In a quest to become fitter, leaner and tougher I have been attending exercise classes since I was around 16 (although this is very much an on and off relationship – think Ross and Rachel.) Seeing as classes and I seem to be going steady I thought I would write a how-to guide to help those just starting out.
- Be on time
You may think being on time means arriving at the time the class is due to start, my child how wrong you are. If the class involves any sort of equipment (weights, bikes, steps), then being on time means being at least ten minutes early. And on a Sunday morning, when there are no excuses left to wangle your way out of attendance, meaning every gym member descends upon their chosen establishment you really need to be 20 minutes early. As my mother is wont to say, life: it just ain’t fair.
- Do not go on your mobile phone
There is nothing, and I mean literally nothing in this world that annoys gym instructors more than you going on your phone. Once spotted they will huff, make a face and then unleash the fury of a thousand suns. You will feel humiliated and spend the rest of class thanking the gods that it really isn’t possible to flush during an intense cardio workout. And whilst they may forgive you for this indiscretion exercise instructors will never really forget. Do yourself a favour – leave your phone at home and avoid any temptation.
- You get what you give
When I was younger there was a slogan prolific on T-shirts and other such merchandise, it read “dance like nobody’s watching.” I believe many of my peers felt this to be of immense significance and to be particular poignant. I’m not entirely sure the reasoning behind this given that most of their dancing was limited to clubs. And their grinding, swaying and gyrating was all done precisely in the hope that somebody would be watching. However, the one place this motto does work is in an exercise class. When I was younger I was nervous of seeming too enthusiastic, too energetic, and far too fearful of judgement. Now I realise nobody cares, everybody is just trying to get through the hour the best way they can. So jump, skip and grunt like no-one’s watching, because frankly they most certainly are not.
- Get the Kit
The more legit you look the more exercise ready you will feel. Coming equipped with a pair of converse, your ex-boyfriend’s old T-shirt, that you aren’t quite ready to let go of, and Topshop leggings is not going to motivate you in any way, shape or form. Frankly it’s far more likely to cause an injury. Invest in a decent pair of trainers, some sporting leggings and a breathable exercise top. However, men – I implore you not to buy sweatbands, there are just no words to describe the travesty that is this particular article of clothing.
- Channel your inner teenage angst
Choose the best, most hard-core gym fanatic in the room and make her the epitome of every girl who made you cry and every boy who broke your heart. This girl is the cause of all your tutored, broken teenage angst. So your jumps must be more energetic, your knees higher and your kicks stronger. If that doesn’t make you sweat then nothing on this planet could.