instructor were perfect for what I needed at that time in my life - a simple "stretch and tone" class. A few years and a variety of fitness classes later I still enjoy fitness classes, infact, I now am a certified group fitness instructor, and am certified also as a Spin instructor. I love teaching, and I still enjoy being the participant/student too! - 7/29/2012   5:11:16 PM
    Classes are the best way to: learn how to use weights properly or do kickboxing moves or abdominal exercises or Zumba or yoga moves, etc. The instructor is motivating, will correct your form, demonstrate how to do the moves, etc. It is a great way to meet others just like you. Start by going up to instructor at the beginning of the class, say that you are new, ask what weights or supplies you need. If the instructor is good, she(he) will guide you. Stay in the back and watch what the other class participants are doing. - 7/28/2012   10:48:16 PM
  • 233
    I take the fitness classes at Planet Fitness as much as possible and I enjoy them. Our instructor is great. She makes sure you get a well rounded work out for whichever muscle group the class is doing and that you are using proper form to prevent injuring yourself. She also realizes that everyone is not at the same fitness level or have restrictions (for example bulging discs) and gives modified or alternate options for them. The time seems to pass faster in the group setting to me which means I am engaged and willing to spend more time working out. I also learn new things that I can then use when working out on my own. - 7/4/2012   9:57:01 AM
  • 232
    I love the Zumba classes at my gym. They offer it on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I enjoy the Saturday class the best. Each class has a different instructor and they each have their own style.
    It's funny to see when people who regularly attend Wednesday evening Zumba wonder how I pick up choreography easily and I don't go as often. I know I probably make them a little bit mad...sorry : )
    I don't go to nightclubs so this is the only chance I have to dance.
    Also, don't be afraid to step up to the front. That's where you can see the instructor and you may be able to pick up the moves much better.
    I promise you no one's laughing because they probably can't do much better than you anyway. - 6/28/2012   9:25:02 AM
  • 231
    I could have written this, because I had all the same fears and incoordination. In fact, I have been the only one grapevining to the right, or facing the back of the room when everyone else is facing left. You know, it's not that bad. I usually just shrug and give a helpless sort of smile and so far, everyone has smiled back. I am improving now, and so is my self confidence...and people are not there to judge, just to battle their own demons. - 6/28/2012   8:20:13 AM
  • 230
    My favorites are Cardio Dance and Zumba. I also really like Group Power and Group Active. Group power is lifting, using free weights, to music. Group active is a combination of step aerobics, free weights, balance, and core.

    I was very nervous to attend my first classes. 2 things really helped me. 1, go with a friend. Having someone there to share the scare really takes the edge off. 2, get to know the instructor. Instructors generally really do want people in their classes and will do whatever it takes to make you comfortable and make sure you are getting everything out of the class. - 5/16/2012   11:06:15 AM
    I love fitness classes especially now. If I could compare myself to someone, & believe me when I tell you that I don't know you, but you I probably would compare myself to you as far as being clumsy (I just fell off a stability/fitness ball) last Thursday & either I do or nearly do in every class, fall, run into someone else causing them or myself pain. It is not pretty watching me workout. I am also disabled so I am not loaded with confidence. Learning to laugh at yourself is part of the healing or learning process so that you can handle or deal with the feeling that people are laughing at you. You are right when you said that they probably aren't laughing at you. They are laughing with you even though the timing was so perfect that they laughed at the same time you decided to be a comedian. It is just a coincidence. LOL! Go ahead & laugh. We all need more laughter in the world anyway. If you have a friend to go work out with, it might be a little easier to catch some of the laughter bug. Laughing is contagious. Good Luck! I didn't mean to downplay your situation. Honestly, I feel for you.. - 4/28/2012   11:21:00 PM
  • 228
    I take A Zumba class 3 days a week and a toning class 2 days a week. I love it. We all have so much fun and I have a few girls that keep me accountable. Whether you take classes or workout at home it is all exercise:) - 4/28/2012   9:35:24 AM
  • 227
    Everyone starts out looking like a beginner - we have all been the new person in class. But most of us "veterans" love to see a new face, and are just happy that you are out there, being active and working toward fitness. I don't really like cardio, so I take yoga and Pilates classes. I find the live instruction is great for getting the most out of the poses - they see you progress and always add on just a bit more challenge. Also, once I have paid for a class, I am too cheap not to attend. I do exercise with myyogaonline, and YouTube, but it is too easy to say "tomorrow" when there is no live instructor keeping tabs on me. Classes keep me moving! And the social part of it is great fun too! - 4/27/2012   11:23:37 PM
