First Timer Scoop for the Charlotte Fitness Studios

Gym anxiety is real, y’all. That awkward feeling where you’re trying to act like you know what’s going on when you’re really wondering “what do I do with my hands.”

Are you in need of a little encouragement to squash the “first timer” intimidation factor and show up like a “regular” at one of the many fitness studios in the Charlotte area? Count on Scoop to get you through it with how to sign up, what to bring, when to show, and even some studio specific insider tips.


The Bar Method South Park

the bar method
The Bar Method Studio

How To Sign Up Through their scheduling website ( or  mobile app (  New Client Special Package, $99 for 30 days of unlimited classes, is the perfect motivation to jumpstart you to wellness. Go to here ( to view what to expect.
What To Wear Wear a top that covers your midsection, pants that cover your knees, and any socks that cover the entire foot. Bar Method does sell grip socks for $12 at the studio, but special grip socks are not required, any socks will do.

What To Bring  Bring water with you. Only clear liquids in capped bottles are allowed into the studio rooms. Everything else will be provided to you in class. Don’t forget a pair of socks, any socks that cover your entire foot. Each studio room has one-inch thick padding underneath a very soft carpeted floor. This feature is important to protecting your joints. So, because hygiene is important, socks are an absolute requirement.
Pre-Class Prep First time students are required to arrive 15 minutes early to class to complete a New Client form and receive a brief tour of the facility from one of our staff and meet your teacher. First time clients are not permitted into class once class has started.There is a locker room to change into your workout clothes, and a vanity counter that offers complimentary products to freshen up after class. Free lockers keep your belongings safe while you enjoy your workout. Complimentary towels are available.

Your instructor will set up your weights and discuss any injuries before class. All other props will be provided to you, as you will be guided by your instructor for the entire 60 minutes.

Insider Tips

  • There is a 7 floor parking deck in Sharon Square, behind the studio. Two entires to the parking deck are on Ashley Park Ln, on either side of The Rusty Bucket entrance.
  • Sign up in advance through the website to reserve your spot in class
  • Safety is always first! Be prepared to hear your name and get hands on adjustments from the instructor. Bar Method is uniquely designed around the bodies anatomy and follows physical therapy guidelines. The instructors continually provide individual instruction to each client in class, at all times! From your first class to your 500th class, the instructors will continually give you attention as if you have your own personal trainer.
  • Take more than one class. It takes more than one class to see and feel any significant change. Challenge yourself to take at least 5 classes (our new client package is just for you!) You’ll see big changes in the mirror and in your ability to focus more clearly throughout the day.
The Bar Method



Orangetheory Fitness Charlotte  (4 studios)

OrangeTheory Fitness
OrangeTheory Fitness

How To Sign Up Your first workout is complimentary, but a credit card is required to reserve your spot. After that, call to book a class at one of the many local studios (Arboretum, Quail Corners, Southend, and Coming Soon: Ballantyne) and plan on arriving 30 minutes prior to class start for a quick introduction. Orangtheory fitness experts will get you set up with a heart rate monitor you can borrow for the first session.

What To Wear Simple – comfortable workout clothes & walking/running shoes.

What To Bring Water and a sweat towel.

Pre-Class Prep Check in at the front desk and staff will give you a quick tour of the studio. There are cubbies for personal belongings but be sure to bring your own lock if you want to secure them. After that, you’ll complete a client intake form and chat with the staff on your fitness goals and what you’re looking to accomplish with Orangetheory’s help. Staff will then set you up with a heart rate monitor and give you an introduction to the class with a rowing demonstration. This will give them the opportunity to correct your form. Once this is done, you’ll have a brief introduction to your class “coach” who will guide you through the entire session. Once the session is over, you’ll receive an email detailing out your workout summary and results from OTbeat, Orangetheory’s heart rate monitor system.

Insider Tips

  1. Carry your water bottle and sweat towel with you at all times – you’ll need it.
  2. The South End studio has more parking located on Iverson Way in the gravel lot.
  3. Switch up your workouts by starting in different places – either the rower or the treadmill
  4. Most members only arrive with a set of keys. OTF will store them at their front desk.
  5. Each studio is equipped with 1-2 shower rooms.
  6. Each treadmill has a fan – use it to keep cool throughout your workout.
  7. Stay for the stretch. Cooling down is one of the most important parts of the workout.
  8. Check out the glass walls in each studio for need-to-know news and events.



IM=X Pilates

How To Sign Up For first time members, IM=X offers a free introductory class (look for them sprinkled throughout the schedule) OR an introductory session which is just $25 for an hour with a trainer and a $25 credit towards the purchase of a package or membership. IM=X encourages reservations for classes but doesn’t require them. Since classes are small (normally 10 people) the reservation is helpful, especially during peak class times. The number of spots left within each class is always visible online – but, keep in mind, a paid package or membership is required in order to reserve online with the exception of the introductory classes.

