Poll: Do You Take Workout Classes?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/19/2012 2:00 PM   :  274 comments   :  19,293 Views

See More: fitness, poll, exercise, gym,

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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  • 224
    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
  • LQUEST4754
    I really dislike Zumba as I am NOT a dancer. It is frustrating. The class that I really love and find to be very beneficial for strength and cardio is TRX Interval training. - 4/23/2012   6:31:20 AM
  • SUNSET09
    They are my favorite way to work out as there as those that are better than you are as well as those not so much. It's a great way to start a relationship and many offer encouragement and assistance! It also offers the total workout! - 4/22/2012   4:14:37 PM
    Yes Pole Dance twice a day on Saturday and once on Sunday, really a good core workout. - 4/22/2012   1:57:03 PM
  • 199
    I love workout classes. I take Line Dancing, Zumba, muscle toning, Jazzercise and add others when I get bored. I'm usually the older woman, but who cares!!! I'm doing it with some of my own style. - 4/22/2012   11:11:13 AM
  • 198
    There are so many videos on YouTube for Zumba, Kettlebells, etc. that I don't need to drive to a "class" to do them, but the gym does have a lot of them, so I could. - 4/22/2012   8:55:34 AM
  • 197
    I've formulated my response to this in a blog:

    - 4/22/2012   1:53:56 AM
  • 196
    I go to Body Combat, Body Step, and Body Pump. I am the oldest, the fattest, the slowest, and the weakest. I don't care. I keep going. I've never been kicked out. The instructors and fellow classmates are always incouraging. - 4/21/2012   11:10:23 PM
    I am going to take a class so that it would help me focus. - 4/21/2012   10:33:39 PM
  • PAULAM53
    I love classes-they force me to stay focued on my goal for the entire hour. If I were not in a class I would give up sooner. They also challenge me to do more than I would do on my own. Most instructors offer modifications as a rule but if you have issues (bad knees or back) let them know. - 4/21/2012   7:19:40 PM
  • 193
    Generally I have been a work from my living room kinda girl. Last summer I tried a Zumba class while on vacation. Just last week I signed up for a weekly class. LOVE the energy involved from working out with others. Can't wait til next week. - 4/21/2012   3:14:39 PM
  • 192
    I was all about working out at home because of lack of transportation and finances. Then I discovered I qualified for a free liesure pass to my city's fitness facilities and my scooter had the range to get to them. I have been a very long time fitness class exerciser, mostly in the water and that is by far the best place to start -no one can see missteps or stumbles in the water! I struggled with my very first DVD's to get the choreography right, just took so much practise before I finally became comfortable. With my multiple health issues I learned fast how to modify and the instructor would say look at me for low impact. When I started going to these facilities I tried ZUMBA, and step for the first time and at first it was a series of one fumble after another, but I was in great shape and soon got my body moving in the right directions once I learned the moves which are common and repeated frequently. Patience learning them first is required. Getting used to an instructor not speaking was especially difficult in ZUMBA and I still have missteps, but everyone else is concentrating so hard to keep up they don't notice what you are doing - 4/21/2012   1:51:07 PM
  • 191
    Do you take any workout classes? Yes, my work place offers fitness classes.

    If so, which workout classes are your favorite? Zumba is the most fun, Strength is my most needed. I take yoga, too, don't enjoy it so much, but do it because it is good for me.

    Have you been (or are you) scared or nervous to take a workout class? Absolutely. I, too, need to modify a lot of exercises and I found it embarrassing at first when I couldn't do all the yoga poses or Zumba steps. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep up with the intensity of Zumba. The first time I walked into strength training class, the class before me was just finishing up doing reverse planks on one arm, lifting weights with the other. I almost turned around and walked out. I looked at the instructor, my eyes were probably like saucers. I said, "I can't do that." But she took me where I was at and is working with me. It was a big hurdle for me to cross to exercise in front of others.

    Do you have an recommendations on how to get over those feelings? Yes - just do it! And in hindsite, I would recommend trying to talk to your instructor ahead of the first session. If they don't initiate questions about you and your situation, tell them. Tell them where you are on your journey, tell them your goals, tell them any hindrances or physical limitations you have, even simple things like arthritis, cranky knees, torn rotator cuff, etc. Ask them to feel free to tell you modifications that you can do if you find a pose or particular exercise too challenging. Be open - they will likely be open back with you and you will get more out of the classes. - 4/21/2012   1:46:39 PM
    Kettlebells, Zumba, and Spinning ~ since I have taken classses like these at our local Y - I don't even go back into the regular part of the Y to workout. So boring in there! I get a much better and challenging workout in class! No one watches you in class because everyone is busy trying to do it themselves! LOL! - 4/21/2012   1:08:13 PM
    Kettlebells, Zumba, and Spinning ~ since have taken classses like these at our local Y - I don't even go back into the regular part of teh Y to workout. So boring in there! I get a much better and challenging workout in class! No one watches you in class because everyone is busy trying to do it themselves! LOL! - 4/21/2012   1:07:04 PM
  • 188
    My neighbor keeps inviting me to Zumba with her. I'm afraid to go because I am not very coordinated and probably won't be able to keep up. I am planning on taking yoga classes in the near future. - 4/21/2012   12:48:43 PM
    When I was younger I did a lot of classes. About a year ago I joined a gym however and have only done one class. After reading this article and everyone's entries I am more motivated to give at least one class a try :) - 4/21/2012   11:26:45 AM
  • 186
    I go to a ZUMBA class and I actually LIKE to do it!!! I am sad when it's over lol - 4/21/2012   10:47:26 AM
    Like GRAMMALILY I am in a Silver Sneakers class. Have been for about three years and it's gotten me to where I am out of my wheelchair (most times) and walking with the walker (and occasionally alone short distance). Unlike most of the other "Sneakers" however I am not a senior citizen! I was 45 (ish) when I joined and I'm 49! I think it's a great way for people of all ages who have physical limitations (including poor balance, that was improved too!) to join this! HUGS - 4/21/2012   10:17:19 AM
  • 184
    I love workout classes, but I can totally relate to feeling awkward and a bit nervous about starting. When I started going to the gym, I worked out on my own, but I often watched the classes from the safety of the elliptical and thought "that doesn't look too hard" (or sometimes "no way - I'm never going to do THAT"). But I love working out in a group, so after watching those classes I decided to try a beginner's step class. After a few tries, I decided it wasn't for me as I kept turning left when everybody else was turning right and almost crashed into people a few times. Then I tried Zumba - much better since I didn't have to deal with a bench, but still the choreography was a bit tricky for me. Finally I found Group Power. That's my fav since we're mostly standing in one place and doing the lifts, squats and lunges to music. Some tracks we're sitting or lying on the bench, but at least we aren't expected to jump or run around in an organized fashion.

