If the pandemic did one good thing for us, it’s made us into a slightly more health-conscious society. In fact, roughly half of Americans decided to try to lose weight in 2020!
Well, one of the best and most popular ways to reach your health and fitness goals is with company, and with the pandemic slowing down, that’s easier than ever. Let’s talk about the major benefits of group fitness classes and why you should try one for yourself!
How is Group Fitness Different?
If you’re wondering how group fitness is different from just going to the gym and working out, we have a lot to tell you! Group fitness classes are available at most gyms across the US because they are so popular and effective for promoting fit and healthy lifestyles.
These classes, while extremely varied, offer a structured program for gym members who want to participate, and they will perform various exercises week after week in an attempt to build upon their fitness as a group.
There will be an instructor, a certified fitness professional, who will lead your class and give instructions and demonstrations to the group throughout the course. They will be able to help you with any issues that arise, critique your form, and keep you motivated throughout the class.
Participants will work individually, in most cases, and provide support and camaraderie to one another as the session goes on while performing the same workout.
Gyms will offer varied schedules for any member who wants to work out before work, after work, or in the middle of the day. Overall, it’s a fun and interactive way to get a safe and healthy workout into your regular schedule.
Benefits of Group Fitness
There are so many benefits to this style of training. Humans are social creatures who tend to thrive in group environments. There have even been anecdotes of people working out harder when their dog walks in the room, so imagine how big of a difference it is with a group of peers. That brings us to our number one benefit.
1. Performance Enhancement
People who work out in a group tend to burn more calories, boost their motivation, and have more fun. This shows up in performance as well. Those who work out with a more capable partner saw increases in their plank times of over 24 seconds on average.
The mental aspect of fitness is a huge part of achieving your goals. If you walk in to do the same solo routine every day, it gets old.
Don’t underestimate the importance of having support in fitness. The most important part of any exercise routine after safety is adherence, as it’s the best way to maximize the long-term health benefits.
Well, who is going to adhere to something if they don’t enjoy it? Could you push yourself to the gym and walk around in silence doing the same activities for an hour a day? Some of us can, and some of us think we can, but after a few months, it gets old.
The only way to see increases in your performance is with time, consistency, and effort. The absolute best way to maximize all three of those is with motivation and a regular schedule. Classes tend to offer both!
2. Safety and Proper Form
Not all of us can afford personal trainers, and many of us don’t have the time or patience to do all of the necessary research to become fitness experts.
When you attend a group fitness class, you will have a professional instructor and be surrounded by peers who likely have more experience than you. You will be given demonstrations and directions on proper form, you’ll be able to ask questions as you need them, and you will have plenty of people around you to give you tips as you need them.
If that sounds more like a deterrent, it shouldn’t be. Proper form is the pillar of a healthy relationship with fitness, and people who are experienced in the industry know the challenges of getting everything right, and are often more than willing to help!
Don’t underestimate the importance of proper form, either. If you go into the gym without a clear idea of what you’re doing and you wind up getting injured, that will guarantee that you won’t be able to adhere to your program.
3. Classes Offer Structure
One challenge in fitness is having to come up with our own plan, sticking to it, and hoping that it works. When you take classes, the thinking is done for you and you just have to go along with it.
Each class is also done at a certain time, often once or twice a week. This gives you a designated schedule to ensure that your workouts are done on a consistent basis.
One of the challenges of exercise adherence is that it’s too easy to say “Oh, I’ll do it after work today,” or “Oh, maybe tomorrow.” Having a set schedule offers a certain amount of accountability. When you work out solo, you only have to tell yourself if you aren’t going or if you aren’t putting in as much effort as you could. This is different in a group setting.
You will benefit from the same structure of having a personal trainer where they develop a plan that will bring you to higher levels of physical fitness, and you will just have to participate and enjoy!
4. They are Inexpensive
When you hire a personal trainer, the cost of each session is entirely on you. When you attend a group fitness class, you share the load. Many gyms offer certain classes for free as a part of their membership fees, so you may not even have to pay an additional fee at all.
