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Group fitness etiquette

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Group Exercise in gym. Photo: Huffington Post

Exercising in a group setting is an awesome way to boost energy, collaboration, and even invite a little friendly competition to push you even harder.

But these classes also come with a code of etiquette that for some reason, sometimes, people seem to forget.

Here, a few gentle reminders of what NOT to do in your next group workout session:

Wear the wrong gear

Don’t forget, those super-cute leggings may be super-sheer in downward dog, so it’s best to take them for a test drive before giving the rest of the class a show.

Other clothing don’ts include anything too short or too low-cut, especially in a yoga class where you’ll be stretching and bending all over the place.

Use the mirror a little too liberally

The mirrors are for correcting form, not checking your makeup or seeing how good your triceps look. I’ve seen everything from popping spots to fixing (then re-fixing, and re-fixing again) hair. Repeat after me: This is workout studio, not your bathroom vanity.

Dial down the selfies

Just imagine you are taking off for a flight. You really, really do not want to be the one who forgot this effortless necessity. Simply turn off your phones before class. Exit the world of constant communication, which we all love, and step into your mat fully liberated.

Remember that others have done the same and interrupting the workout zone with a ringtone (any ringtone!) is rather unforgiving, regardless of the calm reaction you may receive. And yes, please take your selfies after class.

Glam it up

Wearing some tinted moisturizer and subtle mascara is one thing, but coming to class in a full face of makeup is usually a don’t. While you may start off looking sexy, 15 minutes in you’ve morphed into Heath Ledger as the joker.

Plus, you don’t really want to worry about your eyeliner streaking while you’re trying to hold a plank. I had a client walk into one of our workouts with fake eyelashes on, let’s just say it didn’t end well.

Be punctual

Be not only on time to your class, be early. Make it a habit to arrive early. Nothing disrupts a class mood like the late comer! When it comes to being on timez, you are either on time or you aren’t.

Everything else is an excuse. Emergencies aside, rest assured that the punctual people do not charter planes to get from place to place, so please never blame the traffic! Let 10 o’clock mean 5 to 10 o’clock, not 5 after!

Experience a new perspective by holding yourself accountable and by respecting everyone for never arriving after class has started.

Create a stink

You know to reapply deodorant before class (hopefully), but re-wearing the same workout clothes from earlier in the week can cause an even worse stench.

That top/bra/pair of shorts may smell okay when you first pull it on, but once your body warms up… ripe city. (Not to mention the lovely bacteria that thrives on damp fabric.) Another culprit: bad breath – especially in the tight quarters of an indoor cycling class.

So don’t forget to brush your teeth before class – chances are you’ll be breathing pretty heavy during your workout.

Chat too much

Hold the gossip for the few minutes before and after class. It’s not just rude, it could actually mess with your workout.

You are interrupting your own breathing patterns, your fellow classmates, and most importantly, the instructor. This is just not the time to catch up on what happened last night on Big Brother.

Become the unofficial teacher’s assistant

It’s true that with classes of 30 or more, the instructor can’t be everywhere at once.

Still, unless you’re actually employed by this gym, leave your neighbor be. Unless somebody’s form is so bad that injury is immediately forthcoming or she asks for help, you should mind your own business.

Don’t assume you know why somebody is taking a class, and don’t assume that they want commentary or even assistance. We have a bad habit as Nigerians of volunteering opinions on someone else, ‘you’ve added weight’ is NOT a compliment, stop it!

Do your own thing

If a move is no good for your body, your instructor will probably step in to provide an appropriate modification.

But don’t take that to mean you can make up a bunch of alternative exercises as you go, most fitness instructors don’t want to compete with your own personal routine.

As in, when everyone else is doing bicep curls and you decide it’s a great time to work on your squat form. Don’t be that person.

Not to mention, it’s distracting to the other class-goers.


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