The Benefits Of Exercising in Groups – Even Trainers Suffer from bouts of Winter Motivation Loss
Lately I have been joining in on Saturday’s group sessions. This has been for a number of reasons, but the main one being I have lost the motivation to train by myself on a weekend. I lose interest quickly and definitely do NOT push myself as hard as I could or should.
During the week I am fine, I train with Jono every day. We train toward a plan and stick to regular routine. Even still, we both have days where we quite simply Can’t be F**KED . It’s on these days that we take a step back and let the other program, plan and Push the session. Once we get started we don’t stop until every rep is completed. It’s like having a personal Trainer……Wait… No… that’s exactly what it is!!
I can guarantee that if I were training solo on these days I would be less likely to start, let alone get through a 2km Rowing Time Trial at the END of a solid weight Session, which has somehow crept its way into the end of our weight sessions… Sound Familiar.
Back to Saturdays group Session. It was probably somewhere between Pete and Jonny kicking my ass in a corner Sprint one week and Eliza and Graham making me grab a heavier sandbag during weighted step ups the next, that I started to think there really is something to be said about Exercising in a Group.
The right people can really lift your intensity and get you to push far beyond what you normally would if you were to train by yourself.
I have been completely buzzing off the last couple of weekends so I thought id write this blog to help people who are either thinking of joining a group training program or are on the fence to make their mind up one way or other. On the other hand for those of you ALREADY training in groups you can read how I feel they best benefit you, and how you can hone in on some of these qualities to further your own training.
So lets get cracking:
1. GROUP TRAINING IS MOTIVATING
How many times have you decided. ‘Right this is it; I’m getting in shape. I’m sick of the way I look/feel and I’m going to make a change!’
So you join the gym, or you pull on the runners and you get to work.
Things go well for the first week or two, your exercising 3-4 times per week and your telling everyone who will listen that things are going well and they should take a good hard look at the new, fit and healthy YOU! It’s literally happening before their eyes.
Nutrition wise it’s starting to turn as well. You’re opting for salads instead of burgers and chips. It makes sense, you just did 400 burpees last week in Luke’s Hard abs Fast Hearts session (according to Jonny) why would you choose to unravel all that good burpee-ing with a burger. Perish the thought!
Flash forward 2 – 3 weeks and what happens? It’s getting harder to get out the door and exercise; some of your old vices are creeping back into your diet. A chocolate here, hot chips there, the weekday Vino or Beer.
It’s starting to unravel…where did it go wrong…. You have lost the motivation. You’re quite simply BORED!!
Don’t stress, you’re not alone, it happens to most… Even us trainers.
However, as trainers we long ago discovered a training and motivation Hack that keeps us moving forward even when the bighting cold of winter hits and the mornings are dark and the nights are wet (very dramatic I know)
This little training hack is as simple as it is effective.
Surround yourself with people who are going to keep you moving forward. Train with people who are always going to be there and are going to keep you accountable. That’s what a good training buddy/group does.
We see it during the sessions in at the Trifusion studio. Smaller groups within the group that pushes each other and motivates each other to get to each session. Then when they are training they vibe off each other to keep working as hard as they can. Success in numbers. It works!!
Trifusion Group Training Tip: Try and align yourself next to some fitter people within the group. I know this goes against every fibre in your body when you first start out. However, if you want to learn good technique and be pushed to train harder it makes sense to learn from the best and the fittest!
I recently recall Dan telling me after one of the Saturday sessions “I hate going in a group with you, but when I do I definitely train harder” I chose to ignore the first part and focus on the second. I’m pretty sure it was meant as a compliment.
2. TRAINING IN GROUPS IS SOCIAL
As humans we are all social butterflies. When we are younger, most of our activity revolves around running around with friends and doing stupid things that generally raise our body temp and keep us physically fit. Have you ever stopped to watch young kids running around and playing games? They don’t stop. Not only do they have endless energy they tend to get their bodies into positions or movement patterns that would send many of us into hospital or at least screaming for a physio.
As young humans we are introduced to team sports and again most of our activity is dictated by the sports our friends play. Many of us are into these activities for the social aspect rather than the activity itself. However, whatever the motivation was, these activities kept us physically fit and weight in check.
As we get older, life gets in the way. We don’t have time to be running around with friends as we now have JOBS! We can’t go and play football or netball as we now have KIDS. These rather inconvenient ‘necessities’ in life tend to take over and in contrast our activity levels have dropped.
