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How to overcome your fear of group exercise.

I remember the first time I walked into a gym. I beelined straight for the treadmill because that had the least risk of making me look like a complete tool. The cardio area was where I hid for the next twelve months with my ear plugs in, avoiding eye contact with everyone around me especially the big, bad, scary trainers. Sound familiar??

Well you're not alone.

So many people I've worked with throughout the last six years of being a PT have expressed the same level of fear or anxiety around hitting the gym especially when it comes to the idea of group classes. Why?? Well here are some of the biggest worries I've been told by clients...

a) People will be fitter than you and you won't be able to keep up

b) Everyone will surely be looking at you and judging your every move

c) You don't know what you're in for

d) The chance of tripping over or making a fool of yourself is way higher than it is if you're sitting alone on the stationary bike.

These are all very normal (and common!) concerns when stepping out of your comfort zone but the good news is that there are strategies to manage this kind of anxiety.

Group fitness isn't for everyone but if you want to up the anti and get fitter and stronger then it is something to think about. Personal Training can be an expensive option and even though one on one training is a good way to start out when building confidence and basic fitness and strength, group fitness classes are a more cost effective way to increase the intensity of your workouts and maybe even make some new friends along the way. Crazy, I know!

I'm not going to cure you from nerves or apprehension but if you can get your butt to that first class, you might realise that group exercise doe not equal death so here's some comforting thoughts to help put your mind at ease...

1. Everyone else has felt or is feeling the same way you are right now! When you're wondering if everyone is looking at you, there is at least one other person in the room thinking the same thing. Everyone started at some point with the same worries and angst that you're feeling right now so even though the other people in the class may look confident, it's probably from months or even years of practice. You'll be at that point before you know it!

2. Choose something you (might) enjoy. If you enjoy cycling on the weekends then Spin might be a great class to start with or if dancing is right up your ally, Zumba is just the thing for you! Start with something you feel semi comfortable with and eventually you can branch out and try something different once you've built up your confidence.

3. Ask questions before you start. Talk to the trainer and find out what the class involves. Get an idea of what you're in for so your brain can prepare itself. Don't be afraid to ask! Find out which classes are best suited to a first-timer. The people at reception should be able to answer those questions for you before you even step foot in the gym.

4. Tell the trainer it's your first time. As trainers we can be mean sometimes but I promise it's all out of love 😜 Let the trainer know it's your first group class and that you're a bit nervous because it's good for us to be aware of that too. If you're been going to the gym for a while and you've built a rapport with one of the trainers, find out which classes they take and jump onboard one of those. There's something comforting about already having a relationship with the trainer and they will help you to feel more relaxed.

5. Feel the fear and do it anyway!! You will be nervous come crunch time and there's nothing I can say in this article that will take that away completely but feel the fear and do it anyway!!! Like anything new, you won't know until you try and the worst case scenario is that you won't like it and you won't go back. There's nothing wrong with that.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary but overcoming a fear is one of the best feelings in the world!! Maybe group exercise isn't for you and that's totally fine but as someone who owns a fitness business and still pays for a gym membership, I can tell you that walking into the gym and having someone else tell you what to do when you have a zillion other decisions to make in a day, can be the 'easiest' way to get a good, solid workout without having to motivate yourself to do so. All you have to do is show up and the rest is taken care of! If only that applied to everything in our lives!

So go on, I dare you to try a group class to see how you like it!! What have you got to lose (except a few kilos, right😜)?

Here's to a happy and healthy you,

Alyssa x x

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