    In all my attempts, I found the instructors to be extremely helpful and understanding of newbies. My suggestion is, if you want to try out a class, go for it. Try to get there early so you can talk to the instructor before the class, or if she's rushing in at the last minute talk to somebody who looks like she knows what she's doing. People who have been doing a class for a while are usually very happy to help out a newcomer. And if after a few tries you find it's not your thing, try something else. Or you may find classes aren't your thing after all and that's fine too. For me, I get competitive and work harder in a group but everybody is different. - 4/21/2012   9:36:02 AM
  • 183
    These are all such great and interesting comments! Well, I am a big fan of taking classes. I think it's important to have someone (the teacher) who can encourage you or guide you if you need help, or give you feedback if you ask. I really like yoga classes, so that's where it's especially important to have someone make sure you're aligning your body properly through the poses. But I also like spin classes. I wish I could afford a gym membership - I'd join just for that!

    I also am a martial artist. Those classes (like someone mentioned about boot camp) are so challenging, I think everyone is just trying to survive it!!

    I have to admit though: I am EXTREMELY competitive and a bit self conscious in general. Actually, I guess I have turned my self consciousness INTO competition, haha! So I do have to keep it in check because I think it makes me a bit mean-spirited (I recently realized I actually take a look around the room as class begins and identify who my "competition" is! Wow.) But I also have to say that sometimes it helps to find someone in the class to focus on as a pace setter, someone to try and keep up with. It helps get me out of my head and focused on the task at hand.

    Good luck with your classes! And don't forget: just have fun! If you're not having fun, don't assume there's something wrong with you. It's more likely that the class is just not the class for you. - 4/21/2012   9:11:02 AM
  • 182
    I use to belong to a gym where I took a total body workout class. I stopped going when I got Pregnant. I stopped going to the gym after the birth of my son. I found that working at home has been more benificial to me. So now I stick with videos and workouts for the game systems. - 4/21/2012   8:32:56 AM
    Hi, I am 55 and I do a Pump Class 3 times a week, plus a circuit class, have seen a lot a people come and go to the classes, but most master and become like me, addicted. Just go and enjoy your class. I also love doing gym workouts. Our local gym is very friendly and no one judges anyone. Just Enjoy doing it!
    - 4/21/2012   12:59:51 AM
  • 180
    I had to get over feeling like I was too young to take some of the classes usually aimed at older folks. I am often the youngest in my aqua class, and started taking the silver sneakers classes also. My arthritic neck just won't take a lot of impact, even though most people would look at me and wonder what I am doing in a class aimed at those needing a modified workout.
    So, my question to myself was: do I do a higher impact class or workout and pay the price in pain; or do I do a low impact class and feel better?
    No one else lives in my body. I do what helps, not hurts, me.
    Dianne - 4/21/2012   12:17:55 AM
    I Jazzercise a couple of times a week. Everyone makes mistakes but since we are so worried about how others see us, we only notice our missteps. I go at my own speed in the class which is slower than the 20 year olds but faster than the 70 year olds. - 4/20/2012   11:54:42 PM
  • 178
    I take only 5 Rhythms classes, and those only once in a while.

    The rest of my classes--yoga, dance and pilates--are either from online downloads or self-sequenced.

    It was an ad on SparkPeople, in fact, that introduced me to Myyogaonline ... - 4/20/2012   10:48:23 PM
  • 177
    I can totally relate to this post. I did group workouts last year but when I started my new job, I began working out at home. Our HR department at work recently started organizing Thursday workouts and I joined in this week. It was my first group workout in months and I was worried that officemates would see my flab and batwings and jiggly bits. But they didn't! Instead they saw my strength and flexibility and are now asking me to join the cheerdance group for the company sportsfest! haha! - 4/20/2012   10:45:36 PM
    I attend classes. Most weeks I attend:
    Monday: step
    Tuesday: yoga
    Wednesday: stretch. also a cardio/strength class
    Thursday: Zumba
    Friday: strength

    I love fitness classes... way more than working out on my own in the gym (boring). - 4/20/2012   10:09:05 PM
  • 175
    I have been taking workout classes at Golds gym the classes I like are..
    Bodystep, Body Pump, Body Combat CXWorx, Sh'Bam
    I like them, they are just some of the Les Mills Brand workout classes
    we have at Gold's Gym. they are really great classes, and you have to start somewhere. does not matter if you are uncoordinated. Just don't fear them, it is for your exercise benefit and you feel so much better after a workout class or two, or three. - 4/20/2012   9:48:30 PM

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