exercise class

How to overcome the fear of being an exercise class first-timer

For some, the idea of doing anything when in the company of 20+ strangers can be daunting. If you then combine that with the self-consciousness that many people feel about their bodies or fitness levels, it is understandable that trying a new exercise class can be nerve wracking!


The good news is that there are some ways to alleviate your anxiety when taking a new group fitness class, here we share some tips:


Arrive early

If you’re already nervous, don’t add more pressure to yourself by arriving when the class is full. You may end up struggling to find a spot if the class is busy and scrambling to get the right equipment. Arrive 10 minutes early, if the class room is already available you can go in, pick your spot, and get your equipment ready. If you’re not sure what you’ll need you’ll be able to ask the instructor or other class members who are getting set up.

Don’t hide at the back of the room

This is probably exactly what you want to do; make sure you’re at the back of the class so that no-one can see you getting the moves wrong or the confused look on your face, right? In reality, this is one of the worst things you can do, especially if the class is busy, as the chances are you won’t be able to see the instructor so the class will be even more over-whelming as you won’t be entirely sure what you’re supposed to be doing! Try to find a spot in the middle where you can clearly see the instructor, and also others around you.

Take a friend

Power in numbers, right?! If you have a friend that always goes to a certain class, or is keen to try something new, go along with them. It’ll make you realise it’s not so scary and you can laugh at each-other being uncoordinated rather than feeling like everyone else is looking at you getting things wrong (which they’re not!)

When the instructor asks if it’s anyone’s first time doing this class, put your hand up and let them know it’s yours!

I know, you don’t want to draw attention to the fact it’s your first time, but it’s important that the instructor is aware as they’ll give you a little extra TLC to ensure you’re technique is on form and in turn minimise your risk of injury which is so important, especially in classes that involve weights. Most classes have a few different levels of intensity for several moves too, so if they know there’s some first timers in the room they’ll make sure they always include the lowest intensity options.

Realise that everyone is there for their own workout, not to watch what you’re doing, and that people are actually helpful

During a class, everyone is only concentrating on one persons workout and technique, their own! You’ll find everyone is looking straight ahead at the instructor, or maybe occasionally glancing in the mirror to check their form. If they are looking at anyone, it might be the person in front of them if they’ve missed what the instructor said was coming next, there’s certainly no critique! Everyone was new once and you’ll often find if you look a bit lost gathering your equipment etc. someone will offer you some advice as to what you need before you even have to ask.

Laugh it off

If you find yourself seriously in the realm of having no idea what’s going on, or you miss a beat, just take a breath, laugh at yourself and pick up at the next stage of the workout.

Remember, it’s just a workout!

At the end of the day, it’s just a workout. You’re not being scored on how many moves you managed to get or how on the beat you were. Exercise classes were designed to be a fun way for people to get moving, and with so many different exercise classes out there, find one or several that you find fun and smash it!


If you’re not sure where to start with exercising, or would like an exercise program tailored to your particular needs, contact your local Accredited Exercise Expert such as an Exercise Scientist or Exercise Physiologist.