  • 226
    I forgot I do like Aqua fit but please No Zumba for me. I like lifting weights. - 4/26/2012   11:44:51 PM
  • 225
    I like working out by myself. I'm not a fan of fitness classes but I'm not knocking them either. I like DVDs and walking...by myself. It's my time. - 4/26/2012   11:41:58 PM
    I love fitness classes! But I've always been able to laugh at myself. - 4/25/2012   8:17:04 PM
  • 223
    I reckon that most people wouldn't watch others because they will be so engaged in watching the fitness instructor and copy his/her moves. - 4/25/2012   8:31:24 AM
  • DEANK641
    I take 3 different classes a week an if you would have known me before I started these classes you wouldnt have believed that I was the same person. I was very shy an backwards when it came to being in a crowded room full of strangers. Like everyone I would mess up continuely , but thank goodness I had wonderful instructors who saw my desire for change an they continue to work with me .So its been 1 year now an I have lost 35 pounds an 45 inches an still going an I love it, because it gave me courage to keep going when therewere times when I wanted to quit. - 4/25/2012   12:47:54 AM
    I love my zumba instructor, I am so greatful for her. I forget my surrondings and just have fun!! - 4/24/2012   5:58:21 PM
    I started bootcamp this month and will be signing up for the month of May. It was extremely difficult at first, but I managed to hang on in there. I had taken spin and kickboxing classes. I love performing with a positive group. I cant believe how fast the weight has come off. One Special K protein shake in the morning and one in the evening. Five small healthy meals. 1200-1500 calories per day and OMG I look great. - 4/24/2012   3:43:23 PM
  • YVIEG17
    I have a free gym membership from my health insurance plan. I'm still not a big fan of working out on the machines alone because I feel self conscious that I'm not going to remember how to use them correctly. However, I will take group classes because of the support. Whether its your first time or you're a regular people in these classes are generally very helpful and nice. I love doing Zumba at least 3x a week. I am now trying other classes and enjoying them. Pilates mat is hard but I don't care anymore how I look when I'm struggling. That's the point. I should look like I'm trying. At the end of the day, I have found that no matter how silly I think I look, everyone else is battling the same fear. If you mess up, who cares? Laugh it off and keep on moving. - 4/24/2012   12:20:41 PM
  • 218
    Classes motivate me to actually do a hard workout rather than slacking as I sometimes do. I admit it, I can be prone to not working out as hard as I should on my own. Being there with an instructor ensures I am doing the workout right and keeping up, plus they change it up. Self-consciousness is common. I smile, try to laugh it off, and focus on doing things right. - 4/24/2012   10:00:08 AM
  • 217
    Although not currently, I have taken classes in martial arts & pilates (which I LOVE!). Also, last year I signed up for a 12-week Biggest Loser bootcamp. My only worry (not fear) is needing to go to the bathroom in the middle of the workout, or passing gas - hey, it happens. Other than that, it's just a convenience thing. - 4/24/2012   9:51:37 AM
  • 216
    I have had a hard time committing to a specific class time because I always had to coordinate childcare around it. I managed a step class for a few months but never felt like it was as hard a workout as I could do on my own. I have tried BodyPump and BodyFlow classes and liked them. I tried Zumba once and absolutely hated it -- it wasn't intimidation or cluelessness (I had to get over myself years ago doing musical theater -- I *know* I'm inept but I also know I'll get it as well as anyone eventually, and I also know that nobody's looking at me because they're all trying to sort themselves out as well), I just genuinely disliked the style. I enjoy spin classes but either the time is impossible for me to make or I'd rather be out on my real bicycle anyway. Now that my kids are older (and the kids' class is ending for the summer, so I don't have to time my workout around that, either) I might re-visit BodyPump. But I've had great success losing weight and meeting fitness goals on my own, so I'll probably stick to my standard, solitary approach. - 4/24/2012   9:17:07 AM
  • 215
    I take a Aqua Fitness class. Some teachers are more intense than others and I love the workout that I get. I have also really gotten into Zumba. I thought I would be self conscious about it and my coordination and size but once I was in class and there were 45 other people there, I realized all those people were too busy doing their own workout that they didn't have time to see how I was doing. Zumba has brought me a new level of confidence for sure! - 4/24/2012   12:34:33 AM
  • 214
    I do not attend classes. I prefer to workout on my own schedule. The author's attitude is admirable. Next time I do take a class, I will keep it in mind. - 4/23/2012   9:09:39 PM
  • 213
    I take Zumba 3 days/week and Afro Belly Boogie once a week. I've tried BodyPump and Strength Training once, but I didn't like them. I LOVE to dance, so I seldom miss a dance class. I work out on the circuit on my own and swim for muscle tone, so that I can go at my own pace.

