So I must admit, I am definitely one of those people at the gym who try to avoid interacting with others. Normally I am a very social person, but for some reason the gym is where I become the most anti-social version of myself. You would think that with such a closely-knit fitness community, that would not be the case.
So several years ago I decided I would try to break through my anti-social habit and try group exercise. The first thing I noticed immediately was that each class I went to was almost always entirely women! Now, when my mother would attend aerobics in the 80s with all women I was not surprised. But I was shocked that this is still the case for many group exercise classes.
At first I was reluctant to try any form of group exercise because I was comfortable just doing my own thing by myself. But after several weeks of trying classes, I found that I had been missing key pieces from my workouts all along. I tried a variety of classes, and I enjoyed something from every one. I had FUN.
However, don’t let the fun fool you. The classes I attended kicked my butt. From spin to kickboxing, cardio and strength to yoga and toning, each class pushed me to work harder than I was in my own individual workouts. I was sweating and sore and stronger after each one. I was motivated not only by the instructor, but the other people in the class as well. It was a nice change of pace from my usual routine.
I learned new techniques that I had never tried before. I saw people doing new forms and new adaptations that I wanted to try. It really helped to freshen up my old view of workouts and added variety that I had been lacking before. I also learned the correct way to do many of the exercises from the instructor, so I was less prone to injuries.
I skipped less. Let’s be honest, nothing sucks your motivation away faster than a harsh winter. We had a rough one this year, but my gym habits survived because I had group classes to keep me going. Not only did I have a new form of accountability with my fellow classmates, but attending helped to break up my cabin fever from being snowed in my house for so many days.
I also learned some humility during my workouts. Yes, I tripped and stumbled in front of the large mirrors for all to see a time or two. And while it can be painful initially, you learn to laugh, shake it off, and get back to work.
I also began working harder in my own individual workouts, because I had developed the habit from group classes. Everyone can learn something from group exercise.