Categories: Motivation Training

What is group fitness? (And why you should try it!)

January 17, 2017

Get fit and stay motivated with group fitness classes. Instructor Jessica Thiefels tells you why it’s exactly what you need.

If you’ve ever taken a LES MILLS BODYPUMP, Zumba or boot camp class, you’ve tried group fitness. The term group fitness encompasses any and all form of fitness that’s done in a group setting, lead by a personal trainer or group instructor. With this form of exercise growing in popularity, you can now find group fitness classes of nearly any kind, both aerobic- and strength-based.

Many gyms offer a whole schedule of group training classes that include strength training, core, cardio and cycling. Some of the oldest group fitness classes, such as LES MILLS, can still be found in gyms and studios across the county as well.

There are many boutique studios that are built on the group fitness model, with proprietary classes and programs that differ from those in a larger gym setting. You may be familiar with some of these formats, including barre, indoors cycling, and indoors rowing.

If you’ve never taken a group fitness class, then you’ve likely never experienced the many benefits, including extra motivation and friendly competition. Learn more before trying a class at your gym or signing up with a local studio.

Personal training without the high costs

Personal training can be expensive, but many people still need help with form, accountability, and overall results. Instead of struggling through every workout, or risking injury, take a group fitness class, which allows you to work with a fitness professional – minus the cash.

While the trainer may not be available to you at all times in a large group class, they’re always there to answer questions when you have them. Go early or stay late if you can’t ask in class, but do be respectful of their time since you aren’t paying for a full training session.

If you don’t have time before or after, watch throughout class as they correct and help others. You can learn a lot just by watching and listening.

Motivation and accountability

Head to a group fitness class on the days you’re not motivated to work out. With a teacher telling you what to do, the session is less work for you, while still being effective.

If your problem is getting to the gym in the first place, a group class can be all the motivation you need: it would be rude to sign up and bail, leaving an open spot that could otherwise have been filled by someone else. Some small studios even charge a fee for missing a class if you’ve signed up in advance.

Group fitness is Fun. period.

One of the most popular reasons for taking a group fitness class is the simplest: They’re just plain fun. With music playing and everyone else working with you, sharing in the struggle and the success, it can feel more like a party than a workout. This is especially true of cycling and step aerobic classes, which were built around high-energy music and a social atmosphere.

If you like the fun aspect of group fitness, look for studios or gyms that offer a variety of dance-fitness classes. LES MILLS BODYJAM, Zumba and Jazzercise are popular nationwide “dance-style” options.

Competition and camaraderie

Everyone is “in it together” in a group fitness class, which naturally lends itself to camaraderie among members. For people who like to be social, this is an important factor. For those who are competitive, the social aspect is valuable because with a little camaraderie comes friendly competition, pushing you to work harder than the person next to you.

This is why group fitness is perfect for days when your workout motivation is low, and you’d otherwise breeze through an easy workout. With both the attendees and the instructor pushing you, you’ll work harder than if you’d gone at it alone.

How to prep for your first class

While all classes are different, there are still a few basic tips to keep in mind when prepping for your first group fitness class:

  • Bring a sweat towel; some gyms even require this.
  • Bring a water bottle so you don’t have to leave class to get a sip of water.
  • Talk to the instructor before class if you have any questions or concerns. It’s good to tell the teacher if you have an injury of some kind, for example.
  • Get familiar with the equipment before class and ask the questions so you don’t fall behind.
  • Talk to other members. While this isn’t mandatory, it may give you insight on what to expect as a first-timer.

Group fitness is a great way to find motivation and accountability, while working with a trainer who can provide assistance with form and help you get results. If you already have a membership, inquire about group classes available to you. If not, take advantage of free trials at nearby studios to see which style of group fitness you like best.

Did you know you can add LES MILLS sport profiles in Polar Flow and track all those burned calories easily and accurately? Just something to keep in mind if you decide to try out group fitness this year (and you should!).

In the spotlight

Jessica Thiefels

Jessica Thiefels

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time blogger. She is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist, and the owner of her own personal training business, Honest Body Fitness in San Diego.