An Orientation for Group Fitness Classes

It’s too hard!

I can’t keep up!

It’s an intimidating environment!

Do these descriptions of a group fitness class sound like something you’ve heard from others or that you’ve verbalized?  These are common reasons why people tell me they’ve never tried a class before.  Group fitness is second nature to me and it’s my absolute favorite form of exercise.


People who take group fitness regularly may take advantage of the comfort they find in attending classes week to week.  For some people, it is an ordeal that requires massive mental preparation sometimes resulting in complete let downs after attempting a class.

When I started this blog, I just started talking about Group fitness, because…well, I just love it.  It occurred to me while reading through your comments and browsing the interwebs, that a little orientation to group fitness might be welcomed and appreciated to readers as it is one of the most common forms of exercising for weight loss.

Group Fitness 101





  • Wear comfortable shoes (a cross trainer is probably the best if you take multiple classes) If you follow me on Instagram here, you’ll see my favorite shoe is the Nike Free 3.0, it’s actually a runner but it’s so light weight and I love it.
  • Wear a supportive bra & comfy underwear ( I go commando, but that’s what works for me)
  • Try not to wear clothes that are too tight or revealing, anything that will cause you to keep adjusting (i.e. pulling a shirt down so your crack doesn’t show from behind, or pulling your pants up, etc.. This takes away from your focus)






  • Drink water 15 minutes before class
  • Try to make a run to restroom right before so you don ‘t have to leave out in the middle of class (no worries if you do though)
  • Try to arrive a few minutes early & introduce yourself to the instructor if it’s your first time & to ask any questions
  • For best hygiene purposes, purchase your own exercise mat for stuff like abs and or flexibility classes
  • Bring your own towel and water bottle
  • If you are pregnant or have any form of ailment, get your doctor’s approval before participating.
  • Set up/Stand next to a fitness buddy or someone who works out at the same pace as you
  • Give yourself & the instructor enough personal space and try not to stand directly in front or behind someone (make windows when space permits)
  • Try not to eat gassy foods prior to class, people do understand your passing of gas but it just makes you uncomfortable and the rest of the class.fart-air


  • Start with only a part of the class.  The most recent research as provided to me as a Les Mills instructor is to transition members into the program over 6 weeks. So you would start with 20 minutes and then add a track (song) each week over 6 weeks so you won’t feel defeated at the end.
  • If you are late and the class is already smoking, try to ease into the workout
  • Try to keep the noise to a minimum.  It’s ok to enjoy a few words between tracks with your friends, just don’t overshadow the instructor’s voice.


  • Use controlled movements (no jerky motions)
  • If you need a role model other than the instructor, try to move in the peripheral view of a seasoned participant so you can emulate them…(sometimes it’s hard to follow the mirror image of the instructor)
  • If you are short on time, try to make clean and quiet late intros and early dismals
  • Try not to go into auto zone (meaning daydreaming & not focusing on your form)


  • Listen to safety cues in all classes & note the purpose for the move (know that it’s fun but maximize workout by keeping good form & being safe)
  • If the impact is too high, take the lower option, if they haven’t shown you one, march in place.  If you need to stop, then do so, grab water and come back
  • Stay in your lane, don’t worry about the girl jumping 5 feet in the air, do whatever level of the workout you can do
  • Stay for the cool down to lengthen your muscles out and to make sure you don’t get sore. If you have to leave early, stop the class 5 minutes before your desired departure and step out of the room and do your own cool down.

Dance Dance Dance


  • Tell the instructor thank you or what you liked about the class
  • Get all your questions answered and ask for personalized demos on anything that was tricky for you
  • Bring a clean top and bra to put on after class to avoid getting sick going out in wet clothing


I hope you found this helpful.  Most important to remember is that ALL are welcome!  If for some reason, you don’t feel welcome in a class, address the reason with the instructor. If it doesn’t get better, find a gym that will cater to you.  All members deserve to feel important, appreciated, & cared for with good instruction and safety cues.

Have fun at your next group fitness class & make some noise.   It makes a difference!!!

Yours in Healthy, Active, & Prosperous Lifestyles,

Rx Fitness Lady wants to know…

  • What other tips do you have for a newbie?
  • What do you like most about group fitness?
  • What do you think of going commando at the gym?
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Rx Fitness Lady

Greetings, I'm Joi, a Pharmacist with a passion for fitness & a community leader. I teach BODYCOMBAT, BODYPUMP, Tabata Boot Camp, & serve as a mentor to young girls. My goal is to inspire people to live healthy, active, & prosperous lifestyles through practical blog posts deliveries. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram. You can view more post and subscribe to stay tuned to latest updates at Rx Fitness Lady.

60 thoughts on “An Orientation for Group Fitness Classes

  1. These are so great! I don’t often go to the gym with folks but I thought that it was too cute that you guys matched! I love group fitness, I used to feel the exact way you described at the beginning–I just didn’t think I could keep up and now its my primary form of exercise 🙂 I giggle SO hard at the someone soiled the air graphic. I must pin that!
    Nellie recently posted…Weekly Wednesday Workout: Lying Leg RaisesMy Profile

    • It was funny to both of us because purple is not either of our program colors. She just happened to teach in purple that day & I just happen to have it on! We are all guilty probably of soiling the air, lol!

  2. These are great tips. I think joining a class gives you a sense that you are not alone and that you have a support group. I joined a class a few years ago and I have gained 2 friends from the class itself. I say join a fun class so you won’t bore easily I joined a dance class and we had a blast.
    Kita recently posted…Pinterest Pin it WednesdayMy Profile

    • Yes Kita, I’ve made some awesome friends through group fitness! You connect on a level like no other.

