Have you ever taken a class at your gym that left you feeling like poop? I’m not talking about muscle fatigue or being winded, either. I’m talking about feeling emotionally lousy.
I took a class once with a horrible group-exercise instructor who you know wasn’t in it for the right reasons. Her comments were often vanity-centered (I do live in L.A.). She chose favorites and ignored those in the class who had more trouble with certain exercises and needed modifications. She didn’t care about those who were obviously new and in need of some help with form. Needless to say, there were a lot of women who left class feeling discouraged and foolish—including me!
Although that whole no group-exercise-motivation experience left a bad taste in the mouth, on a whim, I decided to try a Spin class out at my local gym. I sat down on my bike and prepared myself for the same physical and emotional tolls I’d felt in the past. The group-exercise instructor told us to start spinning—and that’s when I felt it. “It” being this different energy floating around the room that I had never felt before. Could it be that people were smiling? That they were helping each other out? Did I smell encouragement in the room?!
I looked at the instructor, waiting for him to shoot looks at the grinners for actually enjoying their workout, but he was smiling and making sure everyone in the class was doing okay. He was giving the class equal treatment, looking for those who could use some guidance or a pep talk. YES! The moment I realized the fella had my back was the moment I started to enjoy my first class this year. Sad, I know. It’s late August. I found myself worrying less about my form and my heart rate. I knew he’d tell me if I needed to refrain from doing any kind of move that could harm me or the people around me. (I do have long limbs, after all.) Free from worry, I peddled harder and allowed myself to get lost in Spin’s awesomeness.
I rocked that 45-minute class, and I did it with a smile on my face. I felt I just needed to know that everyone, no matter how fit or unfit they happened to be, was given equal care. It takes gumption to break out of your comfort zone and sweat your brains out with other folks, so group-exercise motivation is needed! And knowing from the get-go that a group-exercise instructor’s help is unlimited—rather than preferential—is totally motivating. I now take my fit bottom to classes that empower all folks to give it their best shot.
Are you a flower child in the gym? Do you need love and attention in order to grow those muscles, or are you more of the cactus type with little-to-no maintenance required? —Tish