Have you ever dragged yourself to a fitness class and felt like everyone else was performing better than you? Maybe you saw a super fit gal and tried to mimick her energy in hopes of getting equal results. Or maybe you saw an older woman totally rocking every move and you decided to push through exhaustion just to keep up with her. It can be so easy to hate the gym when working out in private isn't an option. I totally feel ya. For me, I remember always being the last person picked in gym class back in school, and I was always the second to last runner when it came time to do laps around the track (the last person, mind you, was whoever was sick that week and opting for a walk).
And fitness classes didn't make it that much easier. Dance-like routines were not so bad for me as I could pick up the steps alright, but it was really the energy level I lacked to keep up with pace.
In any case, let's not let fitness coordination, competition, or feelings of embarrassment for your fitness level get in your way of making your own progress. Here are 3 things you can do to get the most out of your workout and leave everyone else in the dust.
1) Find a fitness class you like. No, seriously.
Okay, so this might sound super obvious, but part of the reason why people avoid the gym is because they don't want to work out in front of other people. And it really sucks to feel frustrated when there are other classes you can take that you feel more comfortable in. So it's in your best interest to pick exercises that you actually enjoy doing and don't feel awkward about.
I used to work in a ballroom dancing studio and was surprised when a new student said, "That's where we're going to dance? Like...right there?". He was pointing to the dance floor in the studio. So, I took him to a private room typically used for group lessons and taught him, there. There's no need for you to feel uncomfortable with learning something fresh, just because of your environment.
So if you don't want to flail your arms around and bump into people doing zumba, maybe try something different like pilates which doesn't take as much mental gusto.
2) Do at home workouts with online apps, free videos, and DVDs
I love this option for many reasons! First off, you don't have to worry about flailing and sweating in front of strangers (who are sweating and flailing prettier). And having that freedom to focus on the moves and on how you feel will take attention away from your performance level. It'll also keep you from pushing yourself too hard, which could actually derail your weight loss progress instead of improve them.
One of the biggest reasons people say they haven't lost weight is because they don't have enough time. When you're working out from home, you don't have to worry about arranging your schedule to accommodate a set group class time at the gym. You can workout at whatever time suits you.
Plus, you don't have to worry about spending extra time commuting to the gym (which could easily add another hour you'd have to fit into your busy schedule). And my favorite reason is that you can pick how long you want to workout. For me, 45 minutes of focused, quality exercise trumps going to a group class for an hour+.
Another reason why at home workouts are great is because of the price. Instead of paying for group sessions at your local gym, you can find online memberships for workout videos that will send you new workouts throughout the month, for a fraction of the price.
Personally, I'm a fan of the Tracy Anderson Method and she does live streaming where you get new workouts every week. Another great option is the Cody App which is perfect for at-home workouts, and they have a variety of classes you can take from yoga to ballet to more intense workouts. And hey, do a simple YouTube search and you can find a ton of free workouts people post for your viewing (and sweating) pleasure.
[Tweet "At-home workouts will save you time, money, embarrassment, and sanity."]
3) Take the fitness class anyways, but focus on your body
This one might also sound obvious, but that doesn't mean you're doing it. I remember when I started doing yoga - actually, for the first few years of doing yoga - I always felt like I had to do all of the intense poses even though my body wasn't ready for it. The whole point of yoga is to develop your own mind body connection, which you can't do if you're overdoing and straining yourself. And the same goes for any kind of exercise - your own progress is going to come from exercising in a way that feels right to you, that's slightly challenging in a feels-so-bad-but-so-good kind of way, and that is something that you want to continue.
Before you know it, you'll get better and better and be the one making everyone else look like flailing monkeys.
4) Even if you hate the gym, only go to group classes where you feel encouraged by community
For me, this means going to classes like yoga. There's something about having a live instructor, the smells of essential oils, and hearing other people breathing in sync that makes me feel like I get a ton more out of the workout than if I was to do it at home.
For you, maybe that group class is something like spinning. Maybe you feel like you're riding a tricycle on a Spring day at the fair when you're at home, but when you're in that dark room with the pumped-up music vibrating through your body, your performance totally changes.
These are the kinds of classes where community can really make a difference, (and no one is wondering how you're doing)
So what are some ways for you to add exercise into your life in a way that feels good and meaningful? Leave a comment!