It can get very confusing when researching how to get in shape—society and the media are full of ideas, tips, and tricks to help you become a better you. As a fitness professional, I have two important pieces of advice if you really want to be successful in reaching your goals, First, make sure your focus is on a lifestyle change and not on specific results. Second, get involved in group training. There’s good reason they’ve been popping up around town recently: they’re fun and they work. People who participate in these programs are more inclined to come to the session because of social interaction, and group training reduces the cost for individuals who are looking for a personal training experience but can’t afford one-on-one instruction. Let’s take a look at the three biggest benefits of any group workout.
Knowing that there are many people in town that feel the same way about fitness helps decrease the intimidation involved in starting a fitness endeavor. Not only do other people help you to start, but they also help you perform at a higher level. I’ve seen it time and time again: people put forth better effort because of the group dynamic that occurs with others—a level of friendly competition helps them really commit to a workout.
What is another big reason workout goals fail? Most times, you’re only accountable to yourself—and making excuses to yourself is far too easy. Don’t feel like getting out of bed at 5:30am to make it to class at six? While it’s easy to hit the snooze button and skip a solo gym session, it’s a lot harder to explain to a roomful of teammates that you were asleep while they were sweating their asses off.
Humans are social creatures, and it’s fun to build a relationship with someone who has similar goals and feels the same way you do. Group classes can become tight-knit groups of friends. Having a social setting to meet others and build relationships makes a lot more sense than hammering away on an elliptical for an hour and then going home.
No matter what your desired workout goal might be, group training is the number-one way to reach your fitness goals. There are many different options in our community to help you succeed in fitness. From boot camps to weight loss programs, Zumba to CrossFit, inside or outside—the group dynamic works. Get involved and watch what happens.
Josh Palmer is the fitness director at the Ridge Athletic Club in Bozeman.