Experience Life senior fitness editor Maggie Fazeli Fard, RKC, MFT-1, prefaces her advice by pointing out a basic workout principle: “Remember, it’s your responsibility to keep yourself safe while you’re exercising.” With that in mind, here’s what she recommends:
- Start with a few small-group classes to familiarize yourself with the format and style of the group approach.
- As you “shop” for larger group classes, be on the lookout for an instructor who’s good at both motivating and demonstrating — somebody who is capable of ramping up your enthusiasm but also able and willing to patiently show the class how the moves are meant to be done.
- Before joining the larger class, make sure you understand your strengths and limitations, because the instructor won’t be able to give you highly personalized attention.
- When you join the larger class, make sure you let the teacher know that you’re new to the group.
- At the same time, inform the instructor that you’re open to any tips or modifications that make the exercises work better and more safely for you. (This is also a good time to disclose whether or not you are open to physical contact.)
- If you find a move difficult, remember that you don’t have to keep up with other people in the class. It’s OK to slow down and modify the routine to suit yourself.
And remember: If you need one-on-one instruction, sign up with a personal trainer.
This originally appeared as “I want to try one of my gym’s large group fitness classes. How can I keep myself from getting injured?” in the November 2019 issue of Experience Life.