Stay Motivated with Group Exercise

Posted by Squad Leader on

Stay Motivated with Group Exercise
As we plow through January, many of us who rushed to the gym every day in that first week start to feel the motivation dwindle. We get bored. We feel like we aren’t working out hard enough and without purpose and direction. Some of us might even question what the hell we’re doing.

I admit I used to feel this way every time I set foot in a gym, especially the “heath club” kind of gym. You know, the ones where you pay for the membership and they have rows and rows of cardio machines and weightlifting machines that most people don’t know how to use? They have pools and saunas and locker rooms. If you go to this gym and you'd rather not, read on because this blog is for you.

I had a membership to that kind of gym for years and I never felt like I got much out of it. I didn’t know how to use the majority of the equipment other than the hot tub and I would walk in everyday without a plan. So I never really got in shape. I didn’t see any results and it was an awful chore to make myself visit that place on the regular. In fact, I grew to HATE it. It was the place I went to feel lonely and confused and bored and….out of shape. And then one day I was using the free weights and some random dude started throwing up repeatedly in his gym bag. Aaaaaand my workout was over. In fact, my health club membership days were over. I never went back. And that was 5 years ago. True story.

So ANYway, if you find yourself loathing the gym right now, you’re not alone. But don’t give up on the idea of regular exercise. Group exercise offers better options for structure, motivation and learning new things that you can’t get from working out by yourself.  

If you’re like me, you might have participated in some kind of sport or activity when you were in grade school. Like, soccer or swim team or softball or dance or gymnastics. Hell, even Phys. Ed. Class counts. There was always some sort of coach or leader telling you what to do. And you did it, because it had structure and everyone else in the group was doing it. But the best part of it was always….your friends. And even when you lost the friggin game or fell on your ass, they were always there to slap you a high five at the end.

Working out with other people in a structured, coach-led environment can help you stay both motivated and accountable. It might even cause you to have a little fun, learn something new and make some new friends. Here are 10 ideas in case you don’t know where to start when it comes to group exercise:

Martial Arts Classes (this in itself has tons of sub-category options)
Jazzercise or Zumba
Body Pump
Running clubs or walking groups
Cycling clubs
Masters swimming groups
Triathlon groups
Masters Soccor, softball, volleyball, basketball, water polo…..any team sport in the history of ever
Kettle bells
Start your own or add to my list in the Blog Comments.

Don’t be shy. Just google these things in your area. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ve been missing out on. I have done at least 7 of the options above and I have made at least one life-long friend in each. I was also able to stay in shape while having fun, which is THE easiest way to stay in shape.

I'm part of the CrossFit community and I can honestly say that my current “gym” situation is synonymous to what most people look for in a church. People care about each other there like a family. We cheer each other on, motivate each other, compliment successes, tell life stories, learn from one another and lean on each other when times are hard, even OUTSIDE the gym. The workout and staying-in-shape part is almost a mere side effect of the community. It’s something that makes working out extremely hard to quit.  

So get out there and start something new. If you’ve never exercised in a group before, you should give it a try. It could change your life.

P.S. One last word about group exercise; If you’ve made the excuse that these groups are far too expensive, (Likely anywhere from $10-150/month more than a “health club” style gym) I understand where you’re coming from, but it’s worth it. And if your budget can’t handle it, you can cut back somewhere else, for example your cable television (besides, no one gets in shape sitting on their couch). You deserve to invest in yourself and your health. You won’t regret it.

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