Virtual classes are everywhere right now, and they are an awesome way to keep up your fitness levels while also trying out new styles of exercises, teachers, and/or studios. In addition to classes, many of us are working out on our own, sometimes for the first time ever.
There are, however, some big red flags to look out for, that are often overlooked-- causing, not just a less result and a lowered time maximization, but pain and potential injury.
These are hardly ever talked about! And that is dangerous.
So, here are some questions to ask and actions to be on the lookout for as you venture into upcoming workouts….
First, what is your personal foundation going into this workout? Be it on your own or in a class setting, you are your own trainer when by yourself.
Even if on a group class that is Zoom style, the instructor may be watching many tiny videos on a screen all at once-- a lot more challenging to see if you are executing safe and proper form than if you were the only one taking up the whole screen, or better yet, in the instructor’s actual presence (someday!). Or, he/she may be too far from the screen to see you anyway.
Beginning a workout, do you know proper form of base exercises like squats, lunges, planks, and push-ups? Do you know how to check if you are standing in proper alignment so as to not hurt your back when lifting? Do you know how to modify a push-up correctly so you do not place any unnecessary stress on your joints? What do you do if your neck hurts in an ab-based exercise on the floor?
If you are unsure of the answers here, don’t close this post and decide you will just not do any exercise until you can be at a class in person. No, quite the contrary. Keep going, but do what is in your knowledge bank.
I love trying new things, but I am not going to go out and try a back handspring on the rooftop just because I see someone doing it in a video. I would probably break my neck. I need to build up to movement. I need to know how to modify to fit my level of knowledge and comfort.
There are classes out there that are focused on beginners. There are classes that are for all levels that do an excellent job of showing and explaining form, modifications, etc. Find those.
Another way to build your foundation to then do your own workouts and/or join in to classes is to work virtually with a personal trainer for a few sessions. Feel free to reach out to me if that is something you would like to hear more about. Thanks to technology, you can log on from anywhere in the world, and I can see your whole body, hear your concerns, and work to build your fitness knowledge, strength, and endurance.
Tying in to the above, the second question I want to drive home is: Did you vet this class? Meaning, have you asked yourself: Is this instructor noting form and safety? Not just once, but many times over throughout class? Is he/she talking in a vernacular you can understand? Are there reminders throughout, encouraging breaks and hydration to keep you safe?
Now, there are certain classes that will tell you up front (or they certainly should be telling you up front) if the style will be less instructing and more showing and doing. That is fine, you just have to know that ahead of time. If your knowledge base isn’t strong enough to follow along on your own with no direction at all, you need to step out of that class until it is. There are thousands of online classes, you can find another one.
NB: If taking multiple teachers from one studio, you must ask these questions with each one. Just because they are all under one ‘heading’, does not mean they are all saying the same things nor instructing in the exact same ways.
For the majority of virtual classes, the instructor cannot see you. He/She isn’t there to adjust you if you are doing something unsafe. Therefore you must be your own ‘checker’. And if you aren’t sure how to do this, try some one-on-one training to help you get going.
There are so many options, you absolutely can find a style that you like, along with an instructor who gives you necessary details to have a time-efficient, safe, and strong class.
We all want to be able to move without pain at 90, right?
Be strong, be smart.
Have a great day,
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Be. By Kate.
Be your best self. One step at a time.