An Awkward Start

You better believe I’m taking full advantage of BodyPump classes while I’m in Jacksonville. My parents’ gym had a lunchtime BodyPump class on the schedule today, so I worked at home through the morning before heading out for a mid-day break to work up a sweat.

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After I set up my little station, I sipped on water as I waited for the class to begin. The instructor asked whether or not anyone was new to BodyPump and one woman timidly raised her hand. I expected the instructor to walk over to the woman and give her an overview of the class to make her feel more comfortable, but she kept her microphone on and asked the woman her name from the front of the room. Once she knew her name, the instructor then said, “Uh oh! Everyone watch out for Caroline! She’s new!”

That was it. She didn’t give Caroline advice or tell her what to expect from her first class. She didn’t tell her what equipment she needed. Nothing! I’m sure the instructor thought she was being playful, but I instantly felt awkward for Caroline and could tell other members of the class felt a little uncomfortable. What if this was Caroline’s first group exercise class ever

Thankfully the woman next to Caroline helped her figure out what weights to grab, so she wasn’t too lost. Still, it was a rather awkward start to the class and I’m just glad Caroline was a trooper. I hope she didn’t feel too singled out!

Lunch

Lunch today was a tuna salad sandwich served on toasted Ezekiel bread with a sliced apple and sugar snap peas.

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Nice and filling.

Question of the Afternoon

  • Have you ever felt really uncomfortable in a group exercise class?

The most uncomfortable I’ve ever felt during a group exercise class was when I took my first hot yoga class at a real yoga studio. Yikes. I was waaay out of my element. I’ve also felt really, really lost during a step aerobics class, but I just laughed at my lack of coordination and kept stepping and tried my best to pretend I knew what I was doing.

Comments

  1. says

    haha wow Julie this it’s funny you posted about this because I did feel a little awkward today….I tried a kick boxing class for the first time ever and everyone around me looked super studly and I was just sooo lost!!! all those jabs and upper cuts…..haha I was just bouncing around the whole time. Luckily no one singled me out…I feel like new people usually just want to go to the back of the class and blend in so that is too bad the instructor treated her like that :( hopefully she was ok and will come back!

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  2. sarah says

    IRS so funny I had that exact thing happen to me in my FIRST EVER pump class I had absolutely noidea what I was meant to get or what weights to use. And thus was with a fitness group I’ve worked with for some time and even though I knew pretty much everyone there I was so embarrassed I’m yet to go again and try it again I am only now tossing up with now going and its been about 4 months haha hopefully I don’t feel so foolish this time around

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    • says

      though i can totally understand why you’d feel silly, in my opinion, it is the instructor that messed up and definitely not you! i would definitely try again (maybe w/ a different instructor?). now that you’ve taken one class you’ll know what to expect. i really do love bodypump and felt like this experience was a fluke. i hope you have a better experience if you decide to take it again!

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  3. says

    Ahh! As a fitness instructor, I cringe hearing stories like that.

    Depending on the gym, some instructors aren’t “allowed’ to actually leave the stage (if on one), but I agree, there are more subtle and helpful ways to bring a new participant into the class. No one likes being singled out in a negative way. How uncomfortable for everyone!!

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  4. says

    One fitness class I went to only ended up having one other person show up, and it was a new class I hadn’t tried before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Luckily the instructor was really sweet and she ended up giving us a more individualized class which rocked!

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  5. says

    I’m with you on the step class. The first time I went I spent most of the time laughing and standing. I kept going though and now I got every Saturday morning, who would have thought?!

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  6. Cheryl says

    I had a rough experience at my first spin class. I had never done it before and I had no idea how high to put the resistance and what to expect. I ended up having placed the resistance too high and was dying after about 10 minutes. The instructor never offered any info or asked if anyone was new–she just started the class. I haven’t spun (is that the right lingo) since!

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  7. Carol T. says

    I have been a member of a local gym for several years and have never taken any group classes…some of the particpants make the new people feel uncomfortable.. I will just stick with the equipment and work at my own pace…

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  8. Christine says

    I have always been scared to death to try a group fitness class. I’m not very athletic, not in very good shape, and very shy. I’ve always wanted to try yoga, though, so last Saturday I bit the bullet and signed up for a beginner’s yoga class. I went early and talked to the instructor to let her know it was my first time and I knew nothing about yoga. She was so nice about it! She showed me around their studio, showed me the props, and assured me I had nothing to worry about. She told me to feel free to ask any questions during class. During class she helped me with some of the poses by walking over to me and moving my arm where it should be. She always smiled and made me feel comfortable. I’m glad that it was a positive experience because now I am looking forward to going back for my second class tonight!

