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Going to the gym - as scary as it sounds?

Victoria Summersgill

Going to the gym - Our Health Practitioner, Victoria, is back to share her experience of different classes since joining her local gym at the beginning of January.A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article sharing my experience on joining the gym and having my induction. In that article, I mentioned that my main reason for joining the gym was so I could start attending group classes. Well, I’m a couple of weeks in now and wanted to share how I’ve been finding it so far.

Virtual Instructors

A quick note on virtual instructors – this means that the class is led by an instructor on a pre-recorded video that is shown in the studio. Some people really like this but others are, rightfully so, concerned that there is no one physically there to check your form to ensure you don’t get injured. This is something to consider and it may be best to attend some sessions with an actual instructor before going virtual just to make sure you know how to do the moves safely!

Legs, Bums and Tums

This is an aerobic fitness class with moves that, as the name suggests, target the bum, legs and stomach muscles. The pace of this class was perfect – not too quick but still got my heartrate up. The way this class worked was that we would practice a couple of moves and then add them all together. This happened several times meaning we had a full routine at the end of the class. I liked this as in some other classes you are doing multiple routines in one session, so focusing on one for the whole hour was a nice change.

Body Pump (Virtual Instructor)

Body Pump is quite a fast-paced class that is mainly weight-based using a barbell. This is one I would definitely recommend getting a gym instructor to run you through the proper form for key moves like squats, lunges and deadlifts so you don’t hurt yourself. You do several separate routines throughout the session – some which focus on your muscles and some aim to get your heartrate up. I’ll be honest, this class was a shock to the system the first time I did it. My biggest tip is to not be afraid to only do what you can! This might mean using a lower weight, just the barbell itself or doing fewer reps. It’s really important to incorporate weighted exercise into your routine to maintain healthy bones but ease yourself into it. After doing it a couple of times, I feel stronger and am noticing I can do a few more reps now than I could at the start.

Body Combat

This is an aerobic class based on martial arts such as karate, boxing, taekwondo, thai chi and muay thai. Before I went to this class, that description panicked me slightly as I had absolutely no experience in any of the disciplines mentioned. However, it is now a firm favourite of mine. The class involves doing several routines made up of punches, kicks, ab work and other movements in time with the songs. The instructor is great at giving lots of options for the moves we do – any good instructor will be able to provide modification options so don’t be afraid to ask for them! This class is quite fast-paced and it really gets the heart rate up. Classes often repeat routines so don’t worry if you don’t get the moves straight away – I definitely didn’t – but everyone is concentrating on getting their moves right, they won’t notice if you went left instead of right.Sh’Bam (Virtual Instructor)Sh’Bam is predominantly a dance-fitness class. Like some of the other classes, you do several different routines to different songs during the class. I feel it’s necessary to let you all know that I have absolutely no dance history and it definitely showed in this class! I found this class quite hard to keep up with. As it was a video, sometimes the editing cropped out the instructors feet which made it difficult to keep up – this may be an example of where an in-person instructor would be best. Despite this, I still enjoyed the class and just did what I could – which was either arms or legs but I struggled to do both at the same time! However, my friend who did dance while growing up found it much easier to follow than I did but we both had a great time.


Overall, I am really enjoying going to classes. I like that I can book the classes in advance so I know when I’m going to be getting my exercise that week. Body Combat is definitely my favourite so far but it’s been great trying out lots of new activities. I think the best thing about a class is that you are all in it together. I know it can be daunting going for the first time, but everyone starts somewhere. The classes I’ve been to so far have had such a wide mix of ages, gender and abilities – everyone is welcome! Exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore, you just need to find something you enjoy and I think I’ve definitely found what works for me. Let us know if you’ve tried any of these classes and what you thought of them or if there is a class you think I need to try next!

Read up on Victoria's experience of joining the gym here

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