3 Things to Consider Before Singing Up for A Group Fitness Class

From cycling to yoga, there's a group fitness class for almost anyone with any athletic ability. But there are some major pros and cons to group workout classes. Here are a few things to consider before taking a group fitness class

By Madison Conley, INSIDER
Workout classes can be a fun way to exercise.

  • Workout classes are very popular, and there are so many options to choose from.
  • People of all levels of fitness attend these classes, so it's best to go at your own pace rather than overdo it.
  • Hurting yourself in a class is easy to do, so make sure you are modifying exercises when necessary.

From barre to boot camps, people can't get enough of the loud music, inspirational words, and sweat that accompanies group fitness classes. With so many different options — there are classes targeted towards people who hate exercising and people who love cats — it's almost impossible not to find at least one you want to take.

But even though group fitness classes have many positive benefits, they also have their downsides.

INSIDER spoke with three certified personal trainers — who are also all group fitness instructors — about whether or not group fitness classes are bad for you.

Personal instruction can get lost in a big group

You might get lost in the shuffle.
There's no doubt that group fitness classes are more cost-effective than one-on-one personal training. But certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, Melissa Aldeborgh, told INSIDER that "the bigger the group, the less eyes you can keep on everyone."

In larger groups, it's more difficult to watch everyone perform every exercise. One way to ensure you get a proper workout is to talk to the instructor beforehand and ask them to keep an eye on your form. Aldeborgh also suggested using what she calls the "connect method."

"I look around at the whole group and if you feel you're not doing something correctly, or your form is suffering, make eye contact with me," she explained. "Then I'll know to help you make an adjustment without you having to announce it to the whole class, which nobody wants to do."

You can hurt yourself easily

It's important to know your capabilities.
All class goers have a different level of fitness and, at times, that can put people in danger. The 23-year-old who hasn't worked out in four months, for example, may think they can lift as much weight as a 60-year-old who frequents the class weekly.

Oftentimes people lift heavier weights than they should to "get the most out of their workout," and this is how they end up hurting themselves.

"I don't want to say that fitness classes are 'at your own risk' but really they are," Melissa Clay, another certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor, told INSIDER.

"It's hard to keep an eye on everyone's form, especially those who don't want to be noticed and stand toward the back of the room," she said. "Everyone attending a group fitness class should know that modifying an exercise is better than getting hurt, especially if you have been on an exercise hiatus. Just because you're modifying an exercise, doesn't mean its not working."

Hurting yourself is definitely the biggest risk of taking a group fitness class, as the trainer is not focused on you individually. Make sure you are performing the exercises properly and working your way up to heavier weights.

It might feel like a competition

It's important to focus on yourself.
If the person next to you has heavier weights or can do more burpees, that may make you feel intimidated. Although this keeps some people motivated, it can make others feel bad.

"I feel group fitness classes are bad only for the simple fact that you might not be accommodating everyone," certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor TC Cofield told INSIDER."You can't make everyone feel adequate in training, which discourages certain people from coming to the gym."

Don't pay much attention to the person next to you in class. It's not a contest; it's about getting stronger without hurting yourself.

See more at: INSIDER


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Health Magazine: 3 Things to Consider Before Singing Up for A Group Fitness Class
3 Things to Consider Before Singing Up for A Group Fitness Class
From cycling to yoga, there's a group fitness class for almost anyone with any athletic ability. But there are some major pros and cons to group workout classes. Here are a few things to consider before taking a group fitness class
Health Magazine
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