SparkPeople Blogs  •  fitness  •  poll

Poll: Do You Take Workout Classes?

By , SparkPeople Blogger

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?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See more: fitness poll exercise gym


I recently made the decision to stop making excuses and start exercising, no matter how much I felt like I couldn't or didn't want to. Feeling like I was too big to use the machines, and not enjoying the sound of the whirring of the treadmill under my weight, I opted to try some of the classes that my gym offered. Nervously, after memorizing the schedules for about 2 weeks, I bit the bullet and walked into my first class, Les Mills BodyPump. It was difficult, not gonna lie, but after it was all said and done, I felt exhausted, yet exhilarated. The instructor was helpful, offering options to moves, so that all fitness levels were accommodated. I now, take 3 classes a week, BodyPump, BodyFlow and CXWorX... with my fitness level getting stronger, I plan to try out more!! Report
I go to at least 4 classes a week. I found an instructor whose teaching style I love and try to go to her all classes which include: Kickboxing, Zumba Toning and Zumba. I also go to boot camp. But need to find another strength. Report
Even as a yoga teacher, I do group practice as a participant because it feels so good to get the group energy, even when you think you have no individual energy. This happened recently, and by the end of the practice, I had done poses that surprised me. I still remember what it was like to feel as though the hardest part of the practice was the Sun Salute warm-up (and there are times when that's still true); but I also have better confidence and calm because I kept going with yoga practice. Find your own "best activity". And enjoy! Report
i take classes at my gym that are workouts for arms and legs and abs. i do them once a week. i like the trainer i work with he keeps the classes small and upbeat. he makes it fun and exciting to be there. he pushes me to try new workouts but he doesnt push so hard i end up in pain. i have a lot of medical and physical issues and he works around them. hes the reason ive lost 10 lbs this last month. i love the classes too because they tend to be the same people and its a wonderful support group. we talk about our lives our goals when we slip up how were doing weight loss wise. when i hit ten lbs i went and told the trainer and he was so proud he told everyone else and the other staff members. he still keeps going on about it and they all make me feel great for what i saw as a small accomplishment. Report
I usually workout at home but when I do take a class it's zumba and it's a very depressing zumba class. It's not really upbeat and there are not many people in the class. I haven't taken many other classes because a lot of them a so hard. I usually stick to home workouts. Report
I like Zumba. It's fun and even though I'm not as young or energetic as many others in the class, I can modify moves and just keep moving. The time goes by so fast it's hard that I had an hour workout. Report
I take all that my gym offers. I found that fitness classes provide structure for me, and help me to get the best burn for the time allotted. I do much better with an instructor than on my own, plus attending a gym class is almost like having a personal trainer as most of the time (mine anyways) they always come around to answer questions and correct form. My favorites are body pump, zumba, body combat and cycling. Report
I love Zumba classes. Our instructor really kicks up the beat and adds a lot of strength exercises into the moves besides just dance moves. The hour goes by so fast. It's more like going to a "sweat party" rather than a gym workout. Report
I take deep water aerobics classes. Once in the pool, no one can see what you do, except maybe the instructor standing on deck. I have physical limitations, and my balance isn't the best. The pool is safe for me. I get a GREAT workout. I have been eying a silver sneakers zumba class. It looks like fun, lots of folks are awkward,and most modify the workout. Not everyone in the class is a senior. I would fit right in. I have it on my goal list, as soon as the physical therapist says it safe for me to start the class. Report
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. Report
I do at times. Report
Yoga and Zumba! Report
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. Report
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.
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! Report
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. Report
No Report
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 Report
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! Report
I love the Les Mills classes--BodyPump, BodyAttack, CXWorks and watching others in the class motivates me to work my hardest. Report
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." Report
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 Report
3 Metafit classes a week, also at least 2 from Les Mills Body Pump, Les Mills Body Combat, Kettlercise, Vipr, or FTZ TRX circuits. Report
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. Report
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! :) Report
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. Report
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! Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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.. Report
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:) Report
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! Report
I forgot I do like Aqua fit but please No Zumba for me. I like lifting weights. Report
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 myself. It's my time. Report
I love fitness classes! But I've always been able to laugh at myself. Report
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. Report
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. Report
I love my zumba instructor, I am so greatful for her. I forget my surrondings and just have fun!! Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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! Report
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. Report
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! Report
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! Report
Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.