  3. I absolutely LOVE going to the classes! I think it’s better than just going to the gym trying to figure out how to get a good workout on the equipment. The workouts are routined and they are already tested to give you the best results. I also love that they have different options based on your fitness levels. I’ve done them all at least once except for the Les Mills Flow and Vive classes.
    Britton recently posted…Only the Strong Survive….Right?My Profile

    • Yes, Yes, Yes! Who wants to be trying to figure out stuff on the floor when you can have internationally tested workouts that hit peak points at the right time, are safe, & fun! I don’t do Bodyvive either girl!

  4. *LIKE* !!!!!!!!!! As usual, I think you got it ALL COVERED!! Great tips and motivation! See ya at the gym:)

  5. These are definitely good group fitness tips! I especially like the two about bringing your own mat and not keeping up with the girl jumping 5 ft in the air…lol! I’ve had skin reactions to mats that haven’t been cleaned properly (YUCK). I also do better in classes than on my own.
    Sherelle recently posted…Winter Protective Styling Part 3: Wiggin OutMy Profile

    • Thank you for pointing that out Sherelle! Alternatively, I should have mentioned bringing clorox wipes to clean mats that are provided by the facility if you don’t want to purchase one or carry it back and forth.

    • You’re most welcome Hope! Don’t be embarrassed, we all understand that everyone has a different fitness level. Props to you for attending!

  6. Hey Joi! I am definitely one of those people who NEEDS group fitness. I have a closet full of exercise do-dads that I’ve used for about two weeks tops, then throw into the closet…ikr! I.definitely.need.motivation.and.accountability! Thank God for a high metabolism! I’ll be 45 this Spring and am pretty much the same size as high school/college, BUT if I want to stay that way AND maintain a healthy life, I know I must start an exercise regime ASAP! Thanks for the motivation Joi…have a wonderful evening lady!!
    Michell recently posted…"Doing YOU WELL Wednesday" #7My Profile

    • What a blessing Michell! If you are going to start it up and stick with it, Group fitness is an awesome transition and easy to jump into.

  7. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog via DYWW. I subscribed to receive your emails, so I can stay motivated to work out! 🙂 To be honest, I have gotten really good about working out every day…it’s the eating out that I can’t seem to kick. {Don’t judge, please! LOL!} This post offers some really useful tips, thanks for taking the time to help us all out. Your sincerity to help others really is evident.


    • Thx for subscribing Meredith! No judgement zone over here my Lady! I treasure my fellowship opportunities eating out on my off week because I don’t get to see people often during my 7 day work marathon. I try to choose healthier places. Thanks for visiting.

  8. I love this post. Thank you for sharing. I like to workout doors. Last week I attended a body boot camp class at Spectrum Athletic Club, it absolutely killed me. I felt every bit of my age and needed to read your post. The only I completed the class was, I do not like starting things and not finishing them and I knew I had to do a blog post. The biggest mistake I make when I workout is I cannot drink water before my workout, or I will never finish. Love the tips.
    Keiunta Dixon recently posted…Noizy Bandz $1 dollar off each plus free shipping-Coupon CodeMy Profile

    • You’re welcome Brandi! Group fitness is a great way to get and gear and hold yourself accountable. I do hope you will give it a try!

    • YESSS! That’s the thing! We all are more likely to give in and slow down or just get off the machine when we’re not feeling it. Not in a group fitness class, though! That is the number 1 reason why I Love Love Love it! Thx for that comment Toya.

    • ROTFL!!! You may not want to know, but somebody out there is dying from stuff riding up there tail and being uncomfortable at the gym. I’ve got the solution!!!

  9. I LOVE this! I think a lot of people don’t always know the “how” to start or what to knows before group classes. I use to LOVE Body Pump and kick boxing classes at my old gym! 🙂
    M. Love recently posted…CORE FoodsMy Profile

  10. That was good advice. It is comforting to know that you don’t have to complete the whole class at one time, you can ease your way into it by doing increments of 20 minutes or so. I am definitely going to try to come to more group fitness classes on my mornings off. Thanks for the boost of confidence!

    • Good that you stopped by for this one. You know I want everyone to feel comfortable coming to class and operating in their own comfort zone. I hope to see you in class today 🙂

  11. Hi Joi, Great post! I too am a great fan of attending and teaching group exercise classes. Hopefully by the end of reading this post any newbies will be properly attired, not feel nervous and enjoy the experience ready to return for more.

    Fitnessbuster Supporting you in getting your fitness and nutrition back on track
    Gillian Stephen (@Gillian_Stephen) recently posted…Focus on Health on Women’s International DayMy Profile

  12. Great tips Joi!! I only go to one group class because as you know from our discussions before, I think they can be intimidating. I especially have a hard time with classes like Zumba where there are danc-ey moves involved. I’m just not that coordinated and I feel uncomfortable. But I love my boot camp and for some reason even if I have a hard time with something there I feel like I can master it most of the time. And I love Nike Frees too…those are usually one of the two shoes I alternate when I run (which is my form of exercise most of the time)!
    Michelle recently posted…Remember When: Ladies Only Blog Share Link PartyMy Profile

    • Yes, I understand Michelle. I feel the same way in a dance class but I’ve been letting my hair hang here lately. I’m glad you have something you like.

  13. Wow! I can tell you are an expert in this area. I feel like I am in reasonable shape but yes, group classes have always overwhelmed and intimidated me. I feel like I can’t keep up and will look silly. These are great tips! Happy SITS day!
    Kate recently posted…Everything is Gonna Be AlrightMy Profile

    • Thank you Kate! The key is to just keep coming back and it all becomes routine. Thanks for stopping by.


    • It was really fun to have all of you over Christine! I LOVE teaching and taking others classes as well. Thanks for visiting.


  14. Wow great article! You also have tips before, during and after the class. I so love it! I am now thinking of joining a fitness class too.

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