Ever since the Biggest Loser gained widespread popularity, more and more people have been turned-on to group fitness venues, like boot camps and circuit training. Working out with a group offers several obvious benefits. Committing to a group makes you more likely to lace up and show up on time every meeting. Additionally, it’s quite difficult to “cheat” in a group format. No one wants to be the only one NOT going down for another push-up. And, not only will you keep up with the class, your competitive instinct will probably kick in at some point and have you pushing yourself harder than you would exercising solo. Also, having an instructor handy is a good safety measure. Presumably, he or she is certified by an accredited sports/fitness foundation, and knows how to help you maintain proper form.
Personally, due to certain constraints, I tend to workout at home alone. While I consider myself to be fit, I know that I’ve hit a plateau and could use some extra intensity. Therefore, a few months ago, I enlisted in a week-long “Basics Course” at out local CrossFit gym. CrossFit’s basic routine is short bursts of high intensity, functional movements that involve all or most body parts. During that week, I pushed myself harder than ever before, and I learned some new movements to add to my cache of exercise knowledge. The instructor, Tom, helped me refine my form in several different exercises, and he was also a motivator who urged me to give it my all. Although not usually competitive, I found myself actively trying to beat the other girl in the class during our last meeting. Surprise! I actually did.
I'm teaching my spin class this morning. I challenge you to grab a friend today and do ANY KIND of group fitness class today. SO MUCH FUN!
— Bob Harper (@MyTrainerBob) September 19, 2009
Since my CrossFit experience, I’ve enlisted the help of my husband in working out. He designs the workouts, and we do them together. I’ve found this helpful in many ways; he pushes me to my limit, the workouts are always varied so they don’t get stale, and it’s nice to know he’s there if I ever did sustain an injury or need help. Although it’s not a true “group”, our party of two seems to work out well; however, I’d recommend that the average person join some kind of gym, bootcamp, or CrossFit organization to reap the full benefit. Make sure to look for a group with an instructor certified in whatever are he/she is teaching. Also, ask if you can try it one time for free before you commit. That way, you’ll get a taste of what they do and whether you’ll stay committed. Ask your friends if they’re currently doing any group fitness routine. They may be able to give you a recommendation. Plus, if you go with friends, you’ll have added incentive to go every session. Beware, though. Make sure it’s a friend that’s not a de-motivator. One sure way to derail your fitness aspirations is permission to slack.
There’s no time like the present to give it a try. Ask a friend, search the web, or flip through the phone book to find a group fitness course near you.