Health and wellness are trending topics these days. Looking healthy is the new sexy, and eating organic food after hitting the gym is the new status symbol.
The health movement is going mainstream as people get more educated about their health needs. I mean, even McDonald’s realized that they needed to offer some healthy options if they wanted to keep up with the market.
As health and wellness infiltrate societal norms, it’s no surprise that these ideals are working their way into the social scene.
Humans are social creatures and as more of us care about our health, the ability to turn it into a social event is trending. Now, group fitness classes give us the chance to improve our health while meeting new people and busting out of the confines of the gym.
What Do The Experts Say About The Group Fitness Trend?
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM,) any group fitness that involves wearable tech, high-intensity interval training, and body weight training, will be huge this year. They based their predictions off of a survey of over 1,800 fitness professionals from personal trainers to college professors.
The president of ACSM, Walter Thompson, says that group fitness classes took off in 2008, when the economy crashed and people didn’t have a lot of extra cash. During this time, personal trainers were a luxury, and more people switched to cheaper options like group exercise.
Thompson also points out the popularity of yoga, a group exercise that has been trending for about a decade, but is constantly being reinvented.
The ACSM survey also touches on the new trend of group personal training, which makes it possible for people to actually afford this type of exercise.
“In these challenging economic times, personal trainers are being more creative in the way they package personal training sessions and how they market themselves to small groups,” the survey says.
The Pros And Cons Of Group Fitness Classes
Like most things in life, group fitness classes come with their own set of pros and cons.
Pros of Group Fitness Classes
- Motivation: It’s always easier to be motivated for a task when you’re not the only one who has to do it. Come on, isn’t it easier to wake up for a morning run when you know your friend will be joining you? With a group mentality in place, you may feel more inclined to show up. And, with other people watching, you may feel more inclined to do your best.
- Fun & Variety: One of the biggest reasons that people skip the gym is that it can be boring and mundane. Doing the same thing every single week gets old, and you are even less likely to exercise when it feels boring. Group fitness classes offer a ton of exercise options, some of them feeling more like play than a workout.
- Accountability: When you skip your gym plans, there really isn’t much consequence other than your inevitable guilt before going to bed that night. However, skipping out on a workout that involved a friend will feel much worse. You won’t want to let people down, which is why you are more likely to show up to a group fitness class.
- Socializing: If you’re out of college, you might find that it’s difficult to make new and quality friends these days. Hanging out in bars seems like the only place to meet someone, and often times, the friendships made in these places aren’t quality. By taking group fitness classes, you can meet new friends and socialize with people who care about their health and have some of the same interests as you.
Cons of Group Fitness Classes
- Little Individualized Training: While these classes can be fun, participants won’t find much in the ways of individual training. If your butt is your problem area, your weekly fitness classes may never touch on that area in a way that would help you see results. Also, if you have certain physical disabilities, restrictions, or illnesses, you may not be able to fully participate in some aspects of group fitness classes.
- Higher Risk of Injury or Overtraining: Because group fitness classes don’t often consider the individual, you may be faced with exercises that could hurt you rather than help your fitness. And, with the pressure that comes with being in front of a group, you might push yourself harder than you normally would, causing you to over train.
- Bad Form: When you are training on your own or with a personal trainer, there is more time to pay attention to form. Having good form and posture is important so that you don’t hurt yourself while training. It’s also essential to seeing desired results. Between the fast pace and quantity of people in a fitness class, it isn’t easy for an instructor to fix your form.
While group fitness classes can have these cons, you shouldn’t throw the idea away all together. In fact, with these classes, the pros usually outweigh the cons, and it’s not necessary to rely on these classes for your entire weekly routine. Instead, you may want to add a class to your weekly schedule just to mix up your regular gym or training routine.
What Kind of Group Fitness Classes Can I Take?
Nowadays, there are a whole lot to choose from. Some examples include:
Yoga: You don’t have to be inherently flexible to enjoy and benefit yoga. The movements in the practice focus on balance to connect with the body and in some cases, can help with recovery from other high-intensity sports. You can try hot yoga, aerial yoga, acroyoga, or vinyassa.
HIIT is rocking the fitness scene with lots of interesting options for you to pick from. TRX workouts use bodyweight to build muscle mass while burning fat, and can be done in a group setting to boot.
The Les Mills group fitness classes are definitely worth a mention as well. The Les Mills method specializes in high-powered, motivational group classes with some interesting combinations including dancing, boxing and even yoga, all accompanied with energizing music.
Personal Group Training: These personal training sessions are open to small groups and combine personalized workouts with the group mentality. You can always grab a few friends and build your own group.
Hotel Gym Classes: This combines the group fitness trend with travel and business. Many hotels are now offering fitness classes in the hotel, on the hotel grounds, and sometimes, on the roof of the building for a great view.
Pound: This full body workout is a mix of body weight training and Pilates that also incorporates drum sticks and beating them to a rhythm.
Game Workouts: Throwback Fitness, a studio in NYC, puts a fitness spin on classic games like Capture The Flag, Tag, and Flip Cup.
Pole Dancing: This ‘scandalous’ sounding group fitness class lets you try your hand at the stripper pole. Don’t worry, you’ll keep your clothes on while you work off the pounds.
The list of group fitness classes goes on, and there is sure to be something that you’ll find interesting. If you want to get in shape, be healthy, and get involved in this new fitness trend, check your city or town for a fitness class near you! Add one or two into your weekly schedule and you’ll see just how fast the results will pile up.