Blog by YMCA staff member Emma Sleight
The past sixteen months or so have been incredibly tough and challenging, with the COVID-19 pandemic having a major effect on our lives in so many different and unexpected ways. As someone with a passion for fitness, this completely changed the way I regularly trained, adapting to exercise at home by myself with smaller weights and much less space.
Catching up with so many of you again recently, I’ve become aware that one of the things you missed the most while YMCA Gym remained closed was the interaction with other members and our gym staff. Other factors may have affected the way you train. You might have lacked the motivation to train without the gym environment available, your love of working out may have taken a downward turn during lockdown, or perhaps you didn’t feel that same escapism that a regular routine can give you. The following blog will aim to explore how taking a fitness class might help get you back into the gym and reignite your passion for fitness!
A Sense of Community
Classes provide an enormous sense of community. Being a class instructor for many years at the YMCA Gym in Nottingham, I know how many people have been positively affected by fitness classes. As instructors, we make every effort to ensure everyone feels part of our gym community and the other members do, too!
It is truly an environment like no other! Many of our members have made lifelong friends during their time attending a particular class. Our younger participants, especially students that have just moved into the city, have always commented on how welcome they feel and continue to train with us until their studies are completed. Classes such as Nathaniel’s new class Forever Strong on a Tuesday morning allows members the opportunity to socialise and get fit. Whatever your age, if the events over the past year have left you feeling somewhat isolated, classes could present the opportunity for change. You could also make friendships that last a lifetime.
For some, classes may not need to provide a social aspect – simply attending a class and reaping the physical benefits will help. You may also be comforted by the fact that our classes have now been reintroduced at a smaller capacity. The majority of our classes are capped at 10 participants or lower to ensure social distancing is maintained whilst also allowing for greater movement within classes. We want every member to feel comfortable attending all our fitness classes during this still uncertain period. We are a gym that cares about our members as individuals and the safety measures we have in place reflect our commitment to putting the needs of our Nottinghamshire YMCA Gym members first.
Fitness classes at the Y!
At our YMCA gym, we have gradually reintroduced the classes onto the timetable to reflect the easing of the restrictions. We, as many of you are, have been incredibly aware of the impact of the pandemic and the effect it has had on our general mental health and wellbeing and, it could be said, the choices we make. The decisions some of us make now differ from how we were pre-pandemic – maybe we are nervous about being out and about again or we’re not ready to go to places that may be crowded. By initially introducing some of our most popular classes to the timetable we hoped to gently ease members back into participating in group exercise in a safe and supportive environment. I have been particularly excited to be leading STRONG nation again and seeing so many wonderful members back working out with us again!
Keeping you motivated
If you struggled for motivation over the past year, a fitness class will provide this in spades, and then some! Each class is led by an instructor who will make sure you are looked after and encouraged every step of the way, whatever your fitness journey. They will give advice, monitor your technique and of course spur you on! For those of you that have been to any of my classes, you will know I do not stop instructing throughout the session. It is valuable because in my experience it helps motivate so many people that struggle with self-motivation. I have seen people over the years commit to going to class week after week because they benefit from the encouragement. Classes offer group participation, that sense of ‘we are all in this together’ like no other method of fitness. You could even bring along a friend for that extra boost of camaraderie and fun! It’s also worth stepping outside your comfort zone and trying out other classes on the timetable – you never know, you may find bonding opportunities with another group of people.
I hope that this post has encouraged you to join us in the various fitness classes we have on offer again. Why not ‘seize the day’ and book yourself onto a Spin or Metcon class straight away? You never know, it may be just what you need to make that lifestyle change.