Joining a new gym can be an intimidating experience for many, especially those who feel they need to change their body types and/or those who haven't worked out in a long time, if ever. Most gyms are big box facilities where you can lose yourself in the crowd and just blend in easily once you get through the hard part of joining. Working out at a boutique fitness facility, however, brings on a whole other level of anxiety because of its smaller environment. The gamut of doubts and insecurities start to flood a person's brain (from newbies to seasoned athletes): There no where to hide! Everyone knows each other! I have no idea how to follow along in class! What if I mess up? And the list goes on and on.
We want all of our new members to feel at home from the moment they begin their journey with us. So, to make the new member experience at our club more welcoming and less intimidating, we picked the brain of a relatively new BodyBurner to get her practical advice on how to navigate our gym and fitness class. Sabrina Zottola joined BodyBurn By Ray in August 2016 and has been killing it in class from day 1. We love having her a part of our Burn Family and we love her even more for taking the time to share some valuable insight on the new member experience.
Q: How did you feel when you first stepped though our doors?
A: I'll be honest....I was terrified. I haven't had a great or successful workout routine in some time. Like everyone else with their resolutions, this year was a time for change. Plus, I don't know anyone who goes here and I didn't have anyone who wanted to come with me. The space is dark, for a reason, I now know. And the front area forces you to hang with strangers. So, obviously, that first class was a rough one in terms of the intimidation factor. And that was even before I saw all those motorless cardio machines! Talk about frightening. I thought, "For sure I'm going to trip over myself and look like a fool."
Q: Oh no! We don't want anyone to feel that way! How did your first class go?
A: The class itself is OUT OF THIS WORLD! I've never been to or seen anything like it EVER. Of course, I realized this all after the fact! During class itself, I was totally worried about how to work the machines and how to follow along in class. I'm happy to report that I did not mess up during my first class! YAY for me!! As instructed, I arrived about ten minutes before class started and got a great tour from Rich, the Fitness Manager. He showed me how all of the pieces worked and how to clip into a belt on two of the machines. He also showed me the strength video that we would be following along in class, where to stand to do the strength portion and where to get my weights and bands. It made me feel more at ease to at least know a little bit ahead of time. Once class started and the music filled the room, it was hard to keep up with the pace in a graceful and cool manner because it was my first time, but boy did I get a great workout!!
Q: So glad your first class went well. Aside from coming in ten minutes ahead of time to take a tour of the classroom and see the equipment from either our founder, Ray Peleckas, or our Fitness Manager, Rich Rowland, are there are any lessons learned that you can share with fellow newbies?
A: Definitely! 1. Take it easy on your first class if you've never taken a high paced fitness class before or recently. By take it easy, I mean you don't need to rush back and forth from your strength to your cardio. Get the most out of those breaks and don't run into people during transitions.
2. Follow that video and raise your hand if you need more help. Having that strength video to follow along in class is SO helpful! I usually watch other people in class to follow new exercises, but sometimes they don't know the proper form either. Watching the video helped me to figure out the exercise quickly. It also gave me a heads up when time was almost up so I could prep myself. And if you need more help, just ask the instructor. I took a class with the fantastic Adi my first time. And she was always there to correct my form and answer my questions during the class. And talk about motivation - that girl is insanely bubbly that she revved up my energy levels and excitement during class!
3. Try not to overthink things and just enjoy yourself and the music. I love that the class is like a nightclub party with the dark lighting, the pink gels and the loud music. It takes me away from the day-to-day that's waiting for me outside those doors. I recently went to the BodyBurn with Beats class - the Saturday class with a live DJ and that experience was insanely fun. I really felt like I was at a party and not just working out.
4. Moderate your pace. The best thing about the cardio (aside from only being on it for quick 40 second intervals) is that I can control my speed. So, I can make it as hard or easy as I need to be depending on how I'm feeling that day. Don't get me wrong, it's still a tough and great workout no matter how easy you go, but it's great to have that versatility, you know? Same with the weights. Each person has their own weight station with many options. I like the ability to switch things as I need if I get tired or if I pick up the wrong weight to begin with.
5. Probably my last bit of advice is to talk to classmates and instructors. The experience is way more fun when you have workout buddies. I'm happy to report that the people at BodyBurn are so friendly and helpful. I've made some new friends already! And the instructors are the best group of fitness people I've encountered. They're all so fun, knowledgable and helpful. They may look intimidating from afar with their perfect bodies, but they really are very accessible and ready to assist and motivate people.
6. Oh! Speaking of, this is really my last piece of wisdom - join those contests. For January, we were invited to set a goal of the number of classes we'd attend. I don't usually like contests, but I did it anyway. I'm so glad I did. The whole team really is supportive of your goals (even if it doesn't have anything to do with a monthly contest) and they are constantly giving you motivation to do better. It's just what I need to help me stay on track.
Q: Sounds like someone drank the Kool Aid!! Hahaha. A: Dude, I jugged the whole pitcher of it. I am hooked on BodyBurn!!