Tips for Finding Your Way in Group Fitness

Tips for Finding Your Way in Group Fitness

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Today is a Move It Monday guest post from Jillian at Jillian is a fellow Sweat Pink member and ROCKSTAR. She’s currently doing post-doctoral research in bioengineering, as well as teaching group fitness classes and helping others as a Beachbody coach. We found out that our doctoral thesis topics were actually pretty relatable – another reason why I love the blog world so much! Never knwo who you might ‘meet’!

Take it away, Jillian!

Tips for “finding your way” in group fitness

As a group fitness instructor, I clearly think group fitness is amazing, but sometimes it can be intimidating too. I get that. So, I put together some tips to help you out – from attending your first class to setting yourself a group fitness schedule, it’s all right here.

Choose a group fitness class

If you are a member at a gym, check the group exercise schedule to see if there is a class that fits your schedule. If not, check with local boutique gyms – yoga & pilates studios, spin studios, barre ballet, etc. If you’re a runner and you have no trouble incorporating high cardio workouts into your schedule, consider taking a strength training class. Les Mills Bodypump is a great strength training class and tends to be offered at a lot of gyms world-wide (you ca find a class here). Another great strength training class is PiYo Strength, developed by fitness guru Chalene Johnson. While not offered too many places, if you can find a club near you that offers it, you should definitely try it out (you can find a class here)! It combines tools from both Pilates and Yoga and sneaks in some strength training too – you’ll get your fill of pushups! If you’re looking to satisfy the cardio-junkie in you, there are likely a lot more choices. You can choose from boot camp classes, zumba, spinning, step aerobics, kickboxing, rowing – the list doesn’t end! A lot of gyms will also offer hybrid classes that will mix cardio and strength training into one class. Below is a list of the types of classes you might come across when searching. This list is by no means complete, but most gyms will provide descriptions of their classes on their website, and if not – just call!

Cardio classes

  • Step Aerobics
  • Dance (Zumba, Hip Hop Hustle, etc.)
  • Spinning
  • Kickboxing (TurboKick, Body Combat, etc)
  • Rowing
  • Bootcamp/Conditioning (Grit, etc)
  • HIIT (Insanity, etc)
  • Water aerobics

Strength classes

  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Weightlifting (P90x, Bodypump, etc)
  • Core
  • TRX
  • “Toning”/”Sculpting”
  • Barre
  • Kettlebell


Prepare for your first group fitness class

Once you’ve made a decision as to which group fitness class to attend, you want to make sure you show up prepared! In general, you’ll probably want to bring a water bottle and a towel no matter what class you’re attending, but you probably also want to know what to expect.

  • If the class you’ve chosen is a branded class, check out some videos on YouTube so that you can get a feel for how the class is going to go.
  • Ask around – other members at the gym, friends who might have been to the class before, anyone! It’s always great to hear firsthand what the class is like.
  • Find out what to wear. You want to make sure you have the proper footwear before attending a class. Also, for some strength training classes, you might want to wear gloves.

Attend your first group fitness class

You’ve pick a class and you’re all set to go – it’s time to get your sweat on!

  • Show up early. If you can, introduce yourself to the instructor ahead of time and let him/her know that you’re new. This way, the instructor knows to help you setup and make sure you’re getting through the class okay.
  • Stand where you can see the instructor. You know that old saying – if I you can’t see me, I can’t see you. It’s true. Stand where you can see the instructor so you can watch for cues and directions. On the flip side, the instructor can see you and help with form and technique.


Set yourself a schedule. Try to fit 3-4 cardio-based classes and 2-3 resistance training classes into your schedule – an hour boot camp class can count for both! Also, try to make friends in your classes. You’re going to be much less likely to skip the gym if you think there someone who is going to notice if you’re not there. Plus, it’s way more fun working out with friends!

Have you ever done group fitness classes? What do you think of them? What is your favorite?

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