Since I have recently become a certified Group Fitness Instructor and am now teaching group classes, I thought it would be helpful to discuss the pros and cons of this style of exercise. Group exercises can be great for the general population, but they aren’t necessarily the best for everyone! Depending on your goals you may find that another style of training is best for you. Below are some of the Pros and Cons of Group Training, so you can decide for yourself!
Accountability is one of the biggest challenges people face in their fitness journey. Especially for those new to working out, it can be hard to create a routine or to motivate yourself to make it to the gym. Oftentimes people buy group fitness class passes that include multiple classes. Since you’ve already paid for your sessions, you’re more likely to go. This can give you time to turn exercise into a routine for you!
Can be a great starting place for beginners
Starting your exercise journey can feel overwhelming. The thought of going into a gym and looking at the equipment and trying to figure out how to start, can be enough to say no altogether. Group fitness classes can be a great way to get into a gym and learn exercises with some supervision and not feel like you’re there just figuring it out for yourself. A low stress environment can be really helpful as you get comfortable.
High energy atmosphere
Being surrounded by others while an instructor leads you through a workout, can be pretty inspiring. It’s easy to forget you are actually working out when you’ve got great music and people working around you. These workouts can often feel like they pass really quickly and keep you from feeling bored. While you can blast that music for a regular workout session, the energy of a class setting really can’t be replicated.
Fun time with friends
Want something new to do with your friends? Group fitness classes can be so fun for a great girls night or fun way to spend the afternoon. There’s so many different options from inside to outside, or what kind of activity. Maybe you like yoga, cycling, weight training, or a fast pace and heavy sweating session. There truly is something for everyone and it can be great if you want accountability partners or just to socialize.
Working out can be a nerve wrecking process until you feel comfortable. What weight do I use? How many sets? How do I use this machine? All these questions make it hard to know where to start. So make it easy on yourself! Do something that excites you or you already understand. Group classes can be that. They will tell you everything you need to know! You won’t have to play guesswork and you can focus on enjoying your workout and less on struggling through one!
Can be more time efficient
For those with limited time to workout, classes can be a great way to get a short but comprehensive workout. Unlike standard weight training that requires you to gather more equipment and move to other places in the gym, a group fitness class has everything in front of you and is written to be very efficient. These classes also can range from 20-60 minutes, so there’s something for everyone.
Not individualized exercises
When you are in a group fitness class, you are doing the same exercises as the rest of the class. While your coach may provide you with different versions of that exercise to better benefit you, that’s different from a program or workout that’s meant for you. When building your own workout, or building one with a personal trainer, you can make sure to do the exercises that are best for you and your goals. You can improve on skills you want to focus on. Build strength where you need it, etc. Having exercises meant for you, can also help reduce your chance of overexercising or injury. While a group fitness instructor can provide alternatives, sometimes you may not know the intensity is too much until later.
May not be a good intensity
We all enjoy training at different speeds. Some of us have a higher threshold for cardio and some are working to improve this. Some group classes are super high intensity and may be too intense for the general public. You may need to work up to a 60 minute cycling class or Boot Camp. There’s nothing wrong with that either! Make sure you are choosing the right kind of exercise for yourself and your goals.
If you are easily distracted by others, then this style of class may not be for you. Group class sizes can vary and it can be a lot of people laughing and talking, which is often distracting for those who need a lot of concentration to workout. If you need a more calm atmosphere where you can listen to music or a podcast and zone out a bit, solo training would be a much better option for you!
May not lead to the biggest changes
Some people have amazing success in group fitness classes, but if you have very specific goals or have reached a plateau and are no longer seeing results, you may benefit from solo training instead. A group fitness class is meant for the general population and not for one person to reach their goals. Group classes won’t target your specific issues and help you overcome an exercise plateau.
All-in-all these classes have a lot of benefits to them and for general improved fitness or learning more about training, these classes may be perfect for you! Only you can decide if this is the best way to go about reaching your goals.
Until next time… and remember Group Fitness Classes may not be for all!