As you may recall, I recently tried a new yoga studio and then did a little review on the blog. Well yesterday, I went to my very first group fitness class at my new gym. I wasn’t sure at first if I should write a review, mostly out of my own insecurities. I was like, “well what do I know??” and “who’s going to care what I have to say??” or worse “what if I get a ton of hate comments about a review??” But then I sat up and I said, Hey Christina, you were a group fitness instructor for 6 years, a personal trainer for 4, you have a degree in health science, and if were worried about getting hate comments, why are you writing a blog?? As with EVERY review I do, I only do it in a spirit of constructive feedback. If I absolutely hate a place or class, I just wouldn’t mention it on the blog. I try to write reviews on the blog that I feel like will be legitimately helpful to consumers and to the “management” (of the gym, race, studio… whatever). Ok… here we go!
I am absolutely loving working with my trainer… even though he absolutely annihilated my legs in our first session! However, a great group fitness class is still one of my favorite things. I was a regular group fitness junkie during my college years. I usually taught 5 times a week, so basically group fitness was my life. I don’t do it with the same frequency anymore, but I do love to try new classes! This morning I tried the 6 am Boot Camp class at Fitness First Arlington. On top of Fitness First being ridiculously affordable… group fitness classes are all included! Sweet. They are really popular though (have tried twice to get into a spinning class… no cigar). Luckily, the 6 am start time made it not too crowded 🙂
So I walked into the room and noticed the instructor was busy getting her music set up. I know how that was when I was an instructor (I liked a little time to get set up before answering questions or saying hello) so I didn’t want to bother her. I was also feeling a little shy and nervous so clearly I picked a spot in the back. There weren’t too many others in the room but I noticed the guy next to me had a mat. I didn’t know what I needed so I just went into the back and grabbed one. Well other people started coming in and saw us with mats and starting getting them too. Then the instructor turned around and looked kinda confused and said “Oh, you guys don’t need mats” hahaha and then I died a little inside. Clearly this wasn’t a big deal to anyone but me, but I was super embarrassed that I helped start this erroneous mat trend. I was like, damn I better bring it in this class to make up for this.
I thought the instructor was great, but I was hoping she would ask if anyone was new. I know I should’ve just gone up and told her I was new, but I was being shy and silly. I ended up being able to manage just fine, but I was confused about what equipment I needed (turns out in this class you do the warm up and THEN get your equipment). I totally understand that it was 6 am and no one was particularly chatty, but standing in the room before class started was a little awkward. Once things got going, the attitude definitely changed though… phew!
Class started with a warm up to get our hearts pumping, which I definitely appreciated! With a 6 am start time, I definitely rolled in at 5:53 am. Not a lot of of time to do my own warm up. The warm up was done to aerobics music which was a fun throw back for me. I was pleased to see I could still keep a 32 count in my head! The class broke down into 30 seconds strength, 1 minute cardio, repeat 2X for each muscle group. I wrote a post awhile back about a bootcamp style class I was going to at my old gym, but this is definitely my favorite way to do strength training. I liked the repetition of exercises because it made me feel much more fatigued. Since each strength move focused on one part of the body, I felt like I could really work that part to exhaustion. (My old class was somewhat all over the place, you never knew what was coming next so it was hard to judge if you should blow it up on a move or leave a little in the tank for later).
The 45 minute class FLEW by and I really appreciated how the instructor worked her way around the room checking form instead of doing her own workout the whole time. It was helpful (and much safer!). I was dripping sweat and definitely breathing heavy at the end of each circuit… got a really good workout! This morning I was even a little sore in my chest (from doing “negative push ups“… I did one round full push ups and then switched to negatives which were actually REALLY hard) and my calves from all the plyometrics we did. I definitely needed heavier weights for a couple of the moves… that was my fault though. I always get nervous committing to higher weights. I need to just man up and go for it!
Questions for you guys:
– What do you look for in a group fitness instructor?? – I know I want a tough workout but someone who won’t call me out in front of the whole class. That’s my biggest pet peeve! I was super glad this girl didn’t do that. She came around and made a quiet comment to me about my form, which was helpful and I appreciated!
– Have you ever done bootcamp before? What did you think? Do you incorporate this style into your on-you-own workouts?