Why group fitness classes are good for you

Hello, friends! And a very happy Thursday going out to you. As you read this post, I’m likely in the air heading across the country to South Florida. I’m very excited to be attending a great friend’s bachelorette in Key West this weekend, and I’m ready for the sun, sand, girl time and fruity adult-beverages in my near future.

That being said, I wanted to pop in today to share with you something dear to my heart. Group fitness, people. It’s not exactly a secret that I LOVE group fitness. Both teaching classes and taking classes. And yes, although I’m a certified personal trainer and an advocate for the fine-tuning and tailored plans you can get from one-on-one sessions, I still credit group fitness for changing my life, so I’ll always be its biggest fan.

Why group fitness is good for you via A Lady Goes West

The top five reasons why group fitness is good for you

If you are an active person who works out and feels like you have a good thing going with your routine, then that’s awesome. But if you’re looking for a little extra oomph in your workout regimen, here are some reasons why joining others in the group fitness studio at least once-a-week may help you take it to the next level.

  1. Community means you’ll be accountable. If you begin attending a group fitness class regularly, you’ll most likely see the same familiar faces over-and-over again, as well as find an exact spot where you like to set up. Group fitness is all about making friends with those around you while you sweat, and the community aspect will keep you committed to your workouts. Even if you’re shy, don’t be scared to introduce yourself to the instructor or your fellow participants. And once you start going regularly, you can bet that people are going to wonder where you are if you skip a week. Your presence will be appreciated and expected, so you see, maybe you’ll fit in more workouts each week than ever before.
  2. Classes offer your body variety. You cannot do the same workout every single day and expect to continue getting good results. Our bodies crave variety, and that’s another area where group fitness delivers. Most classes offer new moves, music and exercises every couple of weeks, so you’ll always be introduced to something you haven’t done before. If you’re stuck in a rut when doing your own sweat sessions, try taking a group fitness class to get your body moving in new ways. I never lifted a weight in my life until I started to attend Les Mills BODYPUMP classes almost seven years ago. Fast forward to today and I teach the class, work in fitness, love resistance training and am stronger than ever before. I thank group fitness for that. See what I mean — it changed my life!
  3. Good teachers can help you get fitter. If you attend Les Mills classes, which are mostly the types of programs I teach, there’s a very good chance you’ll find a strong instructor. That instructor will have practiced, prepared and done a lot of prep work to deliver the workout that you will ultimately do. While you won’t be able to get the personal attention of a valuable personal training session, you will get to watch, listen and learn from someone who knows what they are doing (most of the time!). They’ve been trained by professionals to help you get fit. I often answer questions before and after class from my participants about all things healthy living, and they come to me because they know I’ve got experience. I advise my participants to hit the foam roller before and after class, switch up their workout routines, drink more water and sleep. They get all of this just by showing up to class and chatting with me. And couldn’t we all use a little extra professional advice?
  4. It’s an appointment you can book and keep. Something that I love so much about group fitness is that it has a start and end time. If you know you want to make it to a class at 5:30 p.m., then you can decide when you need to leave your work or home, pack a bag and schedule all of the rest of your day around that workout. There’s no wiggle room when it comes to classes, you can’t push them back, and I find that helps me and others stick to a regular working-out routine. Try adding a recurring event in your calendar as a way to commit to those classes you want to attend, and you just may find yourself fitting in more workouts than before. 
  5. You can feed off the energy. If you’ve ever felt yourself pull some extra energy out of an empty tank during a workout because of the setting, then you know this one is true. When there are a bunch of people around you working hard, getting into the moment, sometimes you’re able to push yourself harder than you would if you were alone. I love the sweaty, loud vibe of classes, in which everyone is going hard, because it helps me to push through fatigue and get better results from my sessions. Of course, not all classes have to be hard, you could also feed off the calming energy of a yoga class and find a zen state. Nonetheless, there’s power in numbers. And perhaps the best thing about group fitness, is the fact that working out around people is fun, and you can always get a little boost from the extra bodies in the room.

I’ve been teaching group fitness classes for more than six years, and I continue to be amazed at the progress of my participants as they start out new and grow to love a class. People change their lives and bodies through attending classes, and it’s a beautiful thing. If you’re new to group fitness, I encourage you to give it a try, especially a Les Mills class, which you can locate here. (For more information on how to get more out of the group fitness classes you take as a participant, check out this post I wrote a few months ago: How to get betters results in group fitness classes.)

And if you don’t have gyms nearby where you live that offer classes, you could always look for outdoor bootcamps, free community classes held in public parks and even running groups to achieve some of the benefits of sweating with others.

I’m taking a few days off from the group fitness room while I’m away, and I can tell you that I’ll be eager to get back to teaching when I return on Monday night. (Yes, I fly back in the middle of the day on Monday and will be teaching BODYATTACK that evening, so wish me luck.)

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(By the way, I originally wrote this post for the very sweet Jenna over at Little Green Running Shoes. Jenna is a fellow Les Mills group fitness instructor and reached out to me weeks ago about posting on her blog, which I’m very appreciative of. I also wanted to make sure that you all got a chance to read a version of this post right here on A Lady Goes West.)

