The 5 common problems with exercise classes…and solutions
Joining an exercise class can be a fantastic way to kick-start your fitness regime. There are numerous benefits to be gained from instructor-led group exercise, fuelling the growth of small independent studios and boutique gyms that specialise in such classes. Increasingly people are wanting more from their fitness experience and are no longer content with just going to the gym by themselves.
Naturally there are lots of articles extolling the benefits of exercise classes, from their variety and the fact that everything is planned and delivered by a qualified instructor to the social aspect and sense of camaraderie. However, this article addresses five of the most common problems with exercise classes and the solutions, to help you better understand what to look for when selecting the right class or venue for you.
At CLASS, we acknowledge that exercise classes may not be everyone’s cup of tea but we feel that there are so many advantages to training in a group, we want your exercise experience to be the best it can be, so here we’ve identified the most common fears/problems with exercise classes and how at CLASS, we’ve taken steps to mitigate these problems.
1. I can’t find any exercise classes that are the right level for me
Problem: Finding a class that is at the right level for you is critical if you are going to make this a regular part of your lifestyle. If a class is too easy and you don’t feel challenged, you may feel that you’re gaining little from the experience. Or worse, if you’re out of your depth in a class that’s too advanced its easy to lose confidence.
Solution: At CLASS we are used to working with mixed ability groups as well as having specific “Upper Class” sessions for over 60’s, or people who are new to exercise or have specific health considerations. Our Turn & Burn™ classes allow you to choose how hard you work. We us “rate of perceived exertion” or RPE (basically how hard you feel you’re working) as the level at which you are guided through the cardio, not speed, distance, or Watts. The fully-equipped individual floor stations allow you to select weights that are the right level for you so that your experience is personalised to your ability.
We have chosen five forms of yoga that offset the high intensity nature of Turn & Burn™, and modern everyday life. These tend to be the more gentle/meditative forms of yoga such as Yin, Restorative and Hatha, as opposed more dynamic forms such as Ashtanga or Vinyassa. As such these classes are appropriate for a very wide range of abilities, especially as they are as much about your ability to relax and find space in your mind and body as they are necessarily about the movements themselves.
2. I don’t get enough attention from the instructor
Problem: This is a common problem with exercise classes, especially those that take place a larger gyms with big memberships. As the number of attendees in a class increase the amount of personal attention you’ll get from the instructor diminishes. In a class of 20+ you’ll hardly receive any personal coaching at all, even from the most experienced instructor. This is less of a problem if the exercises are less technical (aerobics/Zumba), but with any exercise that involves resistance equipment, or learning technical skills it’s important that the instructor is able to engage with everyone in their class, providing corrective feedback where necessary.
Solution: We have a maximum class size of 12 at CLASS. This allows our Yoga and Primal Patterns instructors to give everyone lots of individual attention and make any corrections as necessary. Turn & Burn™ is a split-group exercise class, so at any one time there are actually only six people using resistance equipment, while the remainder are using the cardio bikes. This 1:6 ratio is unique in the level of personal attention you can receive while performing the more technical aspect of the class. So while Turn & Burn™ may feel like a busy class it is really only one stage removed from personal training.
3. I can’t find any classes at times that suits me
Problem: Everyone has slightly different times that they want to exercise. You may be a morning person and want to attend a class before work, or the only time to train might be in the evening once the kids are down. One thing’s for sure though, if you can’t find a class that suits your timetable, it’s very unlikely to become a regular part of your lifestyle.
Solution: We are solely a classes studio, so we have tried to create a timetable that suits as many people as possible. We have classes for the early-birds, with Turn & Burn™ or Early Morning Flow yoga starting at 6.45am and 7am respectively. We have timetabled classes that fit around school drop-off and evening classes which start at 7.30pm or 7.45pm for those who need to train later in the day. Our Upper Class sessions tend to be on in the later morning or afternoons as they are aimed more at people who may be retired.
4. I don’t like it when people interrupt the class
Problem: People arriving late to class can disrupt the session, taking away the instructor’s attention while they try and catch-up.
Solution: At CLASS we have a shut-door policy and ask our members to arrive 10mins early for class to avoid this situation from occurring. It’s far better to turn up early, relax in the smoothie bar, than to be charging through the door with seconds to spare. And with plenty of free parking right outside our front door, there’s no excuse for being late!
5. I don’t feel confident enough to join an exercise class
Problem: This is one of the most common barriers to people attending exercise classes. The problem is, until you come and see for yourself you’ll never know. However, one thing is for sure: you won’t be alone!
Solution: We understand that it takes a certain level of confidence to commit to exercise in a room full of strangers. However, we’re certain that when you do, and you start to feel the benefits of regularly attending exercises classes, you’ll wish you had started sooner. In exercise classes no-one’s looking at you, or judging you, they’re too busy focusing on their own training and most likely have the same fears and insecurities as you do. So get out of your own way and get your ass to class!
While many people extol the many virtues of exercise classes, it’s important to address the common pitfalls and downsides to them too, if we are to find the right place for us. Exercise classes can feel very different from one venue to the next. We understand the fears and barriers that you have about starting a fitness regime or and joining an exercise class, and we have tried our best to mitigate these problems because we want your experience to be the best it can possibly be.
See you in class!
If you’ve enjoyed reading this, check out our article on Fitness classes vs gym membership - an honest comparison