Starting a fitness journey can be a daunting task.
On the one hand, you’re excited to improve your health and wellness, and you’ve set a goal to exercise 3 days a week.
On the other hand, you’ve spent so much time scrolling through fitness accounts on TikTok and Instagram that you have no idea where to begin. One “fitfluencer” tells you to do one thing while the next tells you to do something totally different.
Maybe the thought of going up to the weight rack at the gym sends shivers down your spine. (Thanks a lot gym anxiety)
Maybe you’re worried that you’re going to injure yourself by doing the movements wrong.
Or maybe you just don’t know what kind of exercises you enjoy the most.
If this sounds anything like you, then you may consider trying out a group fitness class.
Before you click off! Not all group fitness classes are like the popular women’s fitness classes from back in the day. Leotards, leg warmers, and permed hair are optional nowadays. And not all classes require you to dance either!
Group fitness classes have come a long way and there is truly something for everybody. Let’s take a look at how group fitness could transform your workout routine.
What is group fitness?
Group fitness refers to exercise classes that are performed in a group setting. A certified fitness instructor leads the group in exercise classes such as yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, or boot camp.
These classes are typically hosted in a facility like a gym but can also be in an outside setting such as a park. Think about yoga in the park. Or bootcamp in 90-degree weather for that extra sweat, realistic experience!
What are the benefits of group fitness?
Let’s run through some of the major benefits.
Low barrier to entry
New to fitness? No problem!
Group fitness classes range from beginner to advanced.
If you’re just starting out, stick with the beginner classes. The instructors will lay down the foundation for you in these classes. You will still get a great workout in, (beginner doesn’t necessarily mean easy!) but you won’t have to worry about trying to master advanced movements.
The other individuals in the class will also be beginners, so you can comfortably leave feelings of self-doubt or inadequacy at the door.
Motivation & accountability
One of the biggest recommendations for new gym goers is to have a gym buddy.
Well, how about a dozen or more gym buddies?
Group fitness classes provide you with like-minded individuals who can keep you accountable and may even provide you with motivation to push your intensity to the next level.
Several studies have shown, in elderly individuals in particular, that attending group fitness classes can improve their overall health. They felt inspired and supported by their instructors and felt that the praise and encouragement from their fellow classmates increased their motivation to stick with their workout program.
Fitness classes are taught by individuals who are certified to teach. They can instruct you on your form and reduce your risk of injury. Plus, you won’t have to scour the internet for a cohesive workout routine.
They will also offer modifications for different movements to make them a bit easier or a bit more challenging.
They can also recommend modifications if you have any previous injuries that need to be taken into consideration during exercise.
The fitness world is your oyster when it comes to the variety of group fitness classes available. Due to this variety, you will be less likely to feel burned out which may allow you to stick to your routine and achieve your goals. A few different options you may find:
- Step class
- Boot camp
- Zumba/Dance class
When you think of yoga you probably picture an experienced yoga practitioner who can contort themself into a human pretzel. While flexibility is one benefit of yoga practice, there are numerous other physical and mental benefits.
Yoga is also perfect for beginners. You can comfortably attend a beginner yoga class even if haven’t exercised for a day in your life.
According to the American Osteopathic Association you may experience the following benefits after regularly attending yoga classes:
- Increased muscle strength and tone
- Improved respiration
- Increased flexibility
- Improved stress management
- Improved mental well-being
HIIT (High intensity interval training) is a great way to get the most bang for your buck.
This style of workout utilizes interval training. You perform movements at high intensity (usually for around 30-40 seconds) and then you rest for about 30 seconds before moving into the next exercise.
An example might look something like this:
30 seconds jump squats
30 seconds rest
30 seconds high knees
30 seconds rest
30 seconds burpees
30 seconds rest
HIIT workouts require you to go at the highest intensity possible which means the workouts should be no more than 25 minutes long. And you’ll only need about 2 of these workouts throughout the week.
HIIT workouts have many benefits such as improving endurance, agility, and speed.
There has been a lot of buzz around Pilates on social media lately and for good reason.
Pilates has been around for almost 100 years and was initially created to help prevent injuries in dancers.
Nowadays dancers and fitness enthusiasts alike utilize Pilates to strength and tone their muscles to achieve the highly sought after “long and lean” physique.
Pilates is more than just achieving a certain aesthetic, however.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the following are some benefits you may experience if you practice Pilates:
- Better flexibility
- Increased core strength
- Improved posture
- Pain relief
- Improved balance and coordination
- Improved mental well-being
Pilates is considered a full body, low impact workout that can play an important part in a well-rounded workout regimen.
If you’re looking for a fun but challenging workout, then a kickboxing class might be the next group fitness class to check out.
Kickboxing class is a high intensity, full body workout that will help you build strength while burning fat.
A perfect combo, you might even say.
A few benefits you may experience if you take a kickboxing class:
- Learn self-defense
- Improved mobility
- Increased strength
- Increased power
- Mental clarity
And no worries if your fists have never touched a punching bag before. There are plenty of beginner classes that will teach you the foundational movements.
How to get the most out of your group fitness class experience
Are you sold on the idea of trying out a group fitness class yet?
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you attend your first class and tips to keep in mind along your fitness journey.
Find the right classes
We’ve covered some of the different group fitness class options out there and the many benefits associated with each. They may all sound great! Or they may all sound daunting or maybe even boring.
But as the old saying goes, you never know until you try.
Keep trying out new classes until you find a style that works best for you.
If you try a Pilates class a few times but don’t enjoy yourself and dread the thought of going even one more time. Don’t go again. Simply try something new!
Once you find a group fitness class that you enjoy, you’ll feel motivated and amped up to go each week. And that’s an exhilarating feeling!
This goes hand in hand with the previous point.
It can be easy to make judgements about certain classes being for a certain type of person. You may think that only outgoing, spunky people can attend a Zumba session and enjoy themselves.
However, introverts and people with two left feet can enjoy a dance class like Zumba just as much.
It’s important to keep an open mind so you don’t close yourself off to fun and exciting group fitness classes.
Show up early
If you are new to fitness or new to fitness classes, then you may feel some nervousness or anxiety.
That’s ok, and it’s completely normal.
In order to reduce some of that nervous energy, show up to class about 10-15 minutes early.
This way you can scope out the environment and gather any equipment that may be required for the workout. For instance, in a HIIT workout the instructor may ask you to have a mat, a light kettlebell, a heavy kettlebell, and a medicine ball.
You can gather your equipment and claim your spot before it becomes too crowded. You may want to be close up to the front so you can see the instructor more clearly. Or you may want to stick to the back. Whatever feels most comfortable for you.
Showing up early may also give you the opportunity to chat with the instructor or your other classmates. As mentioned earlier, building a sense of comradery with fellow classmates may allow you to feel more motivated and inspired throughout your fitness journey. So don’t be afraid to chat it up and make a friend.
Group fitness classes offer many physical and mental health benefits. There truly is something for everybody. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, improve your cardiovascular endurance, or simply enjoy a fun and engaging workout, group fitness can be an effective and enjoyable way to achieve your fitness goals. So, if you haven’t tried a group fitness class yet, why not give it a go and see how it can transform your fitness journey?