"Unfortunately group classes fail to provide longevity when it comes to health & fitness."
From kettlebell to dance-based classes, group fitness is gaining in popularity as a way for people to get active with friends and motivators. There’s no doubt about it, the group atmosphere can provide a positive fun environment with lots of motivation and social opportunities. Unfortunately group classes fail to provide longevity when it comes to health and fitness. The following are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Lack of individual programming: Although fun, this same lack of consistency from class to class may actually keep you from seeing results. Since a group workout is obviously, written for everyone, it will fail to address individual differences or weaknesses. For example, someone with a previous shoulder injury performs the same workout as another participant with an ankle injury. Yes, good instructors are quick to provide alternative movements for individuals, but it is often difficult to address each unique situation or bring balance back to the individuals body.
No personal attention to form: As most of the attention is directed to the whole class it is very difficult for the instructors to watch and critique individual performance. This means that, if your form on new exercises is less than ideal, there is a good chance no one will be correcting you which can lead to bad habits and injury. Most instructors will give cues both verbally and through demonstration, but it can still be difficult for participants to nail down a technique, especially when using new equipment or in large class sizes.
"Yes, good instructors are quick to provide alternative movements for individuals, but it is often difficult to address each unique situation or help bring balance back to the individuals body."
Overtraining: Group fitness classes, including many bootcamps, will often have a “work as hard as you can” mindset. While this may push you in your workout at the time, it’s not sustainable in the long run. In fact, pushing you to your limits all the time will set you up for overtraining. Instructors can’t possibly plan for the same participants each class in order to incorporate progressions, so they will push each class to go 110%. Eventually, participants may find themselves feeling less energetic and lacking motivation.
Group classes can be intimidating: Because not everyone has the same abilities, participating in a class where you may not be able to keep up can lead you to feeling unsuccessful and self-conscious. If you experience this, I guarantee you won’t be attending on a regular basis nor will you see the results you desire.
In the end, it's up to you. Keep in mind group classes are one size fits all. The camaraderie can be extremely appealing however, remember, that for every benefit, there are also some negatives to be aware of.
Coach Shannon Strogal