Group exercise is at the foundation of the fitness industry and I am a huge proponent of exercising in a group. However, in order to reach and maintain health and fitness goals for life, you need to make it personal. Specific to you and how you want to look, feel and behave throughout each day, week, month and year. Consequently, this week we will feature ten tips for how to create a personal approach to each group exercise session. Make certain to tune into last week's column "Health and Fitness-Moving Forward," as this details the goal setting process for the entire year. Then, begin to apply the following tips, thinking of this aspect to reaching and maintaining your health and fitness goals as an even deeper, more personal part of the journey. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
"Making It Personal" Tips
Tip #1 Choose a fitness facility that offers the type of group exercise programming you require.
Tip #2 Choose a fitness facility that provides group trainers who are certified, qualified and experienced specifically at the class formats they teach.
Tip #3 Create a working relationship with the program director and the trainers so that they know what your personal goals are and can specifically help you address those goals.
Tip #4 Choose group exercise class formats that will address your specific goals. For example, if weight loss is the primary goal, then choose structured formats that continually move the body through space and time, elevate heart rates, make you sweat from exertion not air temperature and efficiently expend calories (i.e. group indoor cycling, dance classes, circuit and interval formats).
Tip #5 If available; choose class formats that track your progress. In our group indoor cycling classes we keep statistics journals which track the caloric expenditure, distance covered, RPM's, and heart rate comparing those results throughout each week of the 8-week session. Note: Purchase a heart rate monitor that tracks your statistics.
Tip #6 Seek out class formats with a good vibe specifically for you. Determine what makes you feel the most comfortable in a group setting. Do you like a smaller class size with more personal attention from the trainer, or a larger group because you gain tremendous energy from the masses?
Tip #7 Although you want to be selective and make it personal, change up those group workouts every few weeks. Due note, however, that some class formats require a steeper learning curve, so hang in there until you are successful prior to changing.
Tip #8 Ask the trainer for modifications for any exercise or movement form that does not seem right for you.
Tip #9 Track how these group workouts are addressing your fundamental goals. If you see a slip in the progress, dive in deep and determine why this might be the case. Whatever the case, address it now and make the necessary changes immediately.
Tip #10 Ascertain how you feel after each group session and record that information in your exercise journal. How we feel may drive our behavior down the road, and if we feel great after the majority of our group sessions, we are more likely to continue for life.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net, her blog at www.skyhidailynews.com and her Facebook page at Never Summer Fitness.