That old saw about misery loving company can come in handy this time of year.
When you’re looking to get in shape, going alone is tough. Even finding the motivation to head to the gym, where you’re not alone but you may as well be when you pop the earbuds in and zone out on the elliptical, can be a challenge.
That’s where a fitness class can really help motivate you.
And first things first, if you are envisioning those Jazzercise courses your mom used to take while you stayed home and watched “Who’s the Boss?” while sipping a Tab, think again. Today’s fitness scene is not only quite a bit cooler but remarkably diverse — though often with fewer leotards and leg warmers, depending on your locale.
You can hit a kickboxing class where you not only burn a ton of calories but you also learn skills that will help if some creep snatches your purse or European carryall.
There’s Tai Chi, too. And look, Tai Chi was good enough for Dalton from “Road House,” so it’s obviously good enough for you.
And of course there’s Zumba, a direct descendant of the aforementioned Jazzercise class but decidedly cooler.
The problem with all of those, though, is mustering the courage to potentially embarrass yourself mightily. Hopping into a Zumba class with a bunch of toned, buff and way-too-graceful dancers doesn’t exactly sound like fun for someone just looking to finally climb off the couch and shed a few pounds.
So what if you know the social nature of a fitness class could help motivate you, but you’re feeling a little self conscious about shuffling into a class with folks who look like they should be on the cover of a magazine?
There’s actually an ideal compromise out there waiting for you, and it’s the sort of workout just about anybody can do.
Take a spin class.
Yes, it has all the perks of those other classes. There’s the social element where once you go a few times, the other riders will expect to see you, so the social pressure is there to help motivate you.
And the workout can be killer, helping you shave pounds and walk out with remarkably toned glutes.
But it offers something the others don’t: A modicum of privacy — and a chance.
When the class starts and the lights go down, you can barely see the other riders. And don’t worry, even if they could look at you and marvel at your slower-than-their’s pace, they wouldn’t because they’re busy pretending they’re Lance Armstrong minus the medicine cabinet.
Shea Roth-Nelson knows this well. A regular at the Shift Cycle shop in Stapleton Northfield, the 36-year-old mother of two said the classes are ideal for someone who might be a little anxious about taking a fitness class.
“No one is paying attention to what you are doing,” she says. “They’re just on their bike paying attention to what they are doing.”
Another perk: No matter the shape you’re in, you can handle a spin class.
Sure, you aren’t going to keep up with some trainer who is rocking calves like twin shot puts and thigh muscles you didn’t even know existed. But you don’t have to.
Pedal as fast as want, or as slow as you need. It’s your call, and nobody in the class is gonna care if you set a personal record that day or if you set a personal worst.
“It’s all about the workout you wanna get out of it,” Roth-Nelson says.