Exercise. We all know we need to do it, but actually following through with an exercise regimen is a whole other situation.
National Women’s Health Week is coming in May, so it’s never been more important to not only motivate each other to work out, but to also point out common pitfalls we fall into when it comes to physical activity and how we can prevent them from happening.
Every year in January, you will find gyms across the country packed with people who are taking charge of their New Year’s fitness resolutions. Come March and April, however, you will really start to see the numbers go back down.
While it’s easy for us to start up a new fitness regimen, the hardest part is actually being consistent with it.
Let’s say you’ve been hitting the gym steadily for a month. Then a rainy day comes around. You are tired and just don’t feel like working out. You’re not sick, just lethargic, and you convince yourself that it will be fine if you miss your workout just this one time.
That’s how it starts. If you’re not careful, one day can turn into multiple days, and then you discover you haven’t worked out in two weeks!
The trick to working out consistently is to make it something that you look forward to. Even though we have to go, nobody looks forward going to the dentist, but that’s only like twice a year. We should be working out more than just once every six months, which means we must find a way to enjoy heading to the gym.
The solution? Group fitness classes.
If you’re not used to group classes, this may trigger an eye roll or two, but hear me out: They are a fantastic way to stay on track with working out, and, if it’s going to help you be consistent with your workouts, it’s worth a shot.
Exercising at gyms can feel very solitary but being a part of a class helps provide a positive, community environment that can make working out less lonely.
Read below to see why group fitness classes are the best way to keep you exercising consistently.
1. You have so many classes to pick from!
These days, you can find almost any kind of exercise activity when taking group fitness classes. For people who want something more low-key, there’s yoga, Pilates, and ballet-inspired Pure Barre (which is a LOT harder than it looks!) Traditional weight-lifting classes like BodyPump are also also available. Kickboxing and high intensity spinning classes are popular types of group fitness classes that make you burn a TON of calories in a minimal amount of time, and popular dance classes like Zumba are also available. There are so many choices that you can choose something that fits your interests and fitness goals best.
Note: When looking for gyms, it’s important to take in what kind of group fitness schedules they have. Maybe a studio that focuses on a particular format might be best for you if that’s your focus.
2. You can stick to a set schedule.
Sometimes, we can talk ourselves out of going to the gym so well that we could get an award for it. Our lives are busy, and we come to the conclusion that we just don’t have enough time to make it there today — or the following day, and so on. By engaging in group fitness classes, though, your workout routine is on a schedule set up by the gym or studio, which means that, instead of creating your own workout timeline, you already have one cemented.
3. You can make new friends.
When exercise becomes a source of friendship and social interaction, it will motivate you to show up consistently. This is one of the best ways to make sure that you keep working out. You will want to see your friends from your fitness class, which means you will also want to go workout. While you don’t necessarily have to take group fitness classes in order to make friends at the gym, it’s actually a lot easier to meet people in a class format than it is on the regular gym floor, where people tend to tune out the outside world with their headphones.
4. You have someone to motivate you — without paying extra for personal trainer.
Budgets can be really tight. It’s expensive enough paying for a gym membership, let alone adding a personal trainer to your membership. Although having a personal trainer is great for motivation, what do you do if you can’t afford one? Let the group fitness instructor motivate you.
During classes, many instructors will encourage members to push themselves harder and not give up. They will be there to cheer you on during class and will be so excited to see you progress. The instructor is also someone you can check in with when you reach certain goals and can be a source of fitness knowledge for you, if you have additional questions.
5. You are expected to show up.
Once you begin attending group exercise classes for a while, you will start to realize that people notice when you are not there. Whether it is friends you meet in class or the instructor, they will wonder where you are if you don’t show up. Of course, things come up in our schedules that we can’t help, but, if your reason for not going to class is that you just don’t feel like it, people will take note of that. They like having you there, and you become part of the workout family, so others look forward to seeing you there.
6. You can mix up your workouts better.
The great thing about group exercise classes is that you don’t have to worry at all about what to do. There is an instructor there to lead you through the workout, no matter what the workout format is. Almost all formats change routines every few weeks or so, which means that, even if you stick to one group fitness class, it will constantly be changing. This keeps your classes from becoming stagnant, and you will see better results because of the variation. Another way group exercise can help mix up your workouts is that you can just choose to attend different formats. On Mondays, you can go to Zumba, and on Wednesdays you can attend yoga, for instance.
7. It’s never boring.
One of the biggest buzzkills of working out is utter boredom. How many times have you been stuck on a treadmill counting the minutes until you are done? It can become mundane, especially if you do it every time you go to the gym.
Boredom can definitely encourage you to find excuses for avoiding workouts, but group exercise classes are anything but dull. No matter the format, being around other people, and being exposed to different types of workouts, will help you look forward to exercising, which is how you can remain consistent.
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer and Michigan native who covers trending topics, pop culture and astrology. When she’s not writing for YourTango, she is also a travel blogger and an actress.