I still remember the moment as clear as day. It was the day I had decided to join a fitness group and it was downright scary.
I'd been a runner for over five years, I even had a half marathon under my belt. I started running because I wanted to drop a few pounds and it worked. But when I crossed the finish line at my half I knew my goals had shifted. I wanted to be stronger.
Strong Is the New Black
I count myself grateful to be a woman in my prime when strength is being celebrated. Gone are the days when starving yourself was considered sexy (that never worked for me, I love food too much). Today, women across the globe are realizing that with strength comes confidence and there's nothing more attractive than that. Strong is a fashion statement I wear proudly. But I digress, let's get back to my being scared outside the doors of PNF.
Why Joining a Fitness Group Is Scary but you Should do it Anyway
Running felt safe to me. No crazy moves (coordination is not my forte), no awkward conversations at the gym - just me, my sneaks, and the open road. The idea of joining a fitness group scared me. What if I couldn't make it through a one-hour workout? What if I was the weakest person there? What if I looked stupid? And what the heck were these things called burpees?!
As frightened as I was I knew that running wasn't cutting it. I wasn't challenging myself. I knew I could accomplish more, and I knew the only way to do it was by joining a fitness group.
Why Fitness Groups Work
There are a few key reasons why joining a fitness group helped me achieve my fitness goals:
- Motivation. It's downright motivating to be surrounded by dedicated, like-minded people with the same goals. It doesn't get much more empowering than a class with a talented instructor and supportive people all working hard together. Group fitness keeps you motivated and encourages you to dig deeper and challenge yourself during workouts.
- Good form. If you're not performing the exercises correctly you won't reap the benefits. Worse yet, you're setting yourself up for an injury. A qualified fitness instructor will not only show proper form, but also makes sure that everyone in the class is executing each exercise properly.
- Accountability. The longer you attend fitness classes the deeper your relationships become with your workout buddies. I mean, is there really any greater bonding experience than knowing they're dying right alongside you? With these friendships comes accountability. If I had a dollar for every time a workout pal has messaged me to see why I skipped class, or tagged me in a Facebook post asking if they'll see me later that night, I'd be rich. It's accountability that gets me to class when all I really want to do is put my sweats on and settle in for a Netflix binge.
- Competition. Competition has its place in reaching your fitness goals. Let's be clear: I'm not talking about the "I beat you" junior high mentality (ain't nobody got time for that!) but rather competitive teamwork. In fact, that's what the AMRAP lifestyle is all about. If a workout buddy grabs heavier weights, goes all out in TABATA, or drops it like it's hot with a killer squat, you'll like challenge yourself and do the same. Tell me you'd do the same in your living room.
- Variety. If you want exercise to become a habit it needs to be fun. Boredom will almost always lead to you bailing on your fitness goals. Cardio kickboxing, bootcamp, spin, TABATA--these are just a few of the classes I have to choose from each week. Having a variety of classes at your disposal ensures muscle confusion, ramping up your metabolism and leading to results. It also helps prevent boredom.
I joined a fitness group over a year and a half ago and it's the best investment I've ever made in my health. I'm healthier, stronger, reaching fitness goals I never thought possible, and am having fun while doing it. The friendships I've made will last a lifetime and I no longer dread bathing suit season. Woot!
Take it from me, if you want to challenge yourself and see tangible results, join a fitness class.
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