I am fortunate enough to live close to one of my former college roommates and someone who is, furthermore, one of my closest friends. We found each other to be good partners in the gym and started working out together. She recently tested that friendship by getting me to join this particularly difficult core and body-sculpting fitness class with her.

I'm kidding. But, really, I struggled in that class like no other, and the surrounding chorus of grunts and huffs confirmed that I wasn't alone in that experience. At the end of the day (although definitely not at the end of that one), I'm glad I pushed myself further and actually had a good time.

Starting workout and fitness classes can be the worst, especially if you know no one else there. Thankfully, I had my friend, but I still felt most of the symptoms of experimenting with new classes and gyms. In particular, I felt the phases one usually goes through when starting a new fitness program. The struggle, as always, was real.

1. Taking in the other people there

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Walking into a new class is intimidating on the first day of school or, even, in college lecture halls. But, add buff fitness buffs and 20-pound weights to the mix, and the whole thing can be a bit overwhelming.

I generally avoid set classes for working out for the very reason that I get nervous working out in such close proximity to other people, especially other fit people. I felt happy this time because of my friend and the general openness of the other students. In general, though, this part adds the most pressure.

2. Immediately loving your trainer's vibe

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When my trainer walked in, I immediately felt like I was in the most capable hands. This isn't usually always the case, but if the trainer doesn't make me feel comfortable, the rest of the phases below usually don't happen anyways.

There's something about someone about to be impossibly happy about the worst kind of pain and physical exertion that brings me comfort. I don't know about you, but trainers that smile through the struggle are the best kind.

3. Wondering what all the fuss is about

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The biggest element that throws me off at the start of a class is the dynamic stretching. I'm led through a false sense of security before the real mayhem begins. I always find myself, somewhere around the halfway point of a fitness class, hating the start-of-class-me for being so naive.

4. Realizing what all the fuss is about

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Like I said, eventually the "work" part of the workout kicks in and my arms turn into jelly doughnuts. I get exhausted from the constant changes in the workout, and in particular, I start getting angry at the peppiness. My anger is uncalled for and I generally end up regretting it by the time I get to stretching.

5. Trying to both breath and see your form in the mirror

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There's a point in the workout when I get serious. I start checking my form and making the corrections that I need to make. My favorite kind of trainers are the ones that walk around and make minute changes to forms and positions. I was lucky enough to have one of those this class, but trying to both succeed and survive became a trying battle.

6. Stretch while feeling your body go into a different dimension

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Stretching is golden. Stretching is bliss. Stretching is golden bliss.

I always imagine myself to have gone through some rigorous ballet program in the last hour (which included my trying to clench everything to stay up during a 30-second plank). Then, the stretching allows me to truly reveal my graceful form.

In reality, I look like a mediocre dancer who started taking classes out of necessity for their cousin's wedding. Either way, it feels awesome.

7. Feel a strange urge to come back the next week

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Like I said, by the end of the class, I felt awesome and truly felt like coming back. The entire class is a rollercoaster with wildly swinging emotions.

I am excited to go back the next week and push my physical ability further. But, I also know that I'll be seriously craving a sofritas bowl and a nap immediately after. And, really, is that so wrong?