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Why should I try group fitness classes?

“This is it! Today is the day that I start working out! Yesssssirrrr, new month, new me. I am going to be F-I-T. A picture of health. A vision of strength. That’s girl summer? Oh, I'm coming in hot!” Sound familiar? We have all been there. What happens? A few weeks pass, the alarm clock snooze button gets worn in, and treat meals turn into cheat months. Why does this cycle sound so familiar?

Every year, 40% of Americans will make a fitness related goal. However, reports indicate that these resolutions fail after 1-2 months. While there is comfort in knowing that people share similar struggles, what is the underlying cause of this struggle? Why are these goals to gain strength and shed pounds so elusive?

First and foremost, as with any form of goal setting, changing your mindset is the first step to changing your life. We must tackle small goals first, empower ourselves, cultivate optimism, and develop critical awareness. But what happens when the inevitable stressors of life deplete our intrinsic mindset? Open your mind to the idea of group fitness.

I remember my first day at Align Athletics. I was looking for a new gym in Lynchburg, Virginia, and I kept seeing my friend rave on social media about her gym, Align Athletics. I was anxious the entire morning leading up to the summer afternoon class. I walked into the gym with zero expectations and one hundred hestiations. To my surprise, my first group class consisted of an AMRAP of air squats followed by an outdoor 800 meter run. While my legs might have felt like spaghetti, my heart was full. Between the coach’s guidance and the fellow athletes’ encouragement, I was motivated to say the least. (Catherine Bragg, 5:00 AM Class, Align 60)

Benefits of Group Classes

  • Budget: Plain and simple, a healthy lifestyle is an investment of time, and sometimes, money. After you have exhausted your New Year’s Resolution 4 or 5 times, you might consider a personal trainer to create a foolproof plan for you. But guess what? Personal trainers sometimes come with a foolish price tag. Generally, engaging in a group class 4-5x a week is more budget friendly than working with a personal trainer.

  • Guidance: Find yourself walking around the gym repeating the same 4 movements you saw on Instagram? Copying the movement that Chiseled Chad finished a few minutes before you got to the machine? In a group class setting, you receive expert guidance from a qualified coach. Instead of rewinding Youtube videos to check your form, experts provide critique and correction to your mechanics, down to the angle of your wrist wrapped around the barbell. Further, instead of choosing random workout guides from online, expert coaches can provide programming that targets a variety of specific muscle groups. Having a relationship with an expert coach will not only improve your form, but it will also strengthen your mind. “The coaches at Align Athletics made me feel welcome on day one. We ended class with fist bumps and encouragement. I felt acknowledged.” (Lauren Wade, 5:00 AM, Align 60)

  • Planning: One of the biggest obstacles to achieving fitness goals is mental exhaustion. Balancing work, home, and social priorities is taxing, so why not join a group class with zero planning involved? Walk into the gym with your workout, down to the warm up, already written on the board and planned for you. You deserve to leave the gym feeling mentally prepared rather than mentally exhausted.

  • Routine: It takes an average of 66 days for a lifestyle change to become a habit. Start small with two days a week. Maybe you commit to going to a group class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As you gain confidence and comfort, your attendance will increase. Eventually, routinely incorporating a group class 4-5x a week into your daily routine will solidify a healthy habit for you.

  • Community: With a tight-knit community, it does not take long for the class to notice a member’s extended absence. When your fuel is low, a gym partner can replenish your motivation tank with a simple text message. Your class becomes your family - a source of support and encouragement before, during, and after the workout. “I love my gym family! Just thinking about them brings a smile to my face.” (Paige Williams, 6:00 AM, Align 60)

  • Goals: As noted before, it is difficult to follow through in our personal goals without accountability and inspiration. If you have a goal of becoming the world’s best tightrope walker, and you only surround yourself with clowns in tiny cars, it’s highly unlikely that you can accomplish your mission. If you want to achieve a goal, you must surround yourself with like minded individuals who will boost you up instead of tear you down.

Are you interested in a group class? Align Athletics offers the following group classes:

  • Foundations: Starting a new group class can be intimidating! Foundations classes are designed to give you the education that you need in order to progress in the Align 60 classes. Four Foundations courses will provide the following: basic education, structured warm up, coaching on 2-3 movements per class, and a sample of workout techniques often used in group classes. No experience needed.

  • Align 30: A short, effective 30 minute, workout designed to maintain high intensity in a group setting. Align 30 is a quick and convenient way to build muscle and cardiovascular strength with minimal time and weight. No experience needed.

  • Align 60: An hour long class of reputable programming capable of improving a variety of fitness levels. Align 60 group classes tackle areas of strength, gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, and conditioning.

  • Free Trial Week: Not sure if you are ready to dive right in? We don’t buy cars without test driving them first, right? Don’t sign the dotted line at a gym without making sure it is the right fit for you. Search for a local gym that offers a free trial.

If you’re looking for community, solid friends, and competition to get you motivated, I recommend the group classes at Align Athletics! (Ashleigh Hubbard, 5:30 PM, Align 60)

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