For the imperfect Fashion lover.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

What to REALLY Expect from Your First Fitness Class | Top Tips for Beginners

What to expect from your first Bodypump Gym Class | Fake Fabulous

You may have made some New Year resolutions this year that involve exercise and fitness.
{You can read my personal feelings on New Year Resolutions HERE}

Maybe your goals involve one (or even all) of the following:
  • Get to a healthier weight (by either losing or gaining).
  • To find physical activity easier by getting fitter.
  • Improve lung capacity.
  • Have a healthier heart.
  • Tone up your flabby/saggy bits (bingo wings anyone?).
  • To improve the look of your skin, nails and hair.
  • Improve your mental wellbeing.
  • Protect your bones.
  • Boost your immunity.
Maybe all of these goals are in your mind?
Maybe you've got the best intentions but are struggling to get started?

What is holding you back?

What to expect from your first Bodypump Gym Class | Fake Fabulous

There are many reasons your new goal is not going as well as you would like it to.

Is it the worry of not knowing what to do and looking a bit silly?
Are you worried you look too fat/flabby/scrawny to be seen in gym-wear?
Do you worry what to wear?
(Sounds trivial but it's not!)

Maybe you need help to take that first step?

I'm no fitness expert BUT I am a normal woman (and a mum) who is over 40 and goes to the gym 5 days a week.
I've tried lots of different activities and found a routine that works for me.

In this post, I want to share with you what really happens before, during and after your first fitness class or workout session.
Plus some tips as to how to get the most out of your time at the gym, or wherever you choose to workout.

What to expect from your first Bodypump Gym Class | Fake Fabulous


Booking your first class/gym session is a big step and deserves a mini round of applause.

"You can do this!"

It's certainly daunting to put yourself out there in a strange environment starting something you don't know anything about.
A place where you're the new girl on the block.
Being 'new' (at anything) may not something that's happened for a few years!
When we get to a certain age we tend to be pretty clued up about most aspects of our daily lives.
Being a beginner is uncomfortable foreign territory.

First of all, try not to worry.
You'll not be the only newbie.
Also, don't worry about people looking at you and judging you.
They're all far too busy worrying about themselves to give two hoots about what you're up to!

What to take with you:

  • Water bottle. 
Don't bother with isotonic drinks or specialist snacks.
Unless you're working out HARD for 90 minutes solid you don't need them.
Plain water will do... and it's free!

TIP: Make sure your bottle is easy to access for a quick slug. A minimal design with an easy-to-open cap is best.

  • Small towel. 
A small towel is handy not only to mop your brow (as you sweat buckets) but also to lie down on when using a bench or mat.
Putting your face on a sweaty mat that 100 other people have laid on is not very appealing.

TIP: Try a microfibre towel in a bright colour. It takes up less room, dries quicker and is nicer to look at than a grotty old hand towel. 

What to wear:

Contrary to what the big brands try and tell you there is no need to buy new clothes.
There is certainly no need to buy a matching outfit.
In fact, being dressed to the nines may have the opposite effect to the one you want.
Having the latest shiny new outfit could draw attention in your direction.
Possibly not what you want during your first run or yoga class?

Simply wear a comfortable pair of gym leggings (avoid 'fashion' leggings) or jogging bottoms and a vest top or t-shirt.
Items in technical fabrics are good because they wick sweat and hold their shape better, plus they can be more flattering on your body.

Essential items:

  • Sports bra.
If you're going to be jumping around you'll need a proper sports bra that holds everything in place.
If you're doing yoga (or even weights) a lighter support bra will be fine.
As long as it holds the girls in place, is comfortable and gives you freedom of movement.
  • Trainers.
Unless your class is barefoot (like yoga or Bodybalance) you'll need decent trainers.
You don't need to spend a fortune but you DO need your trainers to fit properly and give you support.
Avoid slip-on styles or anything that's not quite right when it comes to fit.
If you're planning to run then make sure you have the right trainers for your feet.
Get advice if you need it.
Well-fitting trainers don't need to cost a fortune.

Sore feet can ruin a workout and set you back for days afterwards... or even put you off altogether.
Bad footwear can even cause injury.

TIP: Wear leggings in a substantial fabric and avoid anything too baggy. Baggy tops don't hide your body, they just look like an unflattering baggy top!

TIP: Don't wear NEW trainers to the gym, or for a run.
Try them out and break them in at home first.

During Class

As with everything in life, you get out what you put in.
If you're standing having a giggle with your friend or just going through the motions then you'll not see the results you want, or feel the benefits of your programme.

When you first start your session (or class) it's important to let the person taking the class know you are new.
They will have a quiet word with you about options such as modified moves or a time when you can stop if you feel like you've done enough.

When the class begins, prepare to be a little confused!
Even if you're going for a simple run your body will be in shock pretty quickly.

The first time is always strange because you'll be busy trying to figure out what is happening (movement/form/technique wise) and your body will be wondering what the hell is going on!

(Especially if you've not exercised for a while).

