Fitness Classes Suck—Here’s Why

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In every fitness class, there’s at least one asshole. You know exactly who I’m talking about—that person who arrives a little late with an “outfit” and a “water bottle” (in quotation marks because they’re both meant to be a statement) and a strut that they’ve mastered specifically for this class.

This person knows all the moves to the Zumba routine. This person can do a headstand in yoga and will not rest until everyone in the class has seen them upside down. This person knows the teacher by name and wears a monogrammed headband. This person is the reason I hate fitness classes.

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to hate fitness classes.

Unless you’re just doing Zumba, you’re bound to have to use equipment. Stairs for a step class, mats for yoga or Pilates, and dumbbells for weightlifting. I used to take a group yoga every Saturday at my gym, which took place right after a hot and sweaty step class that left middle-aged women drenched in sweat and panting. Every time I stepped into that room, no matter how long I waited after the step class got out, it felt like a tropical jungle.

If yours is the first class of the day, it might not be so bad, but typically there’s been a class in there before you. This means that all of the equipment is contaminated with the sweat, filth, and god knows what else from anonymous others. Gross.

Along with that, you’re running the risk that the class will be so impacted that you won’t even be able to get any equipment. Sure, there’s always the option to bring your own, but why not just work out alone at that point? People have stomped me trying to get at the last pair of eight-pound dumbbells or sidestepped me to get to that final yoga mat. Is this sort of aggressiveness really what you want for your workout experience?

Then, there’s always the element of competitiveness. Not only with equipment—with the actual movements themselves. If you’re the type of person who can attend a fitness class and completely zone out and do your thing, that’s amazing. I have no idea what that might be like. I actually had to stop going to group yoga because I couldn’t hold myself back from trying to be better than everyone in the room. This brings me back to my original point—that asshole is the reason I can’t go to fitness classes, because sometimes I run the risk of becoming that asshole.

Fitness is supposed to be a choice, a healthy option, a fulfilling addition to your life. Sometimes when you decide to get fit by doing group classes, all you have to rely on is the performance of others.

This competitiveness isn’t always healthy. Like I said before, if you can see past that and only focus on your body and what you’re doing with it, that’s amazing. But if you’re like the rest of us who feel this inexplicable need to be NUMBER ONE, then you might want to stay away.

There are many reasons to avoid fitness classes. From the simple fact that it contains more germs than anything else to what it may do to your self-esteem and/or mental health, it’s a high risk with an unpredictable payoff. Maybe you’re not very self-motivated and need a teacher up front to tell you exactly what to do. Personally, I’ve never responded well to authority. And I definitely don’t respond well to the class showoff working the front of the room…unless that’s me. And then, there’s no saving me anymore.

Taylor Engle

Fashion and culture writer/editor at Forever Twenty Somethings. Judging your outfit. Let me write about it.

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