Once high school ended for me and college began I stepped away from organized sports. I gained the freshmen 15, sophomore 15, junior 15… you get the idea.
During college I joined the gym on campus and I would force myself to 30 long painful minutes on the elliptical. Barely breaking a sweat, I would consider my workout done for the day.
After college, and access to a free gym disappeared I decided to join the local gym near my parent’s house. I would find myself aimless walking around- not quite sure where to begin.
From the safety of my treadmill I was able to watch members of the gym participate in group fitness classes. I was finally intrigued enough to give it a shot and step outside of my box.
The programs that were offered at my gym were from a company called Les Mills. Les Mills offers group style classes from cardio focus to weight focus. I was hooked. So hooked that after a few years of being a member in group classes, I decided to start teaching them as well.
While some people are able to get up and go to the gym on their own, others need a little push to get there and that is where group fitness can help!
Below are 5 Benefits (and tips!) to Group Fitness
The Team—since these classes are based on a schedule you start to know the people that frequent them. This becomes motivation in itself as you now feel like part of a group. Try to introduce yourself to the people around you- the next thing you know you will have a good group of friends that will motivate you to show up!
The Moves—Within each class you will start to learn the “core” moves. As you continue to come back you will master these moves, and be able to grow with weights, flexibility, etc. The classes will work for someone that has never stepped foot inside a gym to a person who already goes every day.
The Accountability- You will get a good workout in. Having the energy of people around you, a teacher leading your moves, and upbeat music will get your blood pumping. Sometimes I find that working out on my own causes me to pick the lighter weight, run a little slower, or decide that 20 minutes was just enough. Being committed to the full length of the class will insure that you get a full work out in—I mean that is why you came to the gym right?
The Challenge- A lot of people can find that they end up doing the same routine every time they come to the gym. With group fitness you have so many outlets and different classes to try! Or if you are in a fitness plateau forcing yourself to try different classes in a group setting could push you further than you knew!
The Teacher— You will start to know the different teachers, and their styles. I found that once I found someone that I clicked with I would make all the efforts to go to their classes. Introduce yourself, let them know if you have any injuries, something you don’t understand. The teacher is a key part to seeing results in these group classes and it’s important to have a relationship with them.
Group classes come in every shape and size. Les Mills is a large company that has different programs, but it might even be trying an outdoor boot camp with your closest friends, or signing up for class you never thought you would try!
Julie Wigley is ABC2's Assistant Creative Services Director. She's also a group fitness instructor of CX Worx at Merritt Clubs.