What To Wear Simple – clothes you feel comfortable to move and stretch in. Sticky socks are required for Xercizer and Tower classes but lucky for first timers, regular socks are allowed. Sticky socks are available for purchase at the studio. TRX classes are the only ones that require sneakers.

IM=X Pilates
IM=X Pilates

What To Bring IM=X offers everything you need for their classes including yoga mats and water fountains. Bottled water is available for purchase if needed or you may bring your own.

Pre-Class Prep Once you arrive, initial next to your name on the list waiting on the front counter. If you are a drop in, simply add your name to the list. IM=X adds each name to their online records. After signing in, drop all personal belongings off at the cubbies near the front and back of the studio. The instructor will then let you know what equipment you’ll need to collect at your spot.

Insider Tips

  1. Take advantage of the wait list. Since classes can be signed up for 2 weeks in advance they fill up quickly. By signing up for the wait list, this will allow you to receive a text or email when a spot opens up to confirm or cancel your reservation.
  2. IM=X is a small studio so while there is no way to really “hide” in a class, it is easy to feel like you’re in your own little world or “on your own little island,” especially during classes like Xercizer that requires your own machine. This offers you the ability to focus on you for the 55 minute class and leave feeling energized, stretched, and destressed.



Hillard Studio Method

Hillard Studio Method
Hillard Studio Method

How To Sign Up Through their website or mobile app. Packages include a New Client Special (10 classes in 60 days) as well as Monthly, Unlimited, and Class Packages ranging from 1-20 classes valid for up to a year.

What To Wear Fitted pants and a workout tank/t-shirt that moves. No socks, no shoes, no nonsense.

What To Bring Yourself – Hillard Studio Method provides everything else you’ll need during class.

Hillard Studio Method
Hillard Studio Method

Pre Class Prep If you’re a first timer, stop by the front desk to fill out some paperwork. Your trainer will then talk about any goals and walk you through any modifications you might need to take advantage of during the class. Store your personal belongings in the cubby area and then look to your instructor for any equipment you might need to gather for the class.

Hillard Studio Method
Hillard Studio Method

Insider Tips

  1. Fuel up pre-class like Liz, Clary, and all of the other trainers with an HSM Signature Smoothie, With 27g of protein, 20g of fiber and 7 servings of organic greens, this smoothie works with the method to give you the body and energy you’ve always wanted.
  2. Arrive early and stay after. HSM’s cubby area tends to turn into a social hour and trainers are always eager to chat.
  3. Refuel like an HSM pro with a post workout Trilogy Kombucha and a Think Thin Bar, both available at the studio. On Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, (Luna’s) Living Kitchen’s Juice Truck is parked outside from 8am until noon so you can stock up on organic, good-for-you juice.



Core Revolution

Core Revolution

How To Sign Up:  Go to and select Login and sign up as a new customer. Once you register, select the class time you would like, pick a seat, confirm your form of payment then you’re all set.
What To Wear: Overall: athletic wear. Women mostly wear leggings, capris, shorts, tanks, t-shirts, long sleeve shirts. Men wear shorts, pants, t-shirts, sleeveless shirts, long sleeve shirts. Don’t forget socks for cycle class.

~ Cycle – We supply cycle shoes at no charge. You are welcome to bring your own cycle shoes with the universal clip that will fit into the clip on the opposite side of our pedals. We often recommend wearing pants/shorts/capris long enough to reduce the friction of your legs against the bike seat during class. 
~ Barre – we get a lot of “do I need socks?” Our mats are thick rubber so socks aren’t necessary but you are welcome to wear them.
~ Rep & Ride – wear sneakers. This circuit training class is a lot of movement so comfortable and supportive close-toed shoes are required.


What most people bring: Water & Sneakers for Rep & Ride
We supply: water bottles at the front desk ($2), lockers that lock,  cycle shoes no charge, towels in all class rooms, Two showers (with complimentary shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, hair dryer, deodorant, towels)

Pre-Class Prep: Make sure you are hydrated! If you are new, come in 15-20 minutes early to get a studio tour and set up your bike if taking cycle. 


Insider Tips

We have an interactive software system in Rep & Ride and cycle classes that tracks your performance in class. To get accurate calorie, power, and point calculations register as a new customer on our website and fill out the biometric information (age, height, weight, gender).  All of these factors contribute to the accuracy of your performance and give you a good idea of your personalized progress over time! You will receive and email after each class with all of your stats and you can even see where you stand among all out top contenders on our leaderboard page not he website. 

Another tip: your privacy settings manage the information you choose to display on the tv screen during class. If you would like your profile to display a nickname and add a personal picture (under my profile) during class, make sure you do so before class so that it displays properly. You can also choose to remove your name so that it just displays your seat number. 
Lastly, let the instructor know how your class experience went. All of our instructors love hearing feedback from class participants and are available to answer any questions you have. 



