Humans are nestled at the top of the food chain above sharks, gorillas, tigers, and eagles. According to evolutionist Charles Darwin, we are at the top of the food chain because we learn to collaborate more effectively.
Darwin could have easily been talking about the benefits of exercise classes, especially as we are all aware of his views on the survival of the fittest. Today, more than ever, people turn to group training to help them with their fitness regimes.
Here’s why there is strength in numbers
We’re Social Animals
Research shows that the healthy actions of others rub off on us. A study published in the subtly titled ‘journal obesity’ discovered that overweight individuals tended to lose more weight if they spent more time with fit friends. Another study in the journal of social sciences found that we gravitate towards the exercise behaviours of those around us. In other words, motivation to exercise rises when you are with like-minded fitness folk.
The Kohler Effect
The Kohler effect is a phenomenon that occurs when an individual works harder as a member of a group than working alone. Psychologist Otto Kohler first discovered it in the 1920s. He asked the local Berlin rowing group to perform standing curls with heavy weights until exhausted both independently and in groups. He found that due to social comparison, the group’s lift was significantly greater than lifting solo. At least a couple of times a week, training in a group will push you past that perceived threshold, whether that’s based on time or intensity.
You’ve signed up to a gym, completed an induction, and are advised by the instructors to sign up for a PT session or two to help you maximize every session and reduce the chances of injury. It’s an offer, of course, that is rarely taken up; that’s where group exercise classes come in. Usually, from 30 to 60 minutes, they are structured with purpose. The facilitator will include an appropriate warmup, main set, and cool down. The instructors also not solely designing the components of the workout but the intensity, too, so the class will smash the aspect of fitness you’re looking to work on, be it cardiovascular fitness or honing lean muscle mass.
If you are tired of the same routine repeatedly, group training is for you. Group training is perfect because you get to mix up your sessions and do something different every day. As a bonus, the endless variety of sessions means you also get to try other exercises, so you learn new things along the way. These sessions will give you the type you need to keep you motivated and engaged. A variety of activities will also prevent you from over-training some parts and neglecting other equally important areas. For example, if you are used to solo runs, a group workout will have different exercises such as resistance training, cardio, martial arts, yoga, etc.
Enjoy Double the Endorphin Rush
Runners and others will be aware of the runner’s high; this is the feeling of euphoria that floods over your mind and body after, in this case, running for a certain period of time. Seemingly, in an effort to reward you for coping with discomforts, you release endorphins, otherwise known as the happy hormone. This process is a well-known exercise physiological mechanism. Training in a group will help the runners get more endorphins release because they will push their limits and enjoy competitiveness.
Helps Push Through the Pain
Less well known is that exercising in a group setting can help people push through the pain and exhaustion barriers, and it’s all down to endorphins and a little ego. Studies have shown that training in groups increases the threshold of pain and exhaustion, meaning that exercising in a group with fellow fitness goers going through the pain gives a boost, and you work even harder. If you need encouragement, group motivation can keep you focused and allow the synergy to propel you further.
Track Your Fitness
Training with others allows you to gauge your rate of achievements, progress, and personal goals directly against your peers. Rather than solely concentrating on your journey, you have a yardstick that can help guild you on the overall progress. This yardstick is a better, more realistic, and honest way of tracking your development in the gym. We are the mirrors of our peers. So, If you started at the same level of fitness with your peers, you can be able to tell whether the workouts are helping the group or whether there is stagnation.
Some friendly competition brings out the best in people during group exercises. As a group, members will strive to improve and outdo their peers. This friendly competition means that the group will improve over time because each member will take the workouts more seriously and avoid being last in each drill. In some gym groups, the coach will usually hold a monthly competition for the team and a prize given to winners. Incentivising the group does wonders because the team can squeeze in that extra rep because of competition.
Accountable to the Group
Scenario one, it’s cold and raining, but you’re warm and dry. The unhealthy and unhelpful devil on your right shoulder screams, “stay under the covers, grab another hour’s sleep, you deserve it; it’s been a tough week.” Scenario two, it’s cold and raining, you’re warm and dry, the healthy and helpful angel on your shoulder whispers, “it’s warm in the bed, of course, but remember how much fun the last exercise class was? You can do it!”. Despite bad weather conditions, you will gather enough strength and head to the gym because you want to be accountable and don’t want to let the group down.
People spend an average of one hour in the gym, this time is only a fraction of the whole day, but it can make a lot of difference in the quality of life. Spending hefty amounts of money on personal trainers is an option most people can avoid by joining group workouts. The money saved by joining fitness groups can be channelled elsewhere, such as in nutrition and training gear.
When you share your workout experience with other people, it helps you build a connection because you are going through the process together. You don’t feel like you’re going on your journey alone, and you have other people to push you through. This camaraderie will help people socialise even beyond the confines of a gym. Business and employment connections can be built through friendship in the group sessions, which will benefit the whole group. Research shows that people involved in smaller group fitness classes stick with their programs longer, not only because of the personal attention, saving, community, motivation, and support but adding that adherence leads to improvements.
When you have expert coaching that is budget-friendly, motivational, community building, supportive, and easy to maintain, results are inevitable. This is the reason why some gyms have reported high success rates with their clients over the years. Working as a team brings so many benefits to life and the gym. Each individual has something unique to bring to the table, and sharing in our joy and pain makes all experiences bearable and memorable. Try new exercise classes, from strengthening to spin, and you have every reason to sign up now. In short, others’ support in these exercise classes means you won’t want to let them down.
So, get out there and hit your goals.