It’s a good time to make a fitness resolution, with an explosion of boutique studios offering more ways to work out than ever. And, you may think, just as many ways to embarrass yourself with unfamiliar equipment, complicated routines and the a lack of gymnast flexibility.
Many people miss out on great fitness classes because they feel intimidated, and celebrity trainer Simone De La Rue doesn’t want that to happen. In addition to clients like Anne Hathaway and Naomi Watts, the Australian also has Body By Simone studios in L.A. and Manhattan — and knows that everyone who walks through the door is a newbie in some way.
But exercising together is worth the initial hurdles: It’s motivating, keeps you accountable and creates a community. “Group fitness has been around for years, and it works because you’re feeding off the energy of other people,” she says.
We asked De La Rue how to start off on the right foot.
Get a sneak preview: Feeling intimidated is common, but you don’t have to walk into a class totally unprepared. “A lot of time people come and have a private session first to build up their confidence before they feel comfortable going into the class,” says De La Rue. Ask if the studio can offer you some one-on-one time with an instructor to preview the basic techniques and offer advice in private.
You're all there to sweat, not judge: “A lot of people even struggle looking at themselves in the mirror,” says De La Rue. The thing to remember is that you’re the only one looking at you — everyone else is just as busy worrying about themselves. So face yourself, acknowledge where you are and focus on learning the skills to build your confidence.
Discover your passion: The best class for you is the one you'll go back to. De La Rue's passion is cardio dance: It’s a link to her training as a ballerina and avoids the monotony of running and cycling. “Dance is using your whole body and using your brain as well to work in coordination,” she says. “It’s creative, it’s expressive, it’s a joyous way of exercising.” Those words should describe how you feel doing whatever exercise you choose. The hardest part is showing up, but if you’re excited to get to it, then the rest is much easier.
Go to the right class: The newest exercise trend may not be for you, and there's always more than one kind of class to work the body parts you're concerned about. If you’re looking for cardio but are not coordinated, skip the dancing and go for the full-body class that works the same muscles. “Pick something that’s in your comfort zone to build up your strength and confidence,” she says.