If you’re anything like me, you probably enjoy one of the many benefits of taking a group exercise class. From the motivation the instructor gives to push yourself, combined with the motivation from others in the class around you to keep you going even when you feel like quitting—mainly because you don’t want to look like the biggest sissy in the class— group classes can be great. If nothing else, for an hour, you can enjoy a tough workout that you didn't even have to think about. You just show up, do as you’re told, and hopefully get the results you want.
However, there is only one little problem with taking group exercise classes.
How do you know if the group exercise class you're taking is actually getting you the body and the results that YOU want?
After being a group fitness instructor for a few years now, I can tell you one thing is for certain: most people do not get the most out of their group exercise class.
With that said, here are my top four tips so that you can finally start seeing the results you want and get the most out of every class.
Many people I’ve trained in the past—mostly men—at some point have let their ego get in the way. They try to power through an injury during a workout WITHOUT ever mentioning it to the instructor.
Going through the entire workout, and never mentioning any pain or discomfort you may have during an exercise isn’t noble, it's f**king stupid. Most trainers (the good ones at least) should have various exercises in their arsenal to get the same or a similar result, so ASK for modifications.
When it comes to trying new things, many of us resist change. Whether it’s a new instructor, new exercise or new format, eventually things will and should change!
Our bodies adapt to the same stresses over time, so breaking those old habits and trying something new could be just what you need to finally get a breakthrough in your body.
Personally, I LOVE competition. Whether I’m competing with myself or someone better, sometimes competition gives me JUST the extra push I need to go beyond my comfort zone and improve even faster!
If you find it hard to motivate yourself in a group setting, challenge yourself to work out next to someone who is just a little bit better than you are and KEEP UP.
Depending on the type of group exercise class you're taking, you could be going too much or not enough. So how do you know where you fall?
Much of that will depend on your current fitness level, your fitness goals and your body’s ability to recover via nutrition and rest. However, based on a general rule of thumb, if you’re currently taking a group class that involves lifting weights and working your total body every class, I would not exceed more than 2-4 classes per week.
If the class is well structured and you’re NOT focusing on working the same muscle groups each day, then 3-5 days per week is good. If you’re only taking an aerobic class that just uses your own body weight, then 3-6 days per week is good.
I recommend taking at least one day off per week, and one week off every 6-8 weeks. That gives your body time to recuperate, which can be just as important as working out itself.
Hope this helps!