Sunday 25 February 2018

Karl Henry: How to choose a fitness class that's right for you

Karl Henry tells you how to pick the right class in order to achieve your fitness goals

Step up: Classes are a very cost effective way to get active in a group setting says Karl Henry. Photo: Mark Nixon
Step up: Classes are a very cost effective way to get active in a group setting says Karl Henry. Photo: Mark Nixon

Karl Henry

Exercise and the exercise industry are booming right now, it has become a growth industry as people begin to take better care of their bodies and their minds.

With more people getting active, there has also been a big increase in the number and type of exercise classes around the country, too. Classes are fantastic, they provide a cost-efficient way to get active in a group scenario, helping to keep you motivated, focused and also providing a great social opportunity to meet new people, too. I get lots of people enquiring about what are the best classes for them, so I thought today that I would bring you a column with some simple tips on what to look out for when choosing the right class for you, especially now that the summer is over, the children have gone back to school and your routine is starting to get back to normal. Now is the time to knuckle down and get fit!


When you get qualified as instructor, you must get your insurance before you start training clients, both in a personal training and a class scenario. Different policies will have different terms and conditions. My own says that I can't work with more than 30 people for a class. For me, that's not an issue as I don't do groups - but if you are in a class of more than 30, you should ensure that their policy covers them for accidents in groups. This is a really important aspect for all classes, especially the more extreme.

First Aid

Another crucial point is whether or not the instructor has a first aid qualification. The basic fitness qualifications do not have first aid as part of the course, so instructors need to do another course to get it. We also have to renew our first aid qualification every two to three years depending on what qualification.

In our industry, we will have to deal with sprains, strains, fainting and various other injuries at some stage in our careers and possibly, but hopefully not, some more serious conditions, so first aid training is crucial to have.

It might also be worth asking if they have a defibrillator on-site where the class takes place. These are expensive to buy, but do give you peace of mind in case of a serious emergency.


The third most important ­factor in finding a good class is, who is taking it? Do they look fit? Is their physique one you would like? Are they friendly or a bully? Are they giving individual advice to each person in the class or just doing their own workout? Are they qualified? How long have they been teaching? Do you feel motivated and focused when you meet them? Have they asked you about any injuries or medical conditions that you may have? All of these questions are things you should be asking yourself, as they are really important!

Class size

This, I feel, is one of the most important elements when it comes to choosing the best class for you. Some people love big classes and some love smaller classes, the reality is that the class size changes the attention level of the instructor. No matter how good you are as a teacher, if you have a big group, you can't give everyone attention. As a participant, its the attention you want, as this means you are doing things correctly. So look for smaller classes as opposed to bigger ones, this will mean that you get lots of attention and attention is good! Or if you are in a big class, enquire about the ratio of clients to instructors. If we have larger groups, we will have more trainers, aiming for a ratio of 1 trainer to 15 people.

Class physique

Now here is a surprising point: different exercise styles and methods of training will give you different results in terms of physique, shape and tone. Kettlebells and trx will give you more of an athletic look, while weights and bootcamp tend to give you more of a toned, shapely look. Now, that's a pretty bold statement and a very, very short summary that won't be the same for everyone.

There are many different factors that will affect the results you get but that's a pretty good guide from my experience over the years. When you go in the class, look around you at the physiques of the people who have been there a long time, how do they look? Is their physique one you would like yourself? Of course, different body types and shapes will react differently to exercise, but by looking around, you will get an indication of the results that this type of class will give. If the shape is not what you are looking for, then this isn't the class for you.

Can you try one for free?

We allow potential members to try our classes for free as we are confident in our product and the fact that the classes are really good.

So if you are interested in a class, you should ask to try it out before you pay, then you will be able to see exactly what type of class it is, what the instructor is like and if you like it or not.

To get the best results and to ensure that you will attend the classes in the long run, it's really important that you like both! Classes are amazing and a great way to get you fit for the autumn, this simple guide will help you to choose the best class for you!

Irish Independent

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