I’ll admit it. I often prefer to be alone. Throw me in a large group, and I start to get a bit panicked (what if the 24-hour deodorant stops working early?). I generally work with women one-on-one for training. You know, PERSONAL, not group training.
And yet…tonight I got to help a bit with a group boot camp class. The excitement and energy of that class reminded me of why I got into fitness in the first place. All those people having fun and doing the same thing? It’s magical energy.
There are lots of reasons to find a group to exercise with. Here are a few (don’t worry, I’ve also got ways for you to find this magical exercise group. Keep reading!):
- Accountability: Yes, the one-on-one with a personal trainer keeps you accountable. I check in with my clients and make sure they’re working out even when we’re not together. However, in such a setting, a trainer is only going to push so much. I can’t give the person the internal motivation they need to continue reaching for their goals. But a group? If you’ve got 5 people expecting you to be at a class, on a hike, etc., they’re going to make sure you’re there. That’s 5 different texts. “Where are you?” “Are you bailing on us?” “You said you’d be here.” Just like a large family, an “exercise tribe” (oh my gosh, I hope I just made that up. Let’s not Google it just in case.) will make sure you’re keeping on task and sticking to your plans.
- Competition: It doesn’t matter if you say you aren’t competitive. Get a group together, and you’re going to want to compete. It just happens naturally. Maybe a little trash talking (joking, of course!). Maybe you see someone else pick up a heavier kettlebell. Maybe if you run just a tad faster, you’ll catch the woman in front of you. All in good fun, of course. Competing in a group helps you push yourself harder than you would working out alone.
- Intensity: I touched on it a bit just now in #2, but a group setting will most definitely give you a chance to push yourself. I’ve done this myself. I’ll write the perfect workout plan…then meh. Just not feel like doing 3 sets…maybe just one set. Maybe I won’t lift as much as I’d planned… Maybe I’ll go back to bed… Has that ever been you? No chance of that with your exercise tribe. No woman will be left behind, as it were…
- Fun: We all know that exercise helps those awesome feel-good endorphins, right? In a group setting, that feel-good state starts even sooner. I saw this immediately in tonight’s class. Participants showed up and started joking and getting to know one another before class even started. By the time they were warming up, they were old friends who only met a few minutes earlier.
- Variety: There’s no end to the different ways to exercise with your tribe. I’ve mentioned boot camps a couple of times, and those can be found almost every day in a Groupon. Like to dance? Try Zumba! Rather be outside? Gather a group and go hiking. If there’s a way you like to move, there’s a group doing it.
So how do you find this amazing exercise tribe? I told you I’d tell you, right?
- Talk to the people you know already. I’ve recently read this great book by Bob Beaudine called, The Power of Who. The premise of the book is that we already know all of the people we need to know who will help us be successful. I definitely think this is true when it comes to exercise support. That amazing group of women at the top of this post were on one of several hikes I organized this summer just by posting, “Who wants to go hike?” on Facebook. Put yourself out there–others will join you.
- Groupon: Seriously, I think I see a different group training Groupon three or four times a week. This is how I found a boot camp when I started my own fitness journey. It’s an excellent way to try something out without a huge investment up front. Chances are, you’ll love it enough to keep going.
- Gyms: Duh. Most gyms post their exercise classes and hold them every day. Go do them! Don’t stand in the back. No one will laugh at you, you’re awesome.
- Rec Centers: I’ve found that the rec centers in my area offer exercise classes (without the price of a gym membership) that target different groups: mothers with young kids, older adults, etc. See what fits you!
- City events: In this area, the city organizes free weekly boot camps and classes each week. What a great way to meet new people and exercise!
Your exercise tribe will be there to encourage you in your health and fitness goals. Go find your tribe!