Happy New Year! January came and went, and now February is upon us. This is the moment when many people second guess their resolution to sign up at the gym. It can be intimidating walking into the gym for the first after signing up, having either taken a long break from training or being completely new onto the scene. Never fear, group fitness is here!
SO WHAT IS GROUP FITNESS? Group fitness, or group exercise, is defined as exercise performed by a group of people that is led by an instructor or fitness professional. Group fitness comes in many formats and structures, catering to a wide variety of participants and a large number of programs such as yoga, strength and conditioning, resistance training, cardiovascular, functional training and many more.
Many group fitness instructors create a personalised workout for the groups they instruct (referred to as freestyle), as well as many fitness programs that are programmed and provided to gym instructors as pre-choreographed packages, for example, Les Mills.
There are a large number of benefits to adopting this type of exercise program into your weekly workout regime. A group session is a perfect place to start for newcomers to the gym or even regular exercisers who simply want to change it up on occasion.
THE PHYSICAL BENEFIT Perhaps the most apparent benefit to group fitness training is the physical development that comes with regularly attending classes. Because of the variety that is available, you are able to create an effective, well-balanced workout program based on the classes that are offered within your gym. Classes are created to target specific goals that individuals may have, such as weight loss, muscle tone, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance with the added bonus being that many others share these goals and attend the classes alongside you. Having a trainer that will motivate and push you to your limits, while ensuring correct technique and providing modifications to suit every participant is also a plus.
Over time, you will find that not only do you achieve your specific goals, but as a whole, you feel lighter, stronger and more powerful, both inside and outside the gym. Exercise prolongs your life, while also improving the quality of life, allowing your body to do things beyond what you imagine is possible.
THE MENTAL BENEFIT Often overlooked in group fitness is the mental aspect, despite becoming much more important in our modern society. Unlike the gym floor, where most members are isolated to their own playlists, the group fitness environment encourages the interaction and connection of people through a common, upbeat playlist to get them through their workout. Attending the same classes regularly allows you to meet like-minded (and scheduled) people, sharing experiences and results with those people will motivate you to keep coming to those same classes each week, thus developing routine and accountability.
The social interactions and relationships you make with others within group fitness classes make you as an individual work harder with those around you, achieving goals quicker and more effectively. Not only will you get to know the people you are working out with, but your trainer will also become accustomed to how your group like to train, personalising the class and making sure you are not only getting results but that you are enjoying working for those results. Members always leave group fitness classes feeling happier and more accomplished (along with the usual shaky muscles), and this is known to improve productivity at work and home. A win-win situation!
So, that is group fitness in a nutshell, effective and beneficial to many people, appealing to young, old, and everyone in between. Nobody is too unfit to join in, so what have you got to lose? Jump on the group fitness bandwagon next time you visit the gym, you never know, you might even enjoy exercise!