Working out alone can go one of two ways: you either get completely in the zone, or you slack off a bit because you have nobody to keep up with. Unfortunately, it seems like the latter happens more often than the former.
When the top fitness trends of 2018 were released, one trend that made the list was “group workouts.” A group workout is a workout that involves at least five people and an instructor, such as a fitness class at your local gym or a yoga class in the park. These group workouts can have some awesome benefits. Here are four reasons to sign up for that fitness class you’ve been eyeing, plus one thing to keep in mind before you start.
You’re less likely to bail
When you become a recurring member of a fitness class, you won’t want to skip when you know everyone else will be there. The more time you spend in the class, the more likely people will notice if you’re a no-show. When you work out in a group, you tend to feel a sense of responsibility to keep up with your workouts, just like everyone else in the class. If you’re exercising on your own, you can skip a workout day more easily because you’re the only one who knows your schedule and commitment level.
You’re more likely to push yourself
When you feel tired during a solo workout, you can easily cut yourself a break. However, when you’re in a crowd where everyone else keeps pushing forward, you’ll want to push forward with them. A recent study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology found that those who did a plank workout with a friend increased their plank time by 24% compared with those who did a plank workout alone. That is because of the Köhler effect—people work harder in a group than when alone out of fear of being the weakest link.
You’ll switch up your routine
The plus side of signing up for fitness classes is that you never have to plan your workout ahead of time. If you head to the gym by yourself without first planning your routine, you could end up doing the same thing over again every time. Not only does that get boring, but you might also miss important muscle groups or overwork certain muscles. Signing up for a class means you don’t have to worry about the workout until you’re doing it, which saves planning time. Plus, fitness classes give you the same workout as the trained professional teaching the class, so you know your workout will be a good one.
You’ll be motivated, and you’ll become a motivator
When you’re surrounded by people pushing themselves, you’ll push yourself harder, and the same goes for others who are surrounded by you. When people see you giving it your all, and they’re the ones on the brink of giving up, they might try just a little bit harder. You could be the reason someone made it through the entire workout for the first time. You’re one of those people making others want to work harder.
But don’t do more than you can physically handle
While it’s an amazing feeling to challenge yourself to do better, it’s also important to know your limits. When you’re taking a workout class with others, always be sure to listen to your body. If you feel a muscle starting to pull, or you’re simply getting way too tired, take a break. The more often you take the class, the more you’ll body will work with you, and you’ll eventually be able to push yourself beyond your current limits. Safety and good health are the most important factors to a successful workout.