Getting into the right exercise class is no easy feat. There are so many factors which contribute to your overall enjoyment, engagement, and success.
For one thing, every single instructor has a unique personality, teaching style, and preference when it comes to structuring the class. Some teachers are bubbly and perky; others are more quiet and methodical. Some teachers prefer a circuit-style class; others prefer the whole group to stay together.
You might resonate with the way Ross explains a particular technique, but feel confused when Trish or Susan teaches the same exercise. (Or vice versa. No disrespect, ladies.)
Then there’s the other people in the class. Some people go to class for the social benefit — they like to chat and giggle. You might like that too! Or…perhaps you’re an introvert who prefers to “get in and get out.” You might find all that chatter distracting.
Scheduling also comes into play, of course. If you work, you probably have very specific times when you can get to the gym. So even if there IS a class during that time, the odds of all the above factors lining up at exactly that time are pretty slim.
BUT. If you can find a class that works for you on every level? You’ll double the value of your gym membership (roughly). Here’s why:
Raise your hand if you’ve ever spent 45 minutes on an elliptical machine, watching Celebrity Name Game and more or less goofing off. Could you work harder? Probably. Will you work harder? Eh.
Here’s the most fun part about being a personal trainer and/or fitness instructor: we can tell how hard you’re working. We can see that you have a little bit more to give, and we feel 100% confident that you can do it.
It’s not about being “mean” (although we do derive some pleasure from the curses and complaints that come our way); it’s about giving you what you came for — a workout.
Accountability means you’re less likely to goof off. And when you’re consistently being encouraged to push a little bit harder, you’re getting ten times the benefit. Every time.
Even if you’re not a giggly chatterbox, there’s something about slogging through your workout with the same group of people, week after week, that makes it easier (and more fun). It’s that spirit of, “We’re all in this together.”
Witnessing someone else push through their limits is super inspiring, too.
And over time, you start to look forward to seeing your classmates every Wednesday morning. On those days when you just want to stay in bed, thinking of all your peeps and how they’ll miss you is often just the push you need to make it to the gym at all. (Which is also a form of accountability, BTW. It all fits together.)
3) Instruction & Supervision
Oh boy. This is the core of our mission at AFF — making sure you’re doing things properly. Ask any trainer who’s been in the business for a while, and they’ll regale you with all kinds of examples of crappy exercise technique they’ve witnessed over the years. We hate it.
Let’s take push-ups, which is my personal pet peeve. Incorrect push-ups do nothing for you, except maybe exacerbate whatever tension and discomfort you already have in your neck and shoulders. While a correctly done push-up is quite possibly the best total-body, no-equipment-needed exercise you can do.
Maximum bang for your buck.
And, it’s also true that executing a proper push-up takes a lot of time, practice, and coaching. Especially if you’re starting with the jacked-up posture most of us computer-sitters have (I say as I hunch over my laptop).
So, it stands to reason that the 45 minutes spent in a class, learning and practicing proper technique over and over again, far outweighs the hours upon hours you might devote to awkward squats and improper push-ups.
Note: If you do prefer to work out alone, taking just a few of our FunGx classes will provide you with the technical guidance you need to make those solo workouts way more safe and effective.
When you have a secret plan to hit the gym by 8AM every morning, but nobody knows about it or expects you there, you can blow it off with little to no consequence.
But if you’re registered for a class at 8AM and you don’t show up, people will notice. The instructor for sure, plus your buddies who typically expect you there (see “Camaraderie”).
Even if it’s all in your head — instructors don’t really get mad when you don’t show up; these things happen all the time for any number of reasons — it’s still an effective tool.
Humans hate not following through. Saying you’re going to do something, and then not doing it, feels sh*tty. It eats away at your integrity.
And I’d wager that that feels even worse than just dragging your butt to the gym…even when you don’t want to.
Do YOU prefer coming to class over flying solo? What keeps you coming back?