Don't worry, don't panic ... just keep going.
Do your best and don't worry about what you look like.
You'll definitely look pretty rubbish for your first few sessions.
We all do!

Keep going and you'll get the hang of it in no time.

TIP: Look online for sneak peeks, tutorials or 'sizzlers' for the class or activity you are going to attend, just to get an idea as to what is about to happen.

TIP: Put EVERYTHING you have into your class or session. 
Or, as my good friend says "Let's rip the arse out of it!".
What is the point in wasting your valuable time? 
All or nothing.

TIP: Get to the front! 
As one instructor once told me...
"If you want to hide don't bother going to the back!"
At the back of the class, you won't be able to see properly and you may be distracted by other people (who may be doing it wrong!).
Get to the front for the best view or the instructor and make the most of your session.

After the Storm...

If you turned up and worked your backside off you'll probably start to feel the effects pretty quickly!
Even the so-called "Easier" activities are killers.

I remember thinking Bodybalance was probably an easy option.

Bodybalance is one of the tougher workouts.
Done properly, Bodybalance (or Yoga) can have you crawling out on your hands and knees (or at least feeling like it!).

Running is even tougher.
How can something so simple have you breathing out of your backside after 30 seconds?

{NOTE: As with any workout, if you try hard and do it to the best of your ability it should be tough for the start!}

If you do something your body has never done before (maybe lifting weights?) then you'll not only feel it straight after the class but for DAYS afterwards.

I remember after my first Bodypump class I initially felt like I'd not really done very much as I had used light weights and didn't have the correct techniques to get into more advanced positions (i.e. Low squats) but I couldn't use stairs or sit on the loo for four days.

Yes, that's right 4 DAYS of agony.

My friend was the same (and she is a lot stronger than me).
She couldn't brush her hair and had to tackle her stairs backwards.

We were in all-over pain and it felt great!

When you have a serious case of the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) then you know you have given it your all.

I thought about what was hurting and imagined those areas tightening and getting stronger.

Tight and toned bum and thighs??
Yes please!
Cheerio bingo-wings.
Hello abdominals!

Oh yes, I felt like I wanted more and we've been going ever since... chasing that fantastic feeling and seeing the visible results we want.

TIP: Even the toughest classes shouldn't be painful at the time. You should feel muscle fatigue and like your body can't go on (Like another rep could finish you off) but there should NEVER be sharp or sudden pain.
It's even okay to feel like you're going to be sick (I've felt that a few times during a combat class).
If you feel pain (especially if it's only on one side or in one specific area) STOP and speak to the instructor (either at the time or after the class).
All-over pain 2 days afterwards is perfectly acceptable though!

What to expect from your first Bodypump Gym Class | Fake Fabulous

My Personal Fitness Schedule

I've been asked this many times, so I'd like to share it with you so you get an idea of what I do to stay in shape both physically and mentally:

  • MONDAY: Evening Yoga class (much-needed stretching and relaxation after a horrible Monday at work... Mondays are never good!)
  • TUESDAY: 1-hour evening walk & a good chat with a friend (with Jake the dog in tow!)
  • WEDNESDAY: Bodypump followed by Bodybalance. A tough but really enjoyable night after a day mostly sitting on my rear-end!
  • THURSDAY: 1-hour walk (same as Tuesday)
  • FRIDAY: Evening Bodycombat class (this is the class I look forward to the most, all the stresses of the week are released in a sweaty mess and it's loads of fun!)
  • SATURDAY: More Bodybalance or Bodypump depending on what I feel is needed... It's more stretching in Bodybalance this week.
  • SUNDAY: Bodypump and Barre in the morning and a 1-hour walk at night (the same as Tuesday and Thursday).

This schedule has grown over the past two years.
I didn't start off like this!

I started walking 3 times a week with my friend (sometimes running) then added on one Yoga class a week for a few months.
Then we added a Bodypump class once a week and it grew from there.

TIP: It's just as important to rest as well as workout. Resting helps your body recover and develop. I rest on Tuesday during the day (it's my day off everything!)

What about you?

Are you starting a new fitness routine?
Are you building on your current routine?

What are your goals?

I'd love to hear about them... and your own fitness schedule, if you're willing to share?!

Leave me a comment or drop me a DM @fakefabulous  or an email
You know I love hearing from you.




  1. Bravo! It's fun and inspiring to hear about your fitness regimens but your honesty about your real personal challenges are much appreciated Sam.

  2. Thanks for the incentive, have had a dreadful cold since after Christmas and sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel, yipppeee! I'll be 70 in August and haven't been to the gym in months so looking forward to the treadmill, weight machines and red light therapy, oh and the massage chair!xx

    1. I'm sorry you've been ill... it always seems to strike over the festive period, doesn't it?
      I'm glad you're feeling better and ready to get back to the gym... and your treatments too!

  3. woww, love to read some useful advice!, I totally agree on not buying lots of sporty clothes, just a pair of trainers (or two!) and obviously, making the most of your classes!. My Pilates and walking routines are nice for me!

    1. Oh, I love walking and pilates too Monica!
      Walking I do but pilates not as much as I'd like to.


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