Are you having trouble sticking to your fitness goals or reaching the destination that you set for your New Year’s resolution? Or maybe you just want to change things up because you’ve hit a fitness plateau. If either of these is the case, I’ve found that joining a group really gets results. I highly recommend joining a group with likeminded and motivated people who are trying to reach the same or similar goals.
Why Group Training?
Group training coaches can take your specific goals and incorporate them into your group training time, so even though you are in a group, your training is modified to your individual needs. A skilled coach can change intensities, reps, weights, and numbers of sets for each individual in the group depending on their goals and fitness levels. Although to an outsider it may look as if everyone is doing the same thing, the training is geared toward what each individual needs and wants to accomplish.
Find the Group Training Option That Fits You
Some group training options to consider are BOSU training, fitness groups or classes, team and intramural sports, or club leagues. There are groups and classes for all age groups, skill and fitness levels, and sports, including group training at NIFS. Make it FUN! Find what you enjoy to ensure that you stay active and motivated. If you were involved in team sports during high school or college, consider getting involved again. Once you are back in the swing of things, it will feel like you never stopped.
The Benefits of Group Training
The benefits of group training are many. Here are a few of the most important ones:
- Motivation: Teaming up with likeminded people who share your goal of losing weight, gaining strength, increasing performance, or competing in a physical event will push you to be your best. In group training, your skilled coach can push you to your highest level, plus your teammates will cheer you on to do your best. You will find when training with others that you are two times more capable than you thought you were!
- Accountability: Letting one person down is difficult, but it’s even harder to blow off several people who are looking to see you. That’s the power of group. A group holds you accountable in a way a trainer or coach can’t. How would you like a group to call you and check on you? Many find their fitness group their community that encourages and looks out for them. When I work with a group, I stress the fact that everyone has your back and you have to have their back as well. With that notion it continues to go round and round in a cycle and everyone always has ample support.
- Camaraderie: If you are not laughing—or at least smiling—while you are training, you are definitely doing something wrong. Training time is about laughter, competition, having fun, and joking around. Training is not always serious. I’m sure you all have heard the saying, “If you enjoy what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” Same thing goes for training!
- Human contact: Are you one of the many people who sit behind a computer all day and see only one or two people on your way to and from work? You weren’t built for that! A group can be a great way to get reconnected. There is something about being physically present with other people that cell phones and computers can’t replace. We all need a slap on the back for a job well done and some encouraging words. I’ve even seen new friendships formed over fitness.
- Performance: Research has proven that performance skyrockets when you train in a group. Groups will make you work harder and push yourself further. Performance is closely associated with motivation and accountability.
- Science: A vast amount of research indicates that group training and exercise will lead you to more benefits than you expect. It’s not just about enjoying time with others; there is a physiological response to working in a group. Endorphins are like a runners’ high and provide a good feeling. Studies show that endorphin levels increase substantially when exercising in a group. No matter what type of exercise, the endorphin hormones increase.
Over a decade ago, Professor Kevin Spink and the University of Saskatchewan conducted studies that showed a correlation between an individual’s sense of group-ness and cohesion within an exercise class and that person’s punctuality, workout level, and attendance. The group setting adds accountability and motivation.
You might be dead tired from getting your butt kicked at work all day, but as soon as you put your workout gear on and show up for group, all of the tiredness disappears. Your motivation and energy levels go through the roof. It’s science, people! It’s not just your coach getting in your face that gets you ready to go. It is the group that pushes you forward.
Put the Power of a Group to Work for You!
Written by Tony Maloney, NIFS Fitness Center Manager and Personal Trainer. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.