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  9. says

    I did my first bodypump class tonight and was pretty much that girl! I really had to half ass everything as their were no extra instructions and I was stuck in the back. Hoping it’s a little smoother next time :)

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  10. says

    I actually haven’t gone to many classes for this reason! I don’t think of myself as “shy” nor would anyone that knows me but being in a class full of women is some how daunting. What if I can’t do it? Will I look silly? I am too chubby to be in these pants? Lots of self doubt! Then one day I saw this very large woman in Zumba just having fun…I thought she is enjoying this not stressing. That is what a workout class should be like- why am I worried about others!?

    I think this really is something for instructors to help there classes feel confortable! I want to lead group classes (working on that now) and make everyone enjoy working out and making new friends.

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  11. says

    That sucks. I have totally been in group classes at the gym were I spend more time wondering what to do next than working out. I just read you first yoga experience story which I think is pretty common. I learned yoga in collage, so it was a course with the same instructor once a week and everyone starting at the same level, no yoga experience. I have not seeked it out but I wonder if yoga is taught this way any where else because it was a great way to learn the fundamentals.

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  12. says

    You had me feeling bad for Caroline, too! Glad someone was there to help her. I always feel out of place whenever I go to something new. Which is why I prefer to work out on my own. I would love to try Zumba or something like that but I haven’t been able to talk any of my friends into it. Less awkward when you aren’t the only one who is new!

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    • says

      hahah, oh I agree with you, Georgia! I want to go to Zumba classes, but refuse to go on my own (and none of my friends will ever do it with me). It’s reeeeally out of my element…and I teach HIIT group fitness classes for goodness sakes! I have preferred to just avoid the awkwardness that is certain to ensue, but have told myself that I need to try it this year :)

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  13. Christa says

    I took my one and only Zumba class about 3 years ago and I vowed never to go back. My feet werent connected to my brain for that hour, and I just got frustrated with myself and took it out on the instructor. I was literally close to tears! I realized Zumba is NOT my workout of choice, but I’m one of those who when I’m new tends to take up space in the back of the class. My Pilates instructor (she also teaches spin as well), is great about asking every single time if there is someone new in class and then exlpaining what to expect and if we will need any equipment. After the class she also tells us to communicate with her if anything felt off or hurt in anyway as well as giving modifications during the class for those with different fitness levels. I basically love her.

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  14. ct cupcake says

    I teach Pure Barre and we try to introduce new clients to a regular attendee in the class. I have to ask, if you knew Caroline was a new and looked uncomfortable, did you consider saying hi to her and introduce yourself?

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  15. says

    Oye! This is exactly why I’ve been hesitant to take Body Pump. I’m hoping to convince a couple friends of mine to start up with me so that we can look silly together, then I won’t be so worried!

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  16. Lindsey says

    Whenever I teach Zumba I always teach facing the class instead of leaving everyone to stare at my butt. (who wants that anyway, speaking of awkward). If someone is new, struggling with an injury or beginning his/her fitness journey it’s important to modify exercises and provide support so they continue attending and become more confident. What if that person had never worked out before? You could be the key person to help them get into shape!

    The other night I went to a hip hop class at my gym. The instructor asked if anyone was new, I along with a few others raised their hands. She then said “We’re so glad to have you, Welcome!” As great as it is for someone to be friendly and to feel included it’s also important to take a minute to two aside before and after class to give someone a rundown and touch base to see how class went.

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  17. says

    Yum that tuna looks good!

    Oh my god- how rude! Usually as an instructor I’d suss them out before the class starts or just get them to raise their hand, offer them welcomes and give them plenty of tips.

    I hope Caroline returns!

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  18. Molly says

    I am a group fitness instructor and Director of a facility. I would reprimand that instructor so fast she wouldn’t know what hit her! I train mine to speak to every person in the class as they are walking in. I also will not allow them to call anyone out unless they are doing something that is fixing to seriously hurt them. It is so important to “connect” with every person in your class. I have one instructor that stops people after class and teaches them moves that they are struggling with. And guess what? Her numbers are the highest!

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  19. Pita says

    I teach Pump. Not only should the instructor have approached Caroline to make sure she had the appropriate equipment (I turn my mic off when I help new members) we are trained to give weight selections at the beginning of each track for both new people and regulars – to prevent injury!!

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  20. Pita says

    Also just wanted to add, I teach step and some other formats that move fast – those of you who feel embarrassed or silly – dont!! :) these type of formats take several classes to catch on, don’t worry if you are off, it happens anytime someone is new. Trust me the regulars understand, they were there once also! Once you get down a class like step, it can be one of the best workouts you’ve ever had! Stick with it :))

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