If you were like me a couple of years ago, you know that joining a club or taking a group fitness class is exactly what you should be doing, but you just keep deciding that you will finally check it out and get on top of that …tomorrow.
Well, friend, today was tomorrow’s yesterday. It’s time for you to act on that good intention.
I want to share with you the exciting things I learned in group fitness classes.
For me, it took a little bravery to go into a new class for the first time when I didn’t know a soul—or what I was in for.
It took effort to figure out what time a class met, where it met, how to get all the gear together, and what the appropriate attire was. It felt overwhelming.
But, I’m so glad I did.
I forgot a water bottle a couple of times and found out that one shouldn’t wear wide legged shorts to class (don’t ask), but those weren’t the important lessons. The more meaningful ones were surprising, and now I am addicted in the best sort of way.
Lesson #1: Exercise=A Better Mood
If exercising itself is correlated with happiness, exercising with lots of other people makes one exponentially happier.
It’s true. I’m happiest on days when I am sweating with the 60 to 100 other people that gather in the gym in the early morning hours. We cheer each other on and a true sense of community develops. Who doesn’t feel good about that?
Lesson #2: Finding The Right Instructor Matters
I’m lucky, I know, because Chris Freytag is the fitness instructor for my group fitness classes and she is really, really good at her job.
There are plenty of great classes out there, though! It just takes a little effort to find out who will inspire you to show up week in and week out. It may take a few attempts to find out who you click with, but it’s worth it. There is someone out there who will make you want to put in the time and effort—find them.
Lesson #3: People Are Inspiring
In the gym—where we meet to burn calories and frustration, meet goals, and have fun—there are all different sorts of people. Different body types, backgrounds, ages (20s to 70s!) and abilities.
They all inspire me.
They do what they can, they push themselves as best as their bodies can handle, and it’s amazing what I witness. Every person (in their own unique way) has made my day at some point, whether it’s the 68-year-old running a lap or the pregnant beauty who shows up as often as she can.
Lesson #4: No One Is Watching
I was sort of worried that I would look like a fool and step the wrong way, fall over, and maybe even accidentally punch someone in the face (accidentally, mind you). But even though my mind could make up nightmarish scenarios in which I look like an idiot all day long, I noticed pretty quickly that no one is watching me at all. As a matter of fact, I’m not watching anyone either. I’m just working out and trying to do better and get it right each time. So, the pressure is off. Hallelujah.
Lesson #5: Push-Ups!
I’ve also learned I can do a push-up! I can even do several push-ups!
This amazes me. Maybe you are really good at push-ups already, but I didn’t think I could do one…much less many. I wouldn’t call them fun, but I sure am proud of myself.
Now, I think…what else can I do?
Lesson #6: Yes, I can!
Along with push-ups, I’ve learned that a positive attitude about what I am able to do goes a long way. Being in a group fitness class has taught me that I usually can do more than I thought I could. And if that doesn’t translate to the rest of my life, I don’t know what will.
This is powerful stuff, this can-do attitude. Watch out—you just might get out of your own way and surprise yourself with what you can do.
Lesson #7: Exercise Isn’t As Hard As…LIFE
It feels hard, but working out is actually the easy part of a day. It’s just one foot in front of the other or one rep and then another. It isn’t solving world hunger or how you are going to get your kids to stop yelling at each other and do their homework.
Getting a hard workout in somehow helps me believe that I can work on the other tough stuff in my life. It gives me the stamina to do hard things, push through, and make stuff happen.
Stamina and a can-do attitude are a wicked combination.
Lesson #8: I’m Glad When It’s Done
I’m not so much glad that it’s over (although that is nice, too). Mostly, I’m just glad I did it.
I’ve never left a class wishing I hadn’t gone, no matter how hard the workout was. I feel good about myself and I feel good about what I accomplished. Since I workout mostly at the crack of dawn, I consider this a pretty awesome way to start my day.
I wouldn’t have worked so hard if I were by myself. There is inspiration and power in togetherness. Who knew I would learn these things while sweating with new friends?
What are you waiting for?