to some, this image might spark up some nervous energy
photo: Yoga @ The Center SF

trying a new exercise class: why do I feel anxious?

I love trying new exercise classes. It’s a fun way to shake things up, dust off some rusty muscles, and diversify your everyday routine, and once you find a class that’s challenging and entertaining, you stick with it. Fitness isn’t a chore when you’re pumped up to get to class.

trying new exercise class, trying new exercise studio, nervous before exercise class, anxiety and exercise

to some, this image might spark up some nervous energy
photo: Yoga @ The Center SF

I do, however, suffer from new-exercise-class anxiety. Some of you may know what I’m talking about–that anxiety that sprouts when you think about when you should leave home to get to the studio on time, what traffic will be like, what the parking situation is like at the studio…? Transportation worries are just the beginning. Then there’s payment, will they try to make you upgrade by buying a class package, will the class be really crowded or (gasp!) full? Once past all those hurdles, you’re finally in the actual studio where class will be held. At that point, the nervy thoughts include what equipment is used for the class, do I talk to the person next to me or is everyone normally silent before class, is everyone here friends with each other but me, and finally, will the class be too difficult?

I know, I know, I probably sound crazy. Maybe this is some manifestation of other anxieties I’ve bottled away in the past, but I admit, this feeling is real. Once I’ve finished the initial class at the studio, I am much more relaxed for the following classes. I love the feeling for the second and third classes of hopping in the car, sauntering in to the studio, unrolling my mat in my favorite spot, and just relaxing before the instructor arrives. Exercise is supposed to be enjoyable, not nerve-wracking, so I love when I feel comfortable in my new favorite studio.

When I worked at Lululemon I was constantly trying new studios. You’d think I’d have gotten used to the process, but I still felt that slight anxiety with each new place I dropped into. I see it in the eyes of some of my bootcamp attendees today, and I know how they feel. It’s the unknown, the fear of how difficult the class will be. Do you suffer from this anxiety as well? My best suggestion is to talk to the instructor before class. Ask about the structure of the class, and what you should expect for the next hour. If the instructor isn’t around yet, you can chat up someone next to you. Since I always feel a little nervous before a first class, I know where that person is coming from, so I love helping out anyone that’s in the same boat. The more you know going into it, the less surprises will pop up. Finally, you can diffuse any nervous feelings by bringing a friend with you. Having a partner to laugh through the class with makes things all the more enjoyable. Power in numbers, people. Less anxiety, more fun!

You may not feel it to the extent I do, but do any of you relate to new-exercise-class anxiety? What are your anxieties going into a new class or studio? What could be done to make things more relaxing?

photo credit: Yoga @ The Center SF