Have you ever walked into the gym and felt out of place? In my first semester of college at UMass, I was very new to the gym scene. Before coming to campus, I would work out with YouTube videos at home in my room and go for occasional runs outside. All the machinery and weights were very new and daunting to me. What made the task of going to the gym even more challenging was that it felt like everyone around me already knew what they were doing. They always seemed confident in their use and technique. Meanwhile, I had no idea where to even begin. I begin to think that group classes were a better way to start. So, naturally, I started with a spin class.
Spin is one of the most recognizable group fitness classes. Even though I had never done it before, spin seemed like the safest option since all the other classes felt like a mystery to me. Spin is hard, but it’s not all bad. I loved the music and the lights. The instructors were motivating and energetic but only so much can distract you from how difficult spin is. I am a second-semester sophomore currently and I can say that with time, spin has become more manageable but one thing is for certain, and that is that spin is a workout.
Then one day, while I was scrolling through the group fitness classes, I saw Zumba. I had always enjoyed dancing but in my mind, Zumba was associated with older people. It never felt like something that would attract a college crowd. But I decided it was worth a shot. My first class was chaotic and confusing. I was in the back of a room full of fifty people. Needless to say, I did not plan on going back again until one day, I just did. The next time I took the class I fell in love. It felt less like a workout and more like fun. Zumba has become a weekly occurrence for me. Every time the class is offered, I sign up. What I really appreciate about Zumba is that it opened me up to so many other fitness classes. Because of my confidence in one class, it felt much less intimidating to try new ones.
I have taken a plethora of group fitness classes here and they are now my main source of exercise. It is extremely helpful to have a guide that is there to offer support, especially when working out can be confusing. Having someone who can guide you through your workout takes away from the stress of not knowing what to do. Additionally, these classes have helped keep me accountable. If I have a set time that I have to be at the gym and I am already signed up, it makes it more likely that I actually follow through. Balancing school work can make it easy to want to skip the gym but when I am registered for a class I feel more motivated. Lastly, group fitness classes have provided me with a lot more confidence. When you go to the areas of the gym with machines and weights, everyone is doing their own thing which can make it feel more scary that you might stand out. However, in the classes, everyone is doing the same thing so there is no need to worry about standing out because it feels like everyone blends together more.
If you are someone that gets nervous in the gym and feel like you need to take a few steps to build that confidence, group fitness classes will help! I thought I would be stuck doing workouts in my room forever because the gym always felt like a place I would never fit into. But I have been able to reach new potential through group fitness at the UMass Rec Center.