    I started to Zumba at home first, but I became bored after awhile doing the same routines. When I joined a gym that offered it, I started to dance in the back of the class, but now I dance near the front whenever there's space available. I've been dancing for a long time, so I try to help others around me who are struggling. I'll also give folks a high 5 to encourage them also. I recommend that you jump right into a class and walk in place whenever you get tired, so that you keep your heart rate up. After awhile, you'll become a pro at it! - 4/23/2012   8:17:23 PM
  • 212
    I looveee to take classes. I take total strength, Zumba, and cardiokickboxing and the occassional step or pilates class. It is the best. You hear the music pumping and you are shaking your booty and before you know it, it's over and you are all sweaty. Of course some are more choreography challenged than others, but none of us walked in knowing how to do ANY class. So start in the corner or back if you need to and just do what you can, don't stop moving. Go at YOUR own pace and modify for your body issues. Sooner or later you will get it. No one is looking at you and thinking anything, believe me. If they are, so what. I see people in the back who are very heavy or advanced in age, and can barely do the steps and you know what I think? ( I'm no skinny minnie or spring chick either)I think how proud I am that they are here and doing something to get healthier! At the end of the day if you enjoy your physical fitness you will do it more often. Get addicted to something healthy! If you don't like the class, get a DVD and do it at home. But I work harder and have more fun at the group classes. We are all working hard on doing the steps right so we really don't notice too much of the mistakes of others, believe me! Those whose opinions matter won't mind and those who mind, their opinions don't matter, to me! - 4/23/2012   7:57:23 PM
  • 211
    I take a kick boxing class and have become completely addicted to it! I am absolutely covered in sweat when it's over. - 4/23/2012   7:03:40 PM
  • MIRANDA2112
    I used to go to a weekly Senior's exercise class but gave it up when my husband became ill. I must go back to it again now that he has passed on. - 4/23/2012   5:50:49 PM
  • 209
    Oh yes, I definitely take classes & I love it! I take a step class regularly as well as a bootcamp class. When I first took the step class I strategically put myself towards the front of the class, not knowing what to expect, & low & behold, the music started & everyone was moving in coordination, except me. Boy! I thought, "what the heck"! However, I continued to go to the class & sooner rather than later, I got it. I love working out with others & the friendly chatter that we all have. - 4/23/2012   2:57:45 PM
  • 208
    I love Body Pump and Body Combat. And the good thing about Body Pump is that you don't have to be especially co-ordinated to do it and get results! - 4/23/2012   1:21:13 PM
  • 207
    I belong the the YMCA. I take SPIN, Which I just stated a few months ago and now love. I also take Plyo power and love that too!! Sometimes I do zumba and the bootcamp!! Both faves!! I swim on my own. Oh almost forgot I also do the water aerobics class!!! when at home I will do pilates with the on damand!! - 4/23/2012   12:52:42 PM
  • SMIDGE1971
    I joined a gym this winter too. At first I just used the treadmill and weight machines, but now I've worked up to taking classes 4 days a week. I take a Zumba class once a week (only offered once when I can go) and a Step N' Sculpt class three days a week. I love both of them. I tend to stay toward the back or middle of the class b/c this is the first time that I've taken them. I wouldn't worry too much about how you look b/c I've noticed that most people in my classes (especially my Zumba class) don't know the steps any more than anybody else (with the exception of a few people who are really good). What I like most about the Zumba class is that its fun and nobody really cares if you know the moves. The instructor is always saying that the most important thing is that you keep moving. I also did a cardio sculpt class and that was really good, but not nearly as much fun. - 4/23/2012   12:08:46 PM
  • 205
    I love my Body Pump class and I also spin and cardio kick. - 4/23/2012   11:31:23 AM
  • 204
    I love workout classes! My favorites are spinning, step, kickbox and circuit training. I have been a club member for a really long time, no place fancy but we all help each other out and try to motivate each other. Try to find classes where you have such an atmosphere and it will encourage you to do new things, good luck! :) - 4/23/2012   11:19:52 AM
  • 203
    No but I do go to a gym that offer them. They have trainers also but I dot not want to become the biggest loser and die in the process. LOL.. I like working at my now pace. Besides I am no dancer. I do aerobic walking with weights, treadmill, and spinning - 4/23/2012   10:52:39 AM

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