Flywheel & Flybarre Charlotte

Flywheel tips from instructor Matt Yost and instructor Jenna Bertram:

1. Sign up online in advance and note where you want to sit in the stadium.  For your first ride, you may want to hide in the back, but having a clear view of your instructor is your best option so you can see them for reference and they can see you to guide you better with form cues or assistance if needed.

2.  Make sure to enter your shoe size (generally our cycle shoes run the same size as your tennis shoes).  Wearing cycling shoes will take your cycling class to the next level.  If you have never worn them, be prepared to get a better workout for your hamstrings and booty!

3. Plan to arrive 15-20 before the start of class. Getting to class nice and early gives you a chance to beat the class rush and the front desk is able to give you plenty of undivided help to assist you in checking in and showing you where everything is located (bathrooms, changing rooms, lockers, studio). This also allows you to be ready to enter the studio as soon as it’s cleaned and ready to enter. This will allow the instructor and/or a facility coordinator to properly set you up on your bike, explain the class structure, and answer any questions you may have.

4. The only things you really need to bring are proper workout attire (form fitting clothes that you feel comfortable in), a water bottle (we have a filtered water machine), and make sure you bring socks (altho you can buy some at the studio if you forget). Towels and seat pads (good for first few times) are provided.

5. Remember you are in control at all times. Be easy on yourself for your first ride. Give yourself more recovery when needed, take options to stay seated when needed, and take water breaks frequently. We keep the studio dimly lit for a reason. There should be no pressure to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing. But we want you to feel challenged during your ride and feel accomplished after your ride. Just remember dial back the resistance as needed and slow your legs as needed. No one else but you knows the resistance and speed you are riding at but you. It is 100% your ride.

6. Try to enjoy your first experience. I always tell first time riders not to take it too seriously. Don’t overwhelm yourself with your score. Try to pay attention to the instructions, connect with the music, and just have fun. The numbers will always be there and help you keep track of your progress, but ultimately it’s about how you feel. At Flywheel we want to make cardio fitness an electrifying experience.

7.  Post workout, we offer showers with all things you need including Bliss Body care products, bath towels, dry shampoo, spray deodorant and hair dryers. And don’t forget to check you stats and see how far you went, how many calories you burned and where you rank in the class, plus so much more!



Xtend Barre Charlotte 

Xtend Barre Charlotte
Xtend Barre Charlotte

How To Sign Up Online or through their super convenient Xtend Barre App. They offer a New Client Special of two weeks unlimited classes for just $49. Month to month memberships range from $79 (4 classes) to $169 (unlimited classes). Check out their What to Expect From Your First Xtend Barre Class video here.

What To Wear Fitted leggings or capris, a supportive sport’s bra, the top of your choice, and grip socks. Grip socks are available for $14 at the studio & the experts recommend buying a nice pair from the beginning – unfortunately, not all grip socks are created equal.

What To Bring Grip socks & water. Xtend Barre provides everything else you’ll need for your session.

Xtend Barre Charlotte
Xtend Barre Charlotte

Pre-Class Prep Give yourself 10-15 minutes before class to arrive, park, and check in at the front desk. Entry isn’t permitted after 5-10 minutes of the start of class so it is extremely important to be on time. Xtend Barre provides cubbies for personal belongings. Once you drop them off, check the chalkboard for your teacher’s name and the equipment you’ll need for class (mat, weights, ball, etc). Store your equipment under the barre and make your way to the center of the room as each Xtend Barre class starts center floor. Be sure to advise your instructor before class of any injuries or other circumstances that might require modification – they are more than happy to personalize the moves to what is right for you.

Insider Tips 

  1. Parking is tricky – skip the first floor of the deck and go straight to the second or third.
  2. Once parked, head to the entrance between Hickory Tavern and West Elm – Xtend Barre faces the Little Sugar Creek Greenway so you’ll have to enter from the back side of the building.
  3. Don’t be surprised by the French ballet terms thrown around during class and don’t freak out ~ the instructor will explain what they mean and what is required for each.
  4. The back barre is a bit higher than the rest – only head there if you’re taller than 5’9″.
  5. Come ready to sweat – Xtend Barre workouts involve both cardio and sculpting.
  6. Don’t give up after just one class – if you stick with it, you’ll be a pro in no time.
  7. Don’t be embarrassed to modify the moves – you’re still guaranteed a good workout.
  8. Go for the 1-2 lb weights and leave the 3 lb on the rack. When sculpting long, lean muscles this is all you’ll need.
  9. The instructors normally demo a few times then walk around the class. Take advantage of when they help you correct your form to execute each move properly. Their verbal cues will also help you to get the most out of the workout so listen carefully.

Now then, aren’t you feeling better about giving these studios a go? Scoop does too – see you there!