You’re ready. You signed up for a new class, at a new studio, you even bought a new ‘fit to commemorate the occasion. Although you may be pumped, you’re still a little nervous because it’s all so new. Hopefully you signed up to go with some friends to help ease you into the new environment. Whether you’re going to a new bar or trying out barre, it’s always nice to have your friends by your side.

Whether you’re going at it solo or have your workout buddies in your corner, there are a few questions you should always ask your fitness instructor before starting at a new studio or class. We understand being nervous to ask questions; it’s a feeling similar to speaking up at a work meeting. But believe us, you’re not alone - To prepare you, here are some questions you’ll probably want to ask your instructor:

Studio wide rules and standard practices:

Have you walked into the yoga room with your shoes on or showed up to barre without sticky socks? Hopefully, when you first arrive you will get a grand tour of the studio, but in case you don’t, be sure to ask for the SOP’s.

Are there certain rules when you walk into the workout area? Where do you put your stuff? Do they let in late-arrivals? Be sure to get a run-down so that you can easily blend into the established routine, thus making your first visit less awkward and much more enjoyable.

 

Are you at the ‘appropriate’ fitness level:

Nothing is worse then realizing you don’t quite fit in somewhere, but it could end up being detrimental if you are not in the right class for your level. You could end up hurting yourself or someone else.

Be sure to check in with your instructor at the end of class to make sure that you have chosen the right class for your level or even better, check in before you even sign up for the class. Most fitness instructors who are knowledgeable will ask the right questions beforehand to ensure you are placed correctly. So, what happens if you are in between levels? Don’t forget to ask...

 

For help or modifications:

You’re in the right class but you may be nursing an injury or haven’t quite reached the level of skill you are aiming for. Don’t be shy. Ask for a modification on the exercises. Your instructor more than likely already has modification levels planned out and may even present them as an option, so take advantage. Remember, you only need to be in competition with yourself.

What about complicated equipment? Hand wraps, spin shoes, or yoga blocks? Not quite sure what to do with those? Your instructor is more than willing to provide examples, help you get clicked in, or wrap you up. If you’re apprehensive about being shown the ropes in front of others, simply arrive a bit early. You can take this time to fill out your profile, sign waivers, and get acquainted with the equipment before class starts.

 

What weights to use:

At this point, your instructor has placed you in the right level class and you know modifications are an option. Choosing the right equipment is the next step. If you are new, get with the instructor to help you choose the right weight for your fitness level. They may give you a few options to experiment with but it is always good to have the option to go up or down depending on your level and energy for that day.

Fair warning - when you ask, you may be encouraged to go with more weight, not always less. Challenges are fun, right?!

 

Am I doing this right?

Ever felt extremely goofy and uncomfortable during an exercise? Happens to the best of us. It will take time for things to feel natural, especially if you are starting a new type of class. Simply asking “Am I doing this right?” gives the instructor clearance to evaluate, analyze, and correct form and technique, and also gives you a bit of individual attention. Focus on quality over quantity - get your form right before you increase your weight, go faster, or whatever the exercise requires for level increase.

 

Where the bathroom is (no really):

Class is over (or maybe you’re in the middle of class...no judgement). The first thing you want to do is head to the bathroom to splash water on your face because temperature reached the low 90s or, you know… you’ve got to relieve yourself, because you held it for that last treadmill sprint. Don’t be that person who comes out of class and spins in a circle because they have no idea where they are going. Make this question part of your studio tour. Last thing you want to do is get lost in the studio when you’re in a pinch (pun intended).

 

1:1 after class:

The beauty of your local fitness studio is the personalized service your instructor can provide. It’s the fun of working out with friends and co-workers while taking advantage of the benefits of personal training. Most instructors will always say they are available after class, so take them up on it! Talk to them about the class, how you did, any suggestions they can provide, or ask them what music they used. Get to know your instructor and the classes they teach. This helps establish a relationship between you and your instructor and can better ease you into a new environment. Nothing is more encouraging than when you and your instructor are on a first name basis. This helps you reach your fitness goals and instructors love to see their regulars come to their classes.

At one point or another, everyone has gone through the new student scenario. One of the many great aspects of your local fitness studio is they are always welcoming to new faces and want to make you feel at home. Be encouraged to make these places a part of your fitness journey and build those healthy habits. Note that you don’t have to go at it alone- your fitness instructor can be another motivator.

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