1. Gear Up:
Wear apparel that is geared to the activity you are participating in. A moisture-wicking top is always a good choice in any workout class. A few of my favorites are Lucy’s Fitness Fix Tank and Lululemon’s Swiftly Tech Racerback. I can’t wait to try out Just Live’s White Hot Racerback – it looks good with everything and the mesh material is meant to keep your body cool during your workout. For a cycle class, ensure you are wearing tights or bike shorts to minimize chaffing. Cycling shoes with SPD clips are also a great addition to enhance your ride. My favorite brands are Shimano and Bontrager. In circuit classes, wear proper athletic shoes with good support. There is nothing worse than being uncomfortable in class because of your clothing choices. When you are dressed properly for your workout, you will work even harder.
2. Start small:
Listen to your body and ease your way into a challenging workout regimen. Maybe you want to start with just a few classes per week and build up to a daily commitment. Your body might need time to recover in between your workouts. Set an attainable goal that will allow you to feel good about yourself upon completion. Be proud of the effort you put forth and focus on small improvements with each class you take. Remember, doing something is better than nothing, and you have to start somewhere. You get credit just for stepping out of your comfort zone to try something new and challenging yourself.
3. Focus on yourself:
Don’t get too caught up on other people in class. Everyone works out at a different level. It’s good to look to your neighbors for motivation and instruction if you forget the exercise you’re supposed to be doing, but it’s important not to get discouraged by others’ successes. Focus on you. Your workout is all about you. It’s your time to get what you want out of the time you put in. Don’t waste it and don’t stress about it. Working out is meant to be a positive in your life.
4. Track, Track, Track:
Pick a way to hold yourself accountable and be consistent. This could mean tracking your food on an app or website. I’m a huge fan of My Fitness Pal, which is owned by Under Armor. It’s good to pay attention to what you eat and how it affects your workout. You might find that when you eat a lot of carbohydrates, you exhaust yourself more quickly at the studio. Try a banana instead of a bagel before next class. Considerations likes these will help you get to the next level. Track your liquids too. Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. You should be drinking at least half of your body weight in fluid ounces every day. Ready to really pick your workouts up a notch? Track your heart rate. With a heart rate tracking band, like the MIO Fuse, you will be able to visually analyze how hard you are working in class and what it will take for you to get to the next level. One of the coolest features of the Fuse band is the flashing LED colors to represent heart rate zones. I let the warm colors motivate me to push even harder. When I see blue zone, for example, I know I need to pick up my intensity.
5. Seek help:
There is no shame in asking for help during class. Instructors are leading you through the class for that very reason. If you are unsure if you are doing an exercise properly, ask! If you are not feeling the exercise like you believe you should be, ask! If you have an injury that restricts you from certain movements, a good instructor will always offer another option for you.
Take advantage of all the resources available to you so you can take your fitness to the next level in class.