Exercise Health

How To Find a Fitness Class That Meets Your Needs

Yoga, indoor cycling, kickboxing, dance — these days, there seem to be endless fitness classes available. With so many choices, how do you know which one is right for you? We’ll break down the steps to finding the perfect fitness class to meet your needs.

Step 1: Set Your Goals

The first step to finding a fitness class is to think about what you want to get out of it. Are you looking for a community to join? Or are you simply looking to build muscle or drop a few pounds? Reflect on your preferences and goals, as some classes are geared more toward different areas of fitness.

Step 2: Consider Your Physical Strengths and Limitations

Are you a former athlete looking to get back into fitness? Do you already have exercise fundamentals but want to try something new? Play to your strengths and look for a class in something you already excel in. For example, if you enjoy road biking, consider signing up for a spin class. It’ll be a new pace and environment to challenge yourself with.

If you have less exercise experience, you may need to think about any physical limitations you have. Some classes require a higher fitness level than you may have now. Rather than setting yourself up for a difficult time, look for beginner classes instead.  Use the class to set a fitness foundation and work toward more long-term goals.

For those with mobility problems, low-impact exercises like swimming, water aerobics, or indoor cycling are great options. You’ll raise your heart rate while keeping pressure off of your bones and joints. It’s also a good idea to ask your doctor about what exercise options are appropriate for your abilities. Never try to push yourself past your physical limitations, or you can injure yourself.

Step 3: Think About Your Interests

What type of exercise do you prefer? Do you like fast-paced cardio workouts or more meditative practices like yoga? If you’re not sure what you might like, that’s also perfectly fine. Consider looking for beginner classes to try at your local community center or fitness center.

Many first-time classes are free or offered at discounted rates to encourage new members. Select a few classes you’d like to attend and keep an open mind. You can also bring a family member or friend along if you’re nervous about trying something new.

This is also the time to explore a fitness class outside of your comfort zone. You never know unless you try! You might surprise yourself and end up finding an activity you love.

Step 4: Look at Your Schedule and Make a Time Commitment

Sit down and take a close look at your calendar — how much time per week do you want to commit to a fitness class? You also should look at when classes are offered. Many studios and gyms offer times throughout the day for early birds, night owls, and everything in between.

It’s a good idea to start small in the beginning and add more classes as you build strength and endurance. Trying to work out too much increases your risk of injury and burnout.  

Step 5: Find Your Favorite Class Format

Fitness classes take place in several environments — from quiet Pilates studios to loud and energetic dance classes. It’s important to find a place you feel comfortable and confident in.

Think about the size of the fitness class when signing up. Some people prefer smaller, more intimate classes with time for personalized instruction. Others enjoy the energy that comes from large groups working together toward a common goal. Which situation would motivate you more?

You may also want to consider the overall structure of the class. Some instructors follow a specific schedule with timed exercises, repetitions (reps), and preselected exercises. Other classes are more informal, where the instruction is more of a suggestion to follow.

Step 6: Find an Instructor or Group Who Motivates You

When attending a fitness class, you’ll want to find an instructor who you connect with. They’re guiding you along your fitness journey and they play a vital role in your motivation and success. Take time after trying a class to speak with the instructor and learn more about their teaching philosophy. It’s also a great time to meet other members and learn more about why they joined the class.

It’s okay if you don’t immediately connect with an instructor. Many studios and gyms offer the same classes with different individuals. Try other classes to see which you enjoy most.

Step 7: Purchase a Package or Membership, if You’d Like

After you’ve found an exercise class you truly enjoy, consider signing up for a membership. Studio members usually get benefits others don’t get — like free equipment rentals, rewards points, and access to exclusive activities. Paying for a package or membership may also motivate you to continue attending classes.

Finding a Fitness Class Infographic

By Emily Wagner

Emily earned a Bachelor of Science in biotechnology from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2018 and a Master of Science in biomedical sciences with a focus in pharmacology from University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in 2020. During her thesis work, she studied non-small cell lung cancer and how the immune system plays a role in response to different treatments. Emily feels privileged to use her research acumen and scientific mind to write about topics that advance the health and wellbeing of others. She currently lives in Colorado where she enjoys the mountains, spending time with her dog, baking, and reading a good book.