Group classes are one of the best ways to get a workout; there's a set time, a motivating teacher, and usually great music. There's just one thing that may be getting in your way — you! If this is the case, you're not alone. It's only human to get a little competitive, a little distracted, and a little sidetracked every once in a while. So when the inevitable happens and you start to focus on that cute yoga top in front of you, what's for dinner, or your friend's killer form, keep these four tips in mind to get back on track.
- Remember your goals: That's right, keep your eye on your prize, not on your classmates'. Everyone, especially in a group exercise class, has different goals and motivating factors. Some people want to get fit, others may want to lose weight, and some may be cross training. Whatever it is, other people's intentions are probably not the same as yours. This makes it all the more important to stay focused on yourself.
- Focus on your form: When you notice your eyes (or mind) starting to wander, bring awareness back to your technique. Is your posture straight? Is your form up to par? Are you using the right-sized weights? It's usually these details and not the speed of an exercise that will get you the best results and prevent injury. So, stop comparing her plank to yours. After all, if you're noticing what she's doing, you probably aren't working hard enough!
See two more tips after the break!
- Channel a specific spot: There are a lot of exercises and several movements that go into any group class. To avoid becoming completely overwhelmed and losing focus altogether, focus on one area at a time. For instance, if you are in a Pilates class, keep your attention on your core. Relating exercises to a specific area will help keep you from getting distracted. It will also help your total-body awareness and eventually contribute to overall technique and strength. Regardless of what area you zoom in on, always keep in mind proper form and remember to breathe!
- Have a plan: Although you don't have to plan the exercises, intervals, or playlists during a fitness class, it's still important to have a plan. Go to class with goals for yourself (i.e. focus on breathing, master the last move in the routine, stay for the cooldown). In addition, have a plan of who you'll surround yourself with and where you'll be situated in the room. If you know you'll be tempted to talk to your BFF, position yourself near but not next to her. If being in the back of the room doesn't keep you accountable, move toward the front. Although these seem like small action plans, the payoff will be great.