One of the easiest ways to reach your fitness goals is to meet people on the same journey as you. Attending your first fitness class can be daunting. I’ve always been interested in martial arts, but I’d always told myself that once my fitness gets better then I’ll join one. The problem with that is self motivation is much harder than attending a class at a set time. The same is true for personal training sessions, you have a set time to train and somebody is counting on you being there. It gives you a little extra push.
If you are going to go it alone, I’d recommend that you set yourself an allotted time to train. Once it becomes routine this is less important but at first that little extra push will motivate you through. With a little patience and research you can teach yourself what you need to know. Very little equipment is needed, things can be improvised and a lot of fitness stuff can be done with body weight exercises. Or you can add equipment when you feel you have reached a plateau.
Personal training sessions are a great way to stay motivated. They are designed for you and focused on you. If you find the right trainer then they will aim to achieve your personal fitness goals and you will learn a lot more from them. They can offer advice on nutrition and workouts you can fit into your schedule, teach you how to use equipment and give you lifestyle advice.
Classes play a slightly different role. They give you the chance to interact with others who share similar goals, interests and motivations. It’s always good to surround yourself with that positive attitude. You can learn, not only off the trainers, but off the other people you are training with. Sharing tips, tricks and experiences with others who are in the same boat as you. Now, I’m basing my experience off of martial arts classes and fitness classes. The dynamic is the same. You should pick a class based on your interests. Anything that you enjoy doing that burns calories is a great way to stay motivated.
They can seem intimidating at first. What you need to remember is that everybody starts somewhere. Give it a go, if you don’t like it you don’t have to go back. Nobody is going to laugh at you or make you feel uncomfortable. Everybody starts somewhere so don’t give it the “once my fitness is better, I’ll start” excuse. I’ve heard it too many times (and used it a fair few times). Take a friend if you can, I started training with a friend, but you can’t rely on them. Sometimes they won’t be able to make a session, that doesn’t mean you should miss it too. We all have stuff going on in our lives but try set a time for doing some training and don’t miss it just because your friend is busy.
If, like me, you’re real competitive. Classes are a great way to go. Every class I’ve ever been too I’ve had the goal of being the best there, every exercise every technique, I spot the fittest, most experienced guy or girl there and try to match them or even beat them. One extra push up, one extra sit up or finish just a little quicker. It works wonders for my motivation, I find that mental stimulation pushes me much harder than my body would usually allow.
Classes work out a lot cheaper than personal training sessions. I attend 16 classes a month for the price of two and a half personal training sessions. I have enough experience now to do my own training but I’ve picked up a lot through attending various classes and taking from the experience of the instructors. I try to learn everything I can from the instructors as well as the people I train with. It is an amazing way to build your experience.
Talking specifically about martial arts, it’s important to have a good instructor. Someone who is passionate about what they do. But I’d also recommend trying a few different classes, a few different martial arts. You’ll get more of a feel for the different styles, more experience about body mechanics and how similar techniques are adapted to different styles.
It’s also a great way to make friends. During my time away traveling in New Zealand I met some really great people. And back at home I consider the people at my main gym like family. If you find a gym that you feel at home at, it takes all the pain out of training. It makes it a time where you get to hang out with your mates and enjoy yourself.
So, just to reiterate, go try a class. Don’t be nervous, go meet people who are making the same journey as you. Try a few different ones until you find one that is right for you. Make it your motivation and stop making excuses.