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Why group fitness could be the key to your 2017 health goals

Why group fitness could be the key to your 2017 health goals

When you think about joining a fitness program, you usually think of it as an individual effort. True, you might desire to attain the fitness of a certain friend or acquaintance, but they too maintain an individual training routine. Whether you’re interested in strength training, aerobics, meditation, or yoga, you only think of such fitness programs based on personal preferences. Your choices are not determined by what others want, but what you want. You would not think of starting on meditation just because others are meditating. Even the gym you join most probably only offers packages for an individual.

    Nevertheless, have you ever thought about team-based fitness programs? Have you ever considered approaching fitness as a group, and not as an individual? Now imagine, what if the choice of a gym, fitness exercises, and frequency of exercises, was elevated above your preferences to be a group decision? This article will review potential advantages that justify a group fitness program. Team-based fitness programs have become a significant trend in modern gyms, becoming even more popular by the day, and it is important to understand why.

    Why choose team exercise?

    People have always recognized the value of team-driven fitness programs but never acknowledged it. Consider this: many of the people who join a first class gym for aerobic exercises can afford to have a few machines at home for the exercises. They may even have an excellent swimming pool, and a spare room to convert to an exercise room. Yet even if they can afford to, they prefer exercising in a local gym where others will also frequent. What they are doing then, is unconsciously responding to the need for a social context where they exercise alongside others.

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      It is easier to maintain a diligent and consistent training routine when you are a patron of a gym than you can ever hope for when exercising in isolation. That is the reason why the most successful bodybuilders and fitness gurus have almost always been members of a publicly-available gym and not a personal gym. Subscribing to a gym where you can train alongside others helps build a discipline, a commitment, and an innate desire to attain optimal fitness that wouldn’t be possible on your own.

      Advantages of Group Fitness Programs

      1. Transforming Competitors into Allies

      Now consider this: an acquaintance of yours seems to have been born in a gym. They have managed to chisel out a body shape that belongs to magazine covers. You respect and privately admire his or her fitness achievements, and would only wish to attain just a percentage of their success. Well, you can hate, avoid, and ignore them as you try to pursue the same end, if not better, on your own. That however, does not help as much as it would if both of you followed the same fitness program. Imagine how easy it would be for you to follow a fitness program alongside a person who motivates you and gives you a few secrets that really work. Then you could stop being competitors and become allies in pursuit of optimal fitness. As such, one of the reasons you should join group fitness is the potential to surround yourself with positive energy, where you train alongside those you respect and admire.

      2. Learning From The Team

      Having allies in a fitness program ensures that you train alongside people with whom you share a goal. Not only do you have common interests and preferences, but you are also chasing the same outcome. This means that they will probably know something you do not, and vice versa. Group fitness programs thus give you a platform to share with others, compare different approaches, and select the best routines based on results.

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      Eventually, the fitness program becomes more than finishing a few exercises, and gradually transforms into a learning opportunity towards attaining optimal fitness. You start taking fitness training seriously, and it stops being a trial and error routine, since you can now use a single training instructor and consult the most advanced manual together. As such, joining a group fitness program will help to increase the opportunity and outcomes of learning about fitness training.

      3. Building on Collective Motivation

      Exercising with a team replaces the ‘me’ perspective in fitness training with a ‘we’ perspective. After a tough day at the office, you stop saying “I don’t feel like going for exercises today,” and start saying “and we still have to go for exercises today.” It would have taken personal motivation to abide by a fitness training program if it was an individual program. However, being a team adds a collective motivation to abide by the fitness schedule, regardless of your mood. Your discipline and commitment is fired up by the collective dynamics of the group.

        4. Gaining a Team’s Psyche When Approaching Challenges

        Maintaining a devout fitness training calendar or schedule is often discouraged by numerous challenges you meet along the way. Like that time when your muscles are hurting, when you feel like your ligaments are torn and you cannot even manage to squat, let alone follow rigorous compound exercises. When something is highly recommended but you cannot even think about trying it, being a part of a group gives you the mindset to give it a go.

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        Your challenging exercises stop being an option and become part of your training goal when you are in a team. You might have joined fitness training to eliminate stress levels in your life, but even after that, the group will keep you improving. You will have to approach challenges with a team mentality and soon enough, they stop being challenges. Joining a group fitness program is perhaps the easiest route to overcoming your training fears as well as personal stress.

          5. Elevating the Value of Fitness

          Finally, joining group fitness programs elevates the priority of fitness training in your to-do list. You might desire to lose that weight or get a solid six-pack, but the cost of getting that is not reflected in your lifestyle. Group fitness training however, challenges that lifestyle to the core. You keep the time, consistency, and routine set for exercises not because you feel like, but because that is what the team has agreed upon. You will attend some sessions halfheartedly, and some you would otherwise avoid, but the outcomes will justify the team discipline. Group-based training helps make a fitness program more than a personal decision, and you embrace it in your daily routine as something that is part of your personal preferences and wishes. Soon it becomes a habit and a discipline you are used to, a state that is very difficult with personal exercise.

          In conclusion, the benefits of group fitness programs outweigh the advantages of personal training programs. Tapping into the group mentality can help you keep a disciplined diet formula, maintain training routines, and optimize fitness training in ways that would otherwise be impossible if the training was based on your choices and moods. The five benefits explained above, are only some of the advantages that justify why you should join a team-driven fitness program. When it is all said and done, you may train as a team, but the fitness you consolidate is yours and yours alone. That was your goal, after all, from the very beginning.

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          Image Credits:

          Trainer assisting group of people with stretching exercise Via Freepik, Group of people performing stretching exercise Via Freepik, Billy blanks tae bo workout Via Pixabay, Group of people performing tree-pose yoga exercise Via Freepik

          Featured photo credit: yanalya via freepik.com

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          Last Updated on December 9, 2019

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

          Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

          Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

          1. Get Rationally Optimistic

          Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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          This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

          In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

          The result: no more mental stress.

          2. Unplug

          Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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          How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

          It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

          Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

          3. Easy on the Caffeine

          Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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          Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

          4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

          That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

          How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

          • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
          • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
          • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

          While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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          5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

          This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

          The result: mental stress will be gone!

          So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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          Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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