Exactly two years ago I was at an absolute fitness stand-still. It was cold out and I was overworked, but I would still drag myself to the gym every night to do the same routine that was no longer producing results.
As I was sitting on the bench in the free weights area with my headphones on, I felt someone shaking my arm. I looked up and one of the group fitness instructors from my health club was trying to get my attention; her cardio kickboxing class was starting in five minutes and she wanted me to come. I came up with a bunch of excuses in my head why I shouldn’t do it… truth is, I was scared shitless because this women was absolutely ripped and I had never taken a high-intensity cardio class before.
I don’t know why, but I had the courage to actually say yes at that moment and my life hasn’t been the same since. The class was the hardest hour-long workout I had ever experienced, yet halfway through the class I noticed something remarkable… I was smiling! I was happy. I was pushing my body to do things that it had never done before, sweating, wheezing, looking super ugly and pretty much about to die… but I was having a blast.
Annnnnnnd the next morning I couldn’t move.
Since then, I have attended hundreds of group fitness classes, exploring different styles and movements and pushing my ability level to places I never thought possible two years ago. I’ve never felt so strong, so healthy and so excited to go to the gym.
Group Fitness is beneficial for everyone for a number of reasons.
1.) The activity usually involves using your entire body to move in a variety of directions and intensity levels, which gives you a much better workout than just moving in a repetitive motion like when you run or do the elliptical. Instructors are trained to design classes to take you through the correct sequence of heart rate zones, including a warm-up and cool down phase.
2.) Group fitness classes come in all varieties so anyone can find something to fit their ability level and area of interest. Whether you want to do yoga, ride bike, workout in a pool, dance or maybe just kick the shit out of something, there is a group fitness class for you!
3.) You’ll start to form a community with the other class participants, creating a level of accountability and companionship that you don’t get by working out solo. It is hard to explain how cool it feels to be taken through a physically and mentally challenging experience while knowing that there are 80 other people in the room doing it with you.
4.) Simply put, it is freaking fun. The best way to keep up a long-term fitness routine is if you find something that you look forward to and don’t consider work.
The best group fitness classes are hard to find and it takes a bit of experimentation to discover the one that is right for you. The instructor, participant energy level and the music selection are the huge difference makers in my opinion!
When you find that exact place you belong… well, you’ll still be there every week two years later.