Wright: Group exercise class etiquette guidelines
The Fitness Trail
Group exercise class programs, regardless of setting, usually apply accepted etiquette guidelines to permit the classes to flow safely, effectively and to be thoroughly enjoyable. The etiquette guidelines allow the instructor/trainer to conduct the classes in an organized fashion so that each and every participant receives an excellent workout.
When a client is new to group exercise, the staff of the club and the instructors/trainers should take the time to orient them to the class etiquette guidelines of that specific program so that they feel welcome and fit in seamlessly to the group. This week, a few etiquette guidelines will be highlighted. Even if you are a group exercise class veteran, it is worth reviewing these guidelines so that you, and your fellow participants, experience all of the incredible benefits that group exercise has to offer. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Guideline #1:Arrive early. While it depends upon the type of format (i.e. indoor group cycling formats require 10-15 minutes to prepare due to bike set up, etc. while a mat Pilates class format may only take five minutes to set up), it is always better to arrive early to prevent yourself from being stressed and to prevent any disruption to the class due to tardiness. If you have children to drop off at child care, build that time into your preparation process. *Note: If the stated class time is 9AM, you would want to arrive several minutes ahead of time because the class begins at 9AM. And, if it is first-come-first-serve, you want to secure your class slot!
Guideline #2: Arrive well prepared. Rather than appearing for a class without knowledge of the type of class format you are attending, and whether or not you are able to participate in this specific format, perform a little due diligence by either visiting the website for that club or giving the reception desk a call to inquire about that format and what you should expect. Well prepared also refers to your wearing functional footwear, where applicable, workout attire, bringing along your water bottle, etc. for this format type.
Guideline #3:If you have specific limitations or needs, it is worth discussing these elements with the instructor/trainer prior to attending the class. This provides the instructor/trainer with the needed information to modify the format that they are teaching that day to enable you to have a wonderful experience.
Guideline #4:When attending any group exercise class, be a part of the class rather than attempting to “do your own thing”. If you require modifications, the instructor/trainer is usually well-versed in how to create the modifications without disrupting the format of the class. This is particularly important in choreographed movement class formats, such as step and Zumba, but is also important in tightly structured indoor group cycling class formats. Adding your own “flair” to a skill is acceptable; however, performing an entirely different skill/drill may be very distracting, so just be a little sensitive to the environment.
Guideline #5:Strive to be a team player in group exercise classes by helping newcomers set up when needed, cleaning up so that the next class may take place on time and encouraging newcomers to return!
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at http://www.mtnlifefitness.com, her email at firstname.lastname@example.org and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.
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