Friends with benefits
It’s 7pm on a rainy Monday, and your favourite series has just dropped the next season on Netflix. ‘Workout, what workout?’ you’re thinking. Then your phone pings and it’s your workout buddy asking what time you’ll get to the studio. Tempting though it is to blow off your fitness routine in favour of a lazy evening on the sofa, it’s a lot harder to do if you know you're letting down your mates.
Group exercise is the best way to make sure you keep your fitness promises. Ask any personal trainer and they’ll tell you that accountability is key to getting clients to meet their fitness goals. Building a routine around turning up on time, every week, to the same slots means that it becomes an unbreakable date in your diary. And it’s inevitable that you’ll start to develop a relationship with other class members – and your teacher, even if they were just strangers in shorts a few weeks previously. A decent instructor will make sure that s/he has their regulars signed up to a dedicated Facebook or WhatsApp group to remind them of upcoming class dates, offer out of hours advice and keep that class in the front of members’ minds.
There have also been research studies that have concluded that when a group performs synchronised exercise movements, such as those performed in group workouts, the pain threshold significantly increases for the entire group. In 2009 Central University Research Ethics Committee at the University of Oxford conducted a test on twelve rowers that reached this very conclusion. This means that the rowers tested were able to push themselves on to greater fitness gains when they worked out as a group than when they performed alone.
Further research has suggested that in humans, synchronized physical activity elevates mood and enhances a sense of social bonding. So essentially, not only will your fitness levels soar by regularly attending classes, but you likely to feel happier as a result and feel closer the people you’ve worked out with. It’s no surprise to find that people who work out together often become close friends.
Setting aside the cognitive research, there are some practical gains to group workouts too.
A SH1FT coach will have access to the highest quality education and new programming as standard. The progressions and variation built into SH1FT programming keep members’ bodies (and minds) constantly challenged. Additionally, free from the strain of devising new programmes and routines themselves instructors are able to dedicate their attention where it counts – to the members.
A SH1FT trained coach will ensure you are performing moves correctly and will coach and encourage you to reach the fitness gains their members deserve. A good instructor will walk the talk, move through the class, offering advice and adjusting members’ positions where appropriate. You just don’t get that from following a work out in a muscle mag alone in a corner of a gym.