Lots of folks admire people of all ages who are clearly in shape. In shape people not only sport great bodies, but they also carry a confidence about themselves that out of shape people rarely enjoy. In shape people are usually goal oriented in all aspects of life, and certainly they are healthier both physically and mentally.
They also appear to be happy. Who doesn’t want to be happy?
Many of you might want to have everything that goes with being in shape, but let’s face it, just the thought of working for it exhausts you. Maybe you’re a guy who’s turned the corner on 40, and suddenly realized the spare tire that’s been spilling over your belt is getting fatter. Or perhaps you’re a new mom who’s put on those extra pounds that naturally go with having a child. Maybe you’re constantly tired now that you’re up several times a night with the baby. Maybe you’ve tried to work out in the living room while the baby naps, but the struggle to move yourself has proven too difficult. So what do you do? You give up, get back in bed in your comfy sweats, pull out the iPad, and binge Netflix all day long.
What’s the answer to getting out of this all too common rut? Motivation.
But what’s the best way to achieve that all important motivation? The answer can be found in group exercise classes. Several varieties of group classes exist, from Zumba, to fitness boxing, to spinning, to High Intense Interval Training. Regardless of which class or classes you decide to participate in, they are all designed with one thing in mind: to burn calories while strengthening your entire body. They will also help you gain that confidence you’ve been searching for, for as long as you can remember. And confidence is not only good for your head, it is good for the overall well-being of your entire body.
That said, how exactly will a group class motivate you into getting in shape?
According to personal trainer, Leslie Brooks, group classes are like an exercise plan in a box. In other words, the class comes with built-in instructions, a rigid schedule, and all the support you need not only from your instructor, but from your fellow class members. When it comes to being motivated for a workout, there’s no better remedy than peer pressure.
Setting Up Your Schedule
If you have a new child to deal with, and a full-time job, a spouse, a home, and all the time consuming responsibilities that go with it, your first challenge is finding the time to join an group exercise class. But here’s the key to finding the time: you need to make the time. Only you can pick up the phone or go online to schedule your class which, of course, can sometimes translate into skipping it altogether while promising yourself you will most definitely schedule your class tomorrow. But then tomorrow comes and goes and suddenly you’re right back in bed again, binging Netlfix. However, once you schedule your class and commit yourself to getting there on time, you will have taken the first crucial step in creating a schedule that not only works for you, but that you will keep, day in and day out.
If you try working out on your own, chances are you’re not going to use proper form. You might not do the necessary pre-workout stretching (which can result in pulled and torn muscles). You also won’t do the required repetitions. You might even indulge in longer than necessary rest periods between sets. But with group fitness classes, you never have to worry about any of those things. You instructor will coach you every step of the way, so you won’t have to ever worry about not doing the right thing at the right time. More specifically, you will be coached on proper form plus modifications to certain exercises like pushups, for instance, should you require them. Certainly you will have questions and your certified instructor will be there to answer them. Most important of all, your instructor will be able to critique your every move which at times might frustrate you. But keep in mind, they are only looking out for your health.
Says Brooks, group exercise classes can also offer something you’d never get with a solo workout. That is, connections with individuals who are like-minded. You will get support not only from your instructor but from the crowd. That built-in support network will provide you with the extra motivation you need not only to show up day after day, but also to push yourself towards more strenuous goals and achievements. In a word, the group provides you with accountability. If you don’t show up for your scheduled class, your absence will be noticed. You might even receive a phone call or two from workout partners asking if you’re okay. Perhaps even your instructor will call you.
Brooks sites several studies that illustrate how humans perform better in teams. One notable study conducted by the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology found that participants who partnered up with a person of a higher fitness level were able to hold planks 24% longer than normal. There’s no question that peer pressure pushes us to go beyond our perceived boundaries. This same theory also goes for pain. The same study also show that when working out in groups, you tend to have a higher tolerance for pain.
There’s no better cure for improving your overall health and your life by engaging in routine, rigorous exercise. It’s good for the body and the brain. But if you feel you could never get motivated on your own, it pays to join a group fitness class. You’ll lose a whole lot of weight, but you’ll have a ton of fun doing it.