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Group Fitness (large fitness classes, bootcamps, outdoor group training) has got to be one of the most affordable ways to work out and train. You get the benefits of seeing a trainer regularly and you have the potential to get similar results that you get through one on one training sessions. WIN WIN!
As a trainer, I love running group fitness classes because it means I get to interact with more girls and teach them how to get the most out of their workouts. They love simply turning up and doing what they are told! We all love a bit of direction. In my opinion, you get to leave it to the experts and just get it done.
There are a few tricks to getting the most out of these sessions and you are about to get the low down from a fitness expert and personal trainer (that’s me)
Suit your session to your goal
Want to tone up (we trainers call that increasing muscle mass/strength), lose weight, get fit and be more body confident? Most women will answer yes to all four. In that case, a circuit style outdoor workout offering a cross section of weights/resistance, high intensity cardio and core workout is best. It’ll give you a nice balanced workout and push you out of your comfort zone.
If it’s flexibility, core strength and balance: Yoga, Barre and Pilates are your best bet. Find a class close to work or home that best fits your schedule to avoid dropping out. If a class fits into your life you are less likely to make excuses not to go.
Want more cardio fitness? Perhaps a dance style workout or spin class is more your vibe
Need to get fit for a fun run? Join a running group that incorporates a little body weight strength work to increase strength and decrease the chance of injuries.
Join with a friend
Having that added support of knowing someone can help shake those nerves when it comes to group classes. Find out what you both want from a class (goals/intensity) and go from there
Choose a handy location and time
You may think getting a free session from your friends friend who run’s a bootcamp is a great idea but when it takes you 1 hour to get to, is it really that convenient? How long will you stick to that? My tip is to simply start googling in your local area or work district for something that. Many trainers will be willing to give you a trial (usually for free or at a reduced rate of normal fees) and that way you can get a feel for the class, trainer and style of workout. Time is also crucial. The amount of girls who tell me they hate early mornings yet try to commit to training early mornings. It never makes sense to me. There are so many options when it comes to training time- so pick the best one for your lifestyle.
Keep up with the “elite” members of the group
An easy way to push yourself is to always hang with the leaders of the pack. Yes, you can totally start at your own pace- one of the beauties of a group workout but if you want to really smash through your goals, working out around those fitter individual’s will see you breaking through fitness plateau’s faster than ever.
Aim to workout at least 3 times per week
With most group workout’s costing between $30-75 per week- it makes sense to go regularly to get the most out of your money. Many PT’s and gyms offer discounted rates for group training and this works in your favour. The more sessions you get in- the fitter/stronger/leaner you become and when people get results they are more likely to continue on their fitness journey. 3 sessions spread out over the week is manageable for most and will really set you up for some obvious physical results in as little as 4-6 weeks time. It’s important to make that healthy lifestyle commitment and not have your fitness routine be something you do for a few weeks and then drop out.
Warm up and Stretch In Your Own Time
You’ll use your workout time more effectively by doing our own stretching/foam rolling in your own time. You can easily spend 5-10 mins after your session or in front of the telly at home to do this yourself. Here’s a simple How-To Foam Rolling guide
Most good trainers/instructors will incorporate a decent warm up in their sessions anyway, if not, simply jump on an exercise bike/rower/cross trainer for approximately 5 minutes at a medium pace to elevate your heart rate and get the body moving. If you are outside- a light 3-4 min jog or walk is great followed by a unweighted set of 12 reps each of lunges or step ups, full range squats then some dips and pushups.
If you don’t feel comfortable with an exercise or feel pain – simply stop. Never push through pain. Muscle soreness/fatigue is different. That’s that feeling after or during your workout that we eventually learn to love. Pain is different, and it’s not something you want to “push through”. Let your trainer know immediately that it just doesn’t feel right. Another common thing to avoid is doing too much to soon. I know you can get “in the zone” but multiple workouts in a day or back-to-back workouts can be detrimental to your results and can lead to over training. If you are a newbie, take it easy. Remember you can always build up to more classes/intensity later on.
Ask Your Trainer’s Advice
You know what? Trainers love dishing out advice! It’s in your best interest to get chatting to your instructor/PT about any additional advice they may have for you. The thing is, good trainers want to see all their clients/participants succeed and if you show extra interest, trust me they will welcome your enthusiasm.
Don’t Forget To Have Fun
The things my girls and I bring up during our sessions are hilarious! There’s always some tangent we go off on. But you know what? We are always moving and we always have a laugh- it’s just part of my style. I’m not into draconian style workouts (that’s cool if you are!) I just feel at the end of the day, we are all trying to get through our workouts as fast as possible, get some decent results (which we do!), dump some stress, move our bodies and not take ourselves too seriously. It’s not like we training for the Olympics.