Questions of the day

Is there anything that has changed your fitness life for the better?

What’s your favorite way to work out? 

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41 Comments

  1. I love this post! It’s so true, I started Body Attack this time last year and it has changed my life. I’ve became so much fitter since I started. Instructors definitely make a difference! If they know what they’re doing and know how to get a class pumped up then the class is much better!

    1. Yayyyy for BODYATTACK Nikki! I teach it three times a week and LOVE the way members get so into it. Thank you so much! And I hope you drag friends with you to class to make them try it too:)

  2. These are great tips Ashley! I definitely love the sense of community. That’s why I adore my spin class. We all know each other and push each other. It gives the class a great vibe and like you said you feed off that energy from others. Good stuff!

    1. Hahahah Hi Susie! Yes, I’m heading SOUTH for sure! Yes, I’d imagine as a runner, you’ve got that competitive drive that is also a great motivator in the group setting. Happy Thursday!

  3. Have a blast at your friends bachelorette party- so fun!! I have never been to Key West but it’s on my list! And I agree with all of your points on group fitness classes- particularly #5 though. I LOVE the energy instructors and participants bring!

  4. I couldn’t agree more! Group fitness classes used to intimidate me but now that I am going on a regular basis, I have the total opposite mindset. It’s really encouraging to be surrounded by other people who are working hard and challenge you to push harder. Group classes are so much fun!

  5. These are so true and I love them all! I love when I see the regulars coming to my classes. I typically change up my routines every week. I am not sure I’ve taught the same thing twice, but it always keeps people guessing!

    1. Hi Heather! Yes, for bootcamp classes, I change things every time. But for Les Mills classes, I repeat for two or three weeks in a row, since there is so much choreography involved. Happy teaching to you! πŸ™‚

  6. Couldn’t agree more with you here!! I, too, love and adore group fitness, and it has also changed my life. It made fitness fun for me again when I got stuck in a rut of caring mostly just about burning calories. I love the friendships I’ve made and fun I have in classes! Great post, Ash!

    1. Hi Ash! That’s soooo awesome to hear. The fact that it made you love fitness again. Now it’s more about the people and the fun than thinking about yourself. Yay for you and yay for Les Mills! πŸ™‚

  7. I am the worst when it comes to participating in group fitness classes – I worry about how tough they’ll be and whether I’ll enjoy them. Plus most group fitness classes don’t really fit with my gym schedule right now. But you’ve definitely given me some great reasons to suck it up and try some out. I’ve been thinking about trying BodyPump so maybe I’ll find a time I can go next week. Great post! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Chelsea! YES!! Get to BODYPUMP right away and let me know what you think. It may take a couple tries to truly “get it” but you’ll probably fall in love and try to make it a point to get to the classes when they happen. Hope you have a lovely Thursday! πŸ™‚

  8. Have so much fun in Florida, that sounds so perfect right now!! I love working out alone but also love group classes…they are times when I can tune out and just let the instructor kick my butt. A lot of the barre classes I go to make u sign up in advance so it definetly holds you accountable!

  9. I have to say, I’ve only ever taken like 2 group classes in my life. I don’t know why- I never really got into it… I prefer doing my own thing on my own time, but you’re starting to convince me otherwise! Have fun this weekend!

    1. Hi Carrie, I know! And it’s still important to work on your own thing as well, since everyone has different goals. But if you took a great group fitness class, I bet you’d be hooked. πŸ™‚

  10. Group fitness classes are what sparked my health and fitness journey! I loved the community and the energy and motivation to push myself! And then once I became a GX instructor, I loved finding a friend group of people with similar interests πŸ™‚

  11. I love Key West!! We spent our honeymoon between there and Fort Lauderdale. It was such a great time! I would LOVE a rum runner and conch fritter right about now πŸ˜›

    Finding running and my first 5k were the best things to happen to my fitness life. I floundered through various classes, using the ellipical, etc, but it wasn’t until running that I was able to find harder and harder goals to reach as well as finally start understanding how my diet affects my performance.

    1. Hi Courtney! Oh honeymoons — those are the best! I’m sure you’ll always have great Key West memories because of that. And so awesome that you’ve found a love in running! Keep at it!! πŸ™‚

  12. I love this! I recently added regular group classes to my schedule and I’m really excited to see how this affects my race times this spring and summer! I absolutely agree with all of the benefits you listed. Right now, my favorite class is Centergy, which is a mix of yoga and pilates. The hour flies by when I do it, and it’s already improved my fitness so much!

    1. Hi Gretchen! Ohhhh love the name Centergy, it sounds like a Pilates class. So glad you’re enjoying it and seeing results. Keep it up!! πŸ™‚

  13. Love these 5 reasons! I find all to be very true, and I wouldn’t have even thought about it. I did not find exercise enjoyable until I found the classes I love (which currently consist of barre, yoga, and Pilates for now). It’s nice to schedule my days/weeks around the classes I want to go to. And I do love feeding off the energy of everyone around me; there’s nothing like a person next to you having the same experience to keep you going.

    Have fun in Key West!

  14. I love group exercise classes because I don’t have to do the thinking when it comes to doing the exercises. I just do what the instructor tells me to! It’s great, lol.

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