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Group fitness training can turbo charge your routine. Instead of getting on a treadmill with the latest Netflix episode of your favorite show (not that there’s anything wrong with that), group fitness training forces you out of your comfort zone and makes you work!
Group fitness training can be many different things:
- Several people sharing personal trainer sessions
- Bootcamps in which the group follows the trainer’s prescribed plans
- Class-based fitness, such as Zumba, Spin or Yoga
- Fundraising fitness groups such as Team In Training, the Wounded Warrior Project and more
- Non-trainer led groups such as MeetUps that meet to run, walk, hike, play basketball or anything else you might think of.
These are only a few ways in which you might participate in a group fitness program.
So why would you want to?
Here Are 5 Important Things You Should Know About Group Fitness Training
1. Group Fitness Training Is All About Accountability
Groups (usually) meet on a fixed schedule and signing up makes you responsible for showing up. It’s not quite the same with class-based group fitness training but even there the instructors encourage you to commit to several times a week to get the maximum impact.
If you paid for that bootcamp or personal training group, you have money on the line and you are more likely to show up. Sometimes the financial commitment is what you need to keep going when it’s easy to forget about your alone time on the Stairmaster.
Besides, do you want to run into one of your workout partner at the grocery store and have to fumble an explanation for why you missed the last 2 sessions?
2. Group Fitness Training Can Be A Social Event – And That’s A Good Thing
People who participate in group training, particularly the long term fundraising groups, find that they make personal connections with their teammates.
Sharing that much time doing intense workouts tend to create friendships that help you keep going.
My son first met his wife at a Team In Training (TNT) event and they even completed an Ironman competition together. Many of their TNT teammates and friends were at their wedding and continue to be in their close circle of friends.
He mentioned both accountability and the friendships he’d made when I asked him about Team In Training.
I felt motivated to show up each week over the course of many sixteen-week seasons first by my personal connection to the cause, and then by the many friends I came to know through the group. At the end of a long day at the office, when I was feeling worn out, the presence of friends at the track (or the pool, or at a group ride) was often the deciding factor between working out and spending the evening on the couch.
3. Group Fitness Training Takes You Out Of Your Comfort Zone
I mean how hard are you pushing yourself on that treadmill?
No matter how motivated you are, there are many times when you just want to tune out the world and watch the latest “Stranger Things” episode with the cardio machine’s settings on auto-program.
Again, you are getting a workout in, but your body gets pretty bored with the same thing over and over, and stops making improvements in your fitness level. To get consistent gains, you need to mix up your routine every once in awhile.
Group fitness training is designed to put you through the various types of exercises needed to give your body support and a challenge.
4. Group Fitness Training Will Inspire You
Inspiration comes from others’ accomplishments and that is in short supply if you are doing all your workouts alone.
Group fitness lets you see the same people over a period of time, and when you see the woman who’s been struggling since day one finally reach a milestone, you’ll want to encourage her and challenge yourself to do more.
Seeing success makes you realize that you may have set your goals too low and you’ll be inspired to go for more.
5. Group Fitness Training Can Help Others
Some of the biggest independent training groups around are fundraising arms for important causes.
By participating, you are not only getting the personal benefits of training but also helping others.
How does it work?
The way they typically work (check with each group for their individual rules and regulations) is that you sign up for an upcoming event such as a bike ride, a marathon or half marathon, a triathlon, even rock climbing and international events of all types.
The group provides trainers, advice on nutrition, proper hydration and tips on refueling post-workout, benefits during event weekend including race entry, race jersey and a pre-event inspiration dinner. organizes the training and – over the course of 3 to 4 months – prepares you for the event you’ve selected.
In return, there is a minimal fee and you agree to raise a set amount of donations. This is done through the group’s fundraising website and allows you to ask friends and family to sponsor you as well as getting your company involved in sponsorship or matching donations.
You do not have to be an athlete to be able to participate. This is one of the best things about the fundraising groups. They provide tremendous support to beginners and help you set and achieve goals for the event.
If you have a cause near and dear to your heart, there just may be a fundraiser group for it. I’ll have a list at the bottom of this post for you to find the one that’s just right for you.
Is Group Fitness Training for you?
If you want to challenge yourself to do more than you think you’re capable of.
Want to learn new fitness techniques while being supported by trainers and other participants.
You want to make new friends, accomplish more and raise money for a worthy cause.
Then the answer is YES!
Team Challenge is the fundraising program for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It started in 1988 with just 38 runners, but has expanded to be the world’s largest charity sports training program.
Team Challenge raises money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
Wounded Warrior Project is a charity and veterans service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for wounded veterans of the military actions following September 11, 2001.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation assists, supports, and provides opportunities for people with physical challenges, that they might lead active lifestyles and compete in athletic events.
One last quote from a participant who greatly benefited from fundraising-based group fitness training:
More and more, it’s possible for anyone to find group coaching and workouts under the auspices of a charity that has deep personal meaning for them. I highly recommend any of these organizations as a way to do good for both yourself and for your community.
Do you know of other fundraising sports training groups? Let me know and I’ll update this article with our info!