There are certain niche classes that will likely require a fee, and if you pay for them in advance, you will be more likely to attend each class, as you already spent your money on them. For the benefit that you will be receiving, the cost of attending a class is well worth it.
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to exercise adherence is boredom. If we go into the gym every day or two and do a similar routine by ourselves, it can be difficult to find motivation to continue going over the long term.
There are an estimated 6.7 billion gym visits per year in the US, and you can bet that a lot of it is the same people doing the same routines.
In a typical class, you could be on a treadmill one day, doing a lot of floor work the next, and be hitting the weights the next time you go. This ensures you receive a well-rounded program that will help you reach all of your fitness goals, and keep you entertained throughout each session.
There is also a wide variety of classes to choose from, so if you like the structure of working out in a group but don’t like your current class, there are plenty of others to try. There’s no harm in taking on multiple classes at once to achieve multiple goals and get a couple of extra workouts every week! Just don’t overload yourself and risk overtraining or burnout.
6. Building Relationships
Lastly, and often the most important part for many of us, is the relationships we build along the way in our fitness journey. When you take exercise classes, you are immersed in a new community of people that you will be seeing on a regular basis, assuming you adhere to the program.
This is one of the only true ways to make new friends; when people show up to the same place regularly and are encouraged to interact.
Not only that, but you’ll be making the right kinds of friends. Friends who want to better themselves and live a healthy lifestyle, which could have enormous benefits for you to be around.
You’ll be more likely to make friends who want to go hike a mountain with you than go sit at the bar. If that’s something that you need in your life, then group fitness classes are the way to go!
7. Group Goal Setting
When you set goals as a group and not just by yourself, you feel more accountable and more invested in working as a team to accomplish the goal that was set out.
Whether it’s to lose a certain amount of weight, cut down on circuit training time, or a functional fitness goal, working with a team is always more fun.
This will also include setting goals as a group and working together to achieve them. Everybody will be able to congratulate each other and celebrate as progress is made!
It’s simply more fun to work out in a group. We mentioned variety and building relationships, and that adds up to a much more enjoyable workout routine than anything you would be doing by yourself.
Not only will there be other people and a planned workout, but there will also be music to jam to, a high-energy environment, and your own private space for your class, away from the rest of the gym.
Having fun is a benefit in itself, but as we mentioned, it has undeniable benefits for achieving your fitness goals. It will help you stay motivated, track your goals more closely, and adhere to your exercise program.
What Types of Classes are Best?
This entirely depends on your needs, abilities, and goals. For example, if you’re looking to improve on your dance skills, you might take some dance or step classes. However, we can go over some of the most popular classes, what they are like, and why you should try them out.
There is only one bad fitness class, and it’s the one that you never attended! Exercise in any form is beneficial, so whatever you find appealing is worth a try. Remember, if one of them sounds appealing to you, there’s no harm in trying a class and seeing if it’s for you!
This may not seem appealing at first, but bear with us. If you’re hesitant to work out next to a bunch of exhausted, heavy breathers during the pandemic, we totally understand that.
Luckily, you can still get a lot of the same benefits as a traditional class by taking a virtual fitness class. These could involve nearly every type of class on this list, and you will still have an instructor on the call helping you every step of the way and monitoring everybody’s performance.
The only downside is that it may hinder your ability to socialize, as anybody who has heard people talking over one another on a Zoom call would know. Also, you may not have access to the same equipment as a gym facility, but this isn’t a problem for most cardio and bodyweight movements. However, you can still get a lot of the same structural and health benefits.
The best part is that you can get a lot of these same benefits from the comfort of your own home. With a small group, you’re basically getting a designated personal trainer sent to your home without the high price tag. That’s something to consider.
High-intensity interval training, in its modern form, was developed in 2005 by a group of scientists, and it has been one of the most popular fitness trends of the last decade, and for good reason. If you like variety, cardio, functional strength, and burning calories, then this is the class for you.
HIIT training can involve a series of exercises performed at varying levels of intensity. Not only does this dramatically improve your cardiovascular performance, but it is also far more efficient at burning calories, and it even helps stimulate muscle growth.
