Exercising alone has its advantages: You pick the playlist, you set the pace, you watch Bravo on the treadmill guilt-free. But most of us are much likelier to push ourselves under the watchful eyes of an instructor. Though workout classes can be intimidating, rest assured: Every other person in there is thinking these exact same thoughts.
1. "There's no way I can do that."
We all have our strengths, and maybe channeling Cirque de Soleil isn't yours. What matters is not how skilled you are at pulling off a tricky move, but that you A) try, and B) don't beat yourself up when you don't get it right away. Remember the first time you rode a bike, and how literally every time before that you were definitely not riding a bike, until suddenly you were? It's like that. There were training wheels then, and there are modifications now, like stepping onto the box or using a prop — and you should feel free to ask for them.
2. "I'm a human waterfall."
If you're working hard, you're probably pretty sweaty. Just embrace the fact that you're working hard and it shows. That guy who basically watered the floor during push-ups? He's not too concerned, and you shouldn't be either. Also, if there's one thing Lost imparted, it's that sweat is sexy.
3. "Please put on your shirt, kthanksbai."
Eventually, someone will strip down to her sports bra or show up in those shorts that are barely bigger than underwear, and you may start thinking about how she is stronger/skinnier/more genetically blessed than you are. But that is a waste of energy you could be using to power through the next round of lunges. Both of you showed up to class, and both of you are sticking it out. There are so many reasons she could be wearing minimal clothing — maybe she has a rash she's trying to air out, or sweaty shirts give her bacne, or she's in the early stages of pregnancy and wants her baby to be better able to hear Rihanna. Whatever the reason, don't let her body make you feel bad about your own.
4. "This is mortifying."
Say your instructor asks you to demonstrate a partner move with her, or you're learning a cardio hip-hop routine you swore you saw on So You Think You Can Dance? last week. No one will feel embarrassed for you if you're not embarrassed for yourself. Ask yourself what Beyoncé would do, then do that. If she can wear a see-through dress and a high ponytail to a gala, you can attempt a booty pop in the back of a dark room.
5. "How is this class not over yet?"
Don't wear a watch, don't look at the clock, don't even look at the timer if you're in a circuit class. Working out is hard, and it'll probably never fly by like binge-watching House of Cards does. But sometimes, if you focus all your energy on your form, if you accept that your thigh muscles are twitchy and your arms are very tired and sweat is dripping down your temples, if you let yourself feel the pain versus running from it, you can forget about your to-do list and what you're going to make for dinner and get a taste of what everyone's always reposting #MotivationMonday quotes about: living in the moment. And, more importantly, keeping on keeping on — even when it's uncomfortable.