1. You tend to exercise harder and longer when in a group compared to when working out solo. Why? The music is still going, everyone else is still going, or your subconscious may be saying to you “you will not give up before he or she does”, “OMG, I’m younger than them, I should be doing more”, or you may just be having fun!
2. There is a sense of camaraderie and fun when you’re all going through the same thing, feeling the same pain, working towards the same sense of achievement at the end. One of the hard truths about exercising solo is that it’s easy to give up. No one will stop you if you do five minutes on the treadmill, two bicep curls and one sit-up, and then go home. However with group exercise, you’ve got the support and motivation from others. It can end up being a very social occasion. In fact many people make new friends at classes, which in turn can be another reason to keep going. Instructors also bring a passion to the workout. This is often the spur that pushes you that little bit further and pushes out of your comfort zone to get results.
3. You get a safe and structured workout in a class environment; each session is planned out to include a warm up with less intense moves, last for around 5-7 minutes. Followed by the main body of the session where you work up that sweat, and finishing with a warm-down and stretch, otherwise know as the “cool- down”. During the session, your instructor will give you coaching points, to ensure you are exercising correctly, and technique points so you know every exercise you are doing is being done perfectly. With this instruction and coaching you can help avoid injuries and long-term damage to joints.
There is so much variety or you to pick from, so it’s unlikely the answer is no. Whether you want something sweaty or relaxing, floor–based or aerobic; Or whether you want to learn circus skills, yoga, Zumba, burlesque or mountain climbing, someone out there is teaching it. It just takes a bit of research to find it.
Group exercise is for you if you want to:
It’s especially for you if you can’t stick to solo workout sessions! My suggestion to you – If you like the sound of it, try it.
Your “leader” or instructor should be qualified to instruct. Don’t be afraid to go up to the instructor before class and ask about their qualifications, how long they’ve been teaching and what can they teach. Or if that sounds a bit much, if you’re doing classes at a gym, arrive early and take a look on the wall that has all the instructors/trainers and their certifications (most gyms have one of those walls!). Important to note – Personal Trainer is a group exercise instructor and should not be confused with one. Also, not all instructors are equal. Just because they can teach Body Pump, doesn’t mean they can teach boxing for instance. Or vice versa! Your group instructor should be able to do what they’re asking you to do. Don’t stick with someone who tells you to do 20 lunges on each leg, stick with one who does 20 lunges on each leg with you! Lastly, your instructor should make sure you’re doing each move correctly. After all, there’s no point in doing those 20 lunges if you’re not doing them right! If the instructor isn’t giving personal recommendations (unless you’re in a very advanced class), that may be a sign to look for a more supportive instructor.
Maggie has been a group fitness instructor for 10 years and class participant for the 20 years prior. Her passion continues today as she now remains an Instructor, but at her very own group fitness studio in South Australia.
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