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My First Group Class

By Coach Denis

This is the fourth blog in my series recounting my experiences of joining Catalyst. Here are the first three:

Do I Belong Here?

What’s My Next Step?

What Have I Gotten Into?

Today, I am sharing how my first group class began with nerves and trepidation, but ended with smiles and high fives!

My First Group Class

My hand is on the door handle, my palms are sweaty and I’m nervous. I take a deep breath and remind myself that I can do this. I remind myself that I need to do this. For me, this is about more than a good workout, it is about hope. Hope that I will be accepted into a community of like-minded, fitness motivated people. The door opens, and here I go. 

As I enter, I head into the lobby, hang up my jacket and change my shoes. During my ‘No Sweat Intro’, I had learned that outside shoes should be left in the lobby and gym shoes should be worn inside, especially during bad weather days (it had rained that morning). So, I bring my gym bag and water bottle along, with the intent of placing the bag in the designated area. I’m only inside about five steps when I hear a voice. Immediately, I think, ’Oh great, did I break a rule or some kind of unwritten gym code??’

“You’re Going to Love it Here!”

I look up from trying to slink in, and realize that there are several people coming towards me offering handshakes with smiles on their faces. “Welcome to Catalyst!” they say, as they take turns shaking my hand.  “You’re gonna love it here”, I heard a few times. In my head, I’m thinking ‘I’m not so sure, I mean this is attempt number 3’. After greeting those who came over, I notice the electric energy of the group as they laughed and chatted together. They all seem so excited to be there. I try to remain and look cool,  calm, and collected like I’ve done this before. 

“Ok, noon group, let’s get started!’”, I hear and look up to see Coach Jess calling everyone to the chalkboard. We all shuffle over to the board where the day’s workout was written. Hoping to stay inconspicuous, I hung back.  It is not long before I hear, “Let’s welcome Denis to the best group of the day!” Everyone turns and says “Welcome!” even though the majority had already introduced themselves. Jess then explains how the class will be run, what the goals are and suggests to everyone, including me, what we should be aiming for with regards to the workout. 

In a flash, everyone grabs a barbell and heads to their spots to get ready for the warmup. I find the back corner, place the barbell down and wait for further instruction. Two members closer to my age immediately set up next to me and begin encouraging me. “Have fun with this and just do what you can’” they say. The warmup starts with a short run, and immediately everyone is encouraging me and showing me where the 400-meter marker is. By this time, even though I’m probably running faster than I should, I’m starting to relax and feel welcome. 

This really is the ‘Catalyst Family’

I don’t remember what the workout was that day, to be honest. I do know that I had a great workout without overdoing it. I knew that Coach Jess was there supporting and correcting me when I needed an adjustment. I knew that when I wasn’t sure what movement was next, the two guys next to me pointed me in the right direction before I could even read it on the board. I also knew, without a doubt, that I couldn’t wait to get back. I had found something that I knew I could be a part of. I understood why members and coaches call this the ‘Catalyst Family’.

I kept going back, twice a week initially, then 5 or 6 times. I kept going to the back corner (later to be affectionately known as ‘old man’s corner’), but after a few weeks I was no longer hiding. I was engaged, I was asking questions, I was learning.  I was excited, and I became one of the first people to welcome any new athletes to the gym because I remembered how important that was to me.

My history of coaching hockey, baseball and soccer had instilled a capacity and interest to help others, and suddenly I realized this was the perfect opportunity to do that again.  Once again, I found a sport that I would love to share with others. Once again, Catalyst provided support and encouragement, leading me on a path to coaching  that I had never imagined.

Join our family!

If you need to find an environment of support, encouragement, learning and a strong sense of community – Catalyst is your place. Book your No Sweat Intro today and find out how to join us!

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