You are unlikely to ever do two of the same workouts in a HIIT class, so if you enjoy variety, this is the class for you. Workouts could be anything from jogging, walking, and sprinting on a treadmill in intervals to push-ups, jump ropes, and rowing in intervals.
The only downside to these classes is that if you’re coming for the social aspect primarily, you will likely be too out of breath to carry on a conversation. Although, these workouts typically last between 10 and 30 minutes, often with a moderate warm-up and cool down before and after, allowing for more interaction!
HIIT will likely include a lot of circuit training and running in your programs, so make sure you’re okay with that before signing up. If you’ve ever tried a timed CrossFit workout, that’s about how you should expect to feel.
Functional Fitness Classes
Let’s be frank here; there is no better fitness than functional fitness. Allowing your body to adapt to stressors that mimic real-world challenges is exactly what your body needs in order to begin making changes.
These workouts could include anything functional movements, including:
- Lifting weights
- Box jumps
The list goes on for miles. What these movements have in common is that they are natural movements that your body could easily use in everyday life.
Step-ups mimic walking up the stairs, you squat up and down from seats throughout the day, you may lunge down to tie your shoe. Working on these types of movements will ensure that you maintain the long-term health, strength, and stability that you need to perform these everyday functions.
The reason you hear complaints like “I’m too old for that” from somebody in their 50s is too often because of a lack of practicing these movements throughout their lives, rather than a medical issue. You either use it, or you lose it.
These movements have real-world applications, so as you track your progress, you can be sure that you’re developing applicable strength, conditioning, and overall fitness that will help you with any new activities you want to enjoy.
Doing machine work is great for achieving certain goals, but reverse flies and leg curls simply don’t have any real-world application, and can simply grow your muscles without offering any long-term benefits. In fact, they may even harm you over time.
If you’re interested in finding the right course for you, then book a free discovery session to see if what we offer will interest you!
How Do I Pick the Right Course for Me?
Now that you know the benefits and a few different classes that your gym might offer, you may be considering signing up! Well, if you’re interested in choosing a fitness course, but you’re unsure of how to get started, that’s perfectly okay. There are a few steps to take to determine the right fit for you.
Assess Your Goals
Before choosing a fitness class, it’s important to have goals in mind, and these are entirely unique to you.
Are you simply looking to start waking up early before work and getting a healthy workout in? Do you want to make friends who share your ambitions? Do you want to get strong?
Well, ask yourself these questions, and once you know what your goals are, make a list of them to determine which class will be the best fit for your needs.
Make a List
Make a list of classes that your gym offers and see how they would apply. Your gym should offer some brochures or information on their website about each class, and you’ll be able to determine which one most closely aligns with your goals.
We don’t want to pick the “perfect” class. We just want an idea of the ones that are aligned with our goals. For example, if I’m a football player and I want to improve my functional strength and conditioning, any functional class will help me in one way or another.
If I’m a bodybuilder looking to burn some fat before summer comes around, HIIT classes or some type of circuit training may be right for me. Give yourself options to choose from.
Try Them Out
The last step is to try out different classes. This is the most important step because weighing what they offer on paper tells you nothing about what the class is actually like.
You may start out thinking that virtual classes are right for you but then discover that in-person HIIT classes have the coolest people at your gym.
Basically, you can figure out your goals on paper, but you’ll have to meet the trainer and fellow classmates first to determine which one is the right fit for you. Once you have an idea of your goals, see if your gym offers a trial of the classes you’re interested in.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with taking multiple classes. If you decide that you’re in it, mixing up a few different functional fitness classes will maximize your health benefits, keep you working out multiple times a week, and help you meet the most people. Just make sure you give yourself enough rest and don’t risk overtraining.
Choose a Course and Get Started!
Now that you know the benefits of group fitness classes and some of the most popular options, the only way to start seeing the benefits is to get started on a program yourself. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll start achieving your fitness goals, seeing progress, and building lasting relationships.
Stay up to date with our latest fitness news and feel free to contact us with any questions!