It now makes sense that we should indulge our social side when it comes to exercise. It worked when we were younger, so it should work now as well. Its far more enjoyable when you walk in the door of a place where you know the people you are training with and the Trainers know your name.
Trifusion Group Training Tip: If you are new to a group training program and want to maximize your enjoyment at a session, put yourself out there and introduce yourself to a couple of people within the group each time. Before long you will have built a social group and they will keep you in check and motivate you when you go through the tough slumps as we all inevitably do.
3. ADDED ACCOUNTABILITY
We see this as being a massive bonus to training in groups. Often we as individuals have no problem letting ourselves down. Over time we have become well adjusted to rationalising anything so as not to make us feel too bad about it. So often when we are training alone and something comes up that may impede our ability to train, we can rationalise it any which way we like, the result being that exercise is quickly thrown on the chopping board.
Now throw a friend, family member, or trainer in the mix and things become totally different. All of a sudden its not just me I’m letting down its my buddies. It’s the guys I’m training with. I’m going to have to explain why I didn’t make my training session next time I see them. All of a sudden it’s not so easy to skip training. Why is that?? This is quite simply because you have added accountability to not only your trainer, but also other members of your group training program. This becomes evident in our LBC and HIIT sessions and even more so in our Group Personal Training programs such as the Lean Ladies Program and Men’s Strength Program. When you start to train with the same people over and over you generate a support network that creates added accountability.
Trifusion Group Training Tip: Find someone that you see often in your group training sessions. Ask them to be your accountability partner. This doesn’t mean you need to have specific meetings or even catch up on the weekends. Simply tell them which weekly sessions you intend to make each week and have them hold you accountable if you don’t make them
4. GROUP TRAINING IS ENERGISING
When you have the right mix of an uplifting trainer with a good-sized group of members training, the session takes on a certain energy that is hard to avoid. Now, I’m not talking about the ‘Ora’ kind of energy and flow of earth meeting wind and fire and tapping into the natural energy of your surrounds. I’m talking about when you are in the middle of a training session and the music is pumping and the people next to you are giving their 110% effort it becomes difficult to ignore and we end up putting in a similar effort. We see this so often in partnered superset sessions when you are paired up with another member of the group and you literally share each other’s effort. Its infectious.
When we train alone and we are in a bit of a funk and every exercise and set seems like a chore the training session can seem like they last for an eternity. You don’t work as hard as you should and you spend more time finding ways to procrastinate than to actually train. I’m sure many instafit sessions are actually like this. 5 squats, 10 pushups 300 selfies.
Trifusion Group Training Tip: If you ever find yourself struggling to find the right energy within your session, try and group yourself with people who you know are just buzzing. As they say, a smile is contagious. The same goes for someone’s training energy.
In my opinion the basics of training are still the best in terms of results. That being said, repeating the same program over and over and over is eventually going to become tired and boring. It is no wonder why many people who struggle with motivation to begin with, join a gym, get a gym program written for them, follow it to the letter for a month or so then eventually let it fade.
We are so spoilt for choice in our every day life that it is only normal to expect it from our training programs as well. While Group training can follow similar structures or muscle splits, a good program will always be different and keep you guessing. Many exercises may show up week in and week out in order to allow us to build strength in those lifts, however there is such a wide range of supporting exercises in a good personal trainers repertoire that literally every session can have variety.
A great Group-training program will always have variety in intensity, exercises and structure. This variety not only serves to keep members entertained it helps to never hit plateaus
Trifusion Group Training Tip: You have to do nothing different than showing up on this one. The Trifusion team prides itself on providing great training programs with variety in exercises, intensity, tempo and structure. These differing sessions will keep your body guessing and continue to show results.
So guys, if you are currently training in a group I hope you are having the same feeling during and post training that I currently am. If you are new to joining in on group training I hope the tips at the end of each section will help you to maximise your experience. If you haven’t yet experienced Training with a personal trainer or a group training program and you are in a bit of a motivation funk, I hope I have been able to lift the veil on what may seem to be a daunting task.
If you would like to find out specifically about Trifuion Fitness’ Group Training program, we are located at 837 Nepean Highway Brighton. Feel free to pop in for a trial session or contact us through our website www.trifusion.com.au/contact or similarly through our facebook page www.facebook.com/trifusionfitness
Written by Scott Eastgate
Director @ Trifusion Fitness
note from the writer: Please forgive any spelling or grammatical errors. I promise, what I may lack in these areas, I make up for in training ability.