Are you a lone wolf in the gym? You know the type I’m talking about, you train solo. The headphones go in and the outside world goes away. You may not even talk to anyone the entire time you’re in the gym besides muttering hello to the front desk staff as you quickly walk by and perhaps the odd inquiry to another member, “how many more sets do you have?” Well guess what lone wolf, a group fitness class just might be something you should consider adding into your weekly training schedule. Yes, that’s what I said…even you muscle mountain of a person, even you. Now you might be asking yourself, aren’t group fitness classes just for people who want to do step aerobics while attempting to make the leg warmer go mainstream again? Well, not so much anymore.
The 80’s may have imprinted upon us the image of the bubbly fitness instructor who wears a headband and lycra while high kicking to the guilty pleasure of 80’s music, but it’s the 21st century now people and the group fitness class has expanded well beyond its choreography, step-class beginnings. Group classes now cover all styles of training no matter what you’re into: high intensity exercise circuits, cross- training, kettlebell training, boxing, spinning, step, choreography/dance, yoga, pilates…the list goes on and on! Here are some good reasons to add some group classes into your training schedule:
- Getting together with a group in a fun and positive atmosphere can really develop a sense of camaraderie and community. Don’t underestimate the importance of community and a sense of belonging to our overall health. You can lift all the heavy weights and eat all the vitamins you want but you can’t replace the positive health benefits from being around other like-minded people. And for those of you who struggle to get to the gym, having a group of people there waiting for you can really help to hold you accountable. We all need support in doing the right thing and a group class definitely offers lots of it.
- Most people drop out of their training program because they’re bored. The same routine multiple times per week, although having its benefits can also become mind numbing. The key to training is to strike the right balance between consistency and variety. Enough consistency so that the body has time to adapt to the forces being placed on it coupled with enough variety so the program remains interesting and the body never gets too comfortable and stops adapting all together. If you’re somebody who comes to the gym a couple of times per week and works out solo with the same routine, even try adding just one group class into your schedule each week to shake things up and give you that variety your body needs while having fun.
Safe and Effective Training
- I admire the people who come to the gym to workout even if they have a limited knowledge of what they’re doing, but let’s face it, unfortunately many just end up spinning their wheels and not really seeing progress because they’re not training as effectively as they could. Adding a group class into your routine can be what you need in order to learn proper exercise technique. Once learned, you can then incorporate these exercises into the workouts you perform on your own. Normally I encourage anyone who is serious about getting in shape to hire a personal trainer for some one-on-one training, even if it’s just for a couple of sessions, so they learn safe and effective technique. But I also understand that this may not be economically feasible for everyone, but taking a group class is often cheaper than a personal training session and so that may be a better option for some people.
- Sometimes the best intentions to go to the gym can be high jacked by a last-second meeting or even a case of the procrastination bug. But having something scheduled into your agenda that has a definite start and end time can be just what you need to pull yourself away from whatever you’re doing so that you actually get to the gym. Classes are often offered on the same days and times each week so it’s easy to pick a few of them and slot them into your schedule. Last second meeting? Sorry, I have a prior engagement that I have to get to. Let’s do that meeting tomorrow.
Besides being a regular contributor to the Function Health Club blog, Jeff Doyle is also the co-owner of Function Health Club as well as a Personal Trainer, BCRPA Trainer of Fitness Leaders, Agatsu Kettlebell Instructor and Older Adult Wellness Practitioner. He also has a Bachelor of Human Kinetics. You can contact Jeff directly at firstname.lastname@example.org