Fear of being the new kid in class

Most of our new participants – regardless of their age, size and fitness level – feel nervous when starting our classes.  We’ve seen clients arrive feeling anything from slight butterflies to complete terror, however our team of trainers are experienced at making everyone feel relaxed and welcome from the first session.  I love seeing the relief when our new clients leave the class realising we’re not scary and they did a brilliant job of their first class.

It takes great courage to step out of your comfort zone and try a new class or form of exercise.

We tend to focus on negatives and insecurities – Will I keep up?  Will I look stupid?  Will I be the slowest in class?  Will I be the biggest person there?  Will everyone else be ultra-fit and slim?  Will the trainers be mean?  What if I can’t do the exercises?  Am I going to be the least fit person there.  Yes, these worries are common.  Ignoring such negative self-talk and turning up to class despite it, takes courage, discipline and a lot of will.  You need to pat yourself on the back.

Watching our new clients do a fabulous job in their first running class this week got me thinking about some positive self-talk that should replace all this negative nattering in your head.

Instead of focusing on what you cannot yet do, how you do not yet feel, or how you do not yet look, instead focus on the positives right now.


Remind and congratulate yourself on:

– Being brave enough to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try a new class
– Regularly challenging your body with a level of exercise that is uncomfortable (but very beneficial)
– Being in the special minority of Australians who do regular, organised, intensive exercise
– Setting and working towards a fitness/health goal
– The progress you’ve made, no matter how incremental
– Being committed to making your life healthier


There is no such thing at failing with fitness or health goals.

There might be some days that feel easier than others.  There might be some exercises you can’t do (just yet!).  There will be times that you’ll be disappointed in your efforts.  But there is no way to fail.  There’s just a slower road or a more efficient road.  If you get off track, just jump back on.  Ask for help – that’s what we’re here for.

See, nothing to be scared of.  :)


This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Maria Patrick

    What a relevant article – its almost a carbon copy of my thoughts & feelings prior & during & after my first class – unfortunately I allowed the negative chatter in my mind continue & piked out until I read this article . I am going to make an effort & turn up at the next class!!!

    1. healthy

      Hi Maria, I’m soooo pleased you’ll tell the negative voice to “be quiet” and turn up for class number 2. We’ll take good care of you!

  2. Anne Jones

    Great to see the list of positives. Maybe if this aspect of fitness was given more attention more people would be encouraged to get into exercise. I’ve given in to the negative chatter lots of times, but am usually glad when I don’t. One thing that can help is to have a chat with the instructor beforehand, either by phone or email or in person. Then they’ll know that you’re new plus you will have established a connection with them which motivates you to turn up to the class. Also, having a sense of humour helps, so if you make a mistake just laugh at yourself and keep going. And remember – fitness instructors need participants to turn up for classes, so you’re needed otherwise there might not be enough people.

    1. healthy

      Great points Anne! Speaking with the instructor prior to class is essential. All of our trainers know who is brand new in class and they make a big effort to help the new kids feel welcome and at ease. Even simple things like explaining what to wear or where to put your belongings can make a difference to nerves. Fitness instructors see a wide range of fitness levels, experience levels, and personality types. Don’t ever feel embarrassed or worried about what the trainer thinks – we love teaching new people and spreading our love for fitness! Thanks for your helpful comments, Anne.

  3. healthy

    Great advice, Richard! I wholeheartedly agree! One of the main reasons why people give up a new exercise program is that they go too hard, too frequently, too soon. It’s best to aim for three sessions per week, work at a moderate pace and just ‘tick off’ the sessions for the first 4 weeks. Doing 5 insane sessions in your first week will set you up to be sore and unhappy and ready to quit. Thanks for your comment!

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