The Benefits of Group Fitness

Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Benefits of Group Fitness

Written by Joe Decker

You know what is awesome? Working out. Do you know what is even better? Meeting new people that share the same love of fitness. Simply put, group fitness is a huge trend, and for good reason.

I’ve been involved in fitness for over 25 years and have belonged to groups ranging from power lifting to running clubs, but I’ve also been that solitary figure in the gym and on the road. I do feel this has given me a pretty good understanding of the appeal and the dynamics of both; however, I strongly encourage group fitness. Whether you have joined a workout group or have gotten your own group of friends together for a workout, here are three reasons more is merrier in helping you earn your fitness gains.

Unless you’re that rare person that can jump out of bed at 5 a.m. and hit the ground running, odds are that getting and staying motivated are difficult for you. You are not alone. The majority of the people I’ve worked with over the years have had the same problem. Here lies one of the greatest benefits about working out in a group setting. Many people who attend a class will show up exhausted from the ups and downs of everyday life, but once they join the group, they become re-energized. With a friendly fitness instructor there to light a fire under you rear, it can’t get any better.
Not only are you more motivated to get up and out to exercise, but the motivation of your instructor and you fellow group members WILL keep you going.  Another plus? If you work out with people who are faster, stronger or fitter than you, they will push you to go faster, be stronger and go further, ultimately increasing your fitness level. There’s an old saying that goes, “The lead dog sets the pace for the rest of the pack.” Think about it.

Remember when you were in high school and your mom would wake you up in the morning to get you up, moving and ensure you were on your way to school? She was holding you accountable. If you were anything like me, you probably wouldn’t have graduated without her wake-up calls (thanks Mom). ! A workout group can do the same thing for your exercise routine. I’ve had countless clients over the years at Gut Check Fitness say, “I wouldn’t be there in the morning if I didn’t know that Nicole, Meg, Mike, etc. were going to give me a hard time for not showing up.”

The fear of group teasing gets them out of bed. Hey, it works!
Plus, there’s the friendly instructor, again, that keeps track of your tardiness. I take a daily roll at my classes then each week I look to see who’s been playing Harry Houdini. If I haven’t seen someone for a week or two, I’ll generally send them a friendly reminder with the threat of numerous burpees.

Group Camaraderie
Human beings are social creatures. Yes, a few are hermits and recluses, but the majority of us love to be around other people. We love to laugh, joke and have fun. I feel this is one of the greatest products of a group workout setting. Nothing brings people closer quite like misery and physical suffering. If you’ve ever done a boot camp or similar class, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Many people sign up to get more fit and along the way become friends through this mutual ritual. Many become lifelong best friends. My classes not only work hard together, but they play hard together. We regularly have happy hours, wine tastings, and sports days where we do races and events together. We sincerely enjoy one another’s company. It’s truly one of the best ways to meet people like you and develop a common bond while getting into the best shape possible.
Joining a workout group can keep you motivated, hold you accountable and help you develop a sense of group camaraderie.

Finally, in a world where we’ve become so dependent on email and texting, working out with a group offers that human interaction that is slowly disappearing. We can do just about everything today virtually without ever talking to a person. That is outside of a group fitness setting. With group fitness, you have to get involved. You can try to escape to the back of the pack, but a good instructor will integrate you into the group whether you like or not. That’s why it’s called group dynamics, and that’s why technology will never replace the good ‘ol fashioned group workout. Get out of your cubicle, your car or your house and go meet other people that have a common interest just like you. You never know, you might just meet some real friends instead of the virtual ones you find online.

The Importance of Training

Written by Joe Decker

How many times have you watched a sporting event on TV like a football game, tennis match, or even the Olympics –and been in awe of the athletes that are competing? If you’re like me, probably many. Occasionally you’ll hear people say, “Oh they’re just born that way.” Granted, many are born with a innate talent that the average person might not have; however, don’t be fooled. Their obviously talent doesn’t take away from the fact that they not only dedicate their life to their sport but also train their butts off to be the best that they can be. They HAD to train and plan to get where they are at.

While you might never be a professional athlete making millions of dollars or winning race after race, it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t train to the very best of your ability. Having personally competed in some of the world’s toughest events like the Raid Gauloises, the Badwater 135, the Death Race, Guinness World Records and more, I’ve learned the irreplaceable importance of putting together a thorough training program to help be best prepared. This is probably one of the biggest benefits our clients at Gut Check Fitness take away from their experience with us. They then utilize this first hand information to get them ready for Spartan Races, Tough Mudders, King of the Hill trail races and similar events.

Where do I begin? You’ve probably already signed up for an event with family, friends or coworkers. You’re all excited but have no idea what you’re doing; you’re scared, you’re nervous, you’re not sure where to start., you’re looking for an exit. Fear not. The first thing you have to do is get a plan. There’s an old saying I live by: “Fail to plan and you plan to fail.” Planning ahead is a must. You can get this information from a qualified fitness or race coach, which I recommend, or take your chances and research online. Regardless put a daily, weekly and monthly plan together. This will help keep you on track and hold you accountable. Also it allows you to monitor your progress, or lack of, periodically along the way.

How do I train? This is another question I’ve gotten asked many times over the years. “How do I run longer? “How do I lift more weight?” I always reply, “You run longer or you lift more weight.” Granted it’s a little more complicated than this but you get the point. There’s a fitness principle called “specificity,” meaning, if I want to work on my 40 yd. dash time then this is what I work on –not my marathon time.  You must concentrate your efforts where you want to see progress and based on the event you’re participating in. To be prepared for particular events, you must train accordingly – and with races like Spartan and Tough Mudders, you must specifically incorporate hills, walls, monkey bars, low-crawls and more.

Bottom line if you want to reach your true fitness potential, do your absolute best, and reach your goals –while hopefully avoiding injury along the way, you MUST train and you MUST plan. At Gut Check Fitness we’ve trained thousands of people over the years for the more popular obstacle-course races, long-distance trail races to even 12 – 36 hour overnight events. Give us a shout-out, stop by a class, or sign up for an event – take the first step in training and planning for your upcoming event.