If you’ve ever experienced a group fitness class, you understand the power of overcoming hurdles—especially in health goals—together. We’re more motivated; we push ourselves further, and we’re more inclined to, honestly, show up. This is why, at the YMCA, we pick instructors that encourage this sense of belonging so that classes are enriching, not intimidating.
Whether you’re sweating it out at boot camp or dancing your stress away in Zumba, we’ve put together a few tips that our group exercise instructors want you to know—even if it’s your very first day.
1. It’s your workout.
“I want you to know that I care about you getting the best out of your workouts, and your safety is at the top of my list. And, we should be having some fun!” –Wynedka Palmer (SPRINT, CXWORX, BODYPUMP)
"This is your class. We want you to do only what you can do today—not what you could do when you were 16, 26, 36, 46, etc. [We want] what you can do today, at this very moment. Just enjoy the workout." –Mickie Cooper (Cycling, Circuit Training Gold, H2O Circuit, Stretch)
2. Your routine doesn’t have to be stale.
“You should try different classes! You might find a class that you thought was too hard (or even too easy) and realize it's a perfect fit for you!” – Wendy Allen (Cycling, Barre Above)
“Come try any class that interests you. Don’t worry about staying a full 45-60 minutes or not being able to do all of the exercises because there are modifications for everything. It is our job to coach you through difficult spots, and the coaching is why we love to teach! Go to a class, and try it for 20 minutes; see what you can accomplish. Most folks are stronger than they believe.” –Mary Evelyn Henderson (Boot Camp, Family Yoga)
3. Group exercise is a team effort.
“We are here for you, and you are here for us. We push each other, and we get to our goals together.” –Suzel M. Bonome-Shields (BODYPUMP)
“Our mission is to serve our members with multi-level workouts that meet everyone’s needs. The fun camaraderie from our diverse groups brings our class together under [the instructor’s] leadership, and we are blessed and honored for each hour of time our members give us to work on improving their health. [Our classes] are our community, and we love seeing members improve while feeling the 'group love.’” –Audrea Webb (Cycle/Barre Fusion, Cycling, Basic Step/Interval Fusion, Abs Express, Plates & Weights)
4. You have to start somewhere.
We know it can seem scary; we know you may not feel ready… but believe us, we started just like you. Everyone started just like you! We will tailor the exercises for you to make sure you are safe, having fun and feeling the burn—and we’ll make you come back for more!” –Mariann Karatsonyi (Boot Camp)
“First of all, we thrive on your energy, in the same way you get pumped up from our energy! And, secondly, being committed to a workout and healthy habits are not easy for any of us. Instructors are regular people too with the same struggles.” –Valerie Fowler (Plates & Weights, Circuit Training, Cycling, Total Strength/Core Fusion)
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5. It’s more than a class.
“Group fitness is so much more than just exercising. The energy, motivation and friendships that come out of group exercise classes last longer than the 30-60 minutes you actually attend the class.” –Barry Septer (GRIT Series)