So before I begin my hatchet job on group training, let me just list what I think is great about it first. I don’t want you to think I am a doomsayer or a negative Nellie. My name is Anthony though, which means it would be something like Antagonistic Anthony.
- Group training fosters community. It encourages participation because you don’t want to let the group down, when you may have no qualms about letting yourself down. Weird I know.
- It’s social. We are social animals so it fits.
- There’s safety in numbers. Some of our clients prefer it because you can hide a little. Now that may be a reason that it isn’t great, but let’s face it, not everyone wants every single movement scrutinised. That’s a lot of pressure!
- Friendly competition. Now this one is a double edged sword because a little can be so good as progress can be faster when we push our boundaries but the downside….. well this is a great segue way in to what I see wrong with most group training these days.
Now imagine this. You are an ex athlete and pretty darn fit in a previous life. You have a competitive nature but it has waned a little. You have matured and feel that now it’s more about feeling good from exercise and making slow but steady progress. You turn up to a group that is full of highly competitive types. In fact the training methodology has a formal world wide competition that the local group has been carved from. The movements look fun, hard but fun. There is a stop watch and daily competition to ‘push it’. So what do I see especially for someone who isn’t an ex athlete or pro sports person? Recipe for disaster. When you mix highly complex moves with de-conditioned people (ex athlete or not) and a highly competitive atmosphere you have exercises being done badly, almost routinely. What happens next? Physio and Osteo shares go up is what. Don’t get me wrong this type of training is great but you know what they say, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. And trust me the type of group training I am describing there is one that proves when you get the mix just right, injury is just a matter of time. I am not going to name names but maybe you can guess what type of training business this is. Here is a hint. C__SS F_T. I didn’t name anybody. I kept it classy right? 🙂
Group fitness training major gripe number 2. In your mind’s eye see 40 people huffing and puffing with gay abandon in a night club like fitness venue whilst a trainer of beautiful aesthetics encourages, almost hysterically the seething and heaving mass of 20 somethings. Again, this may in fact seem like a lot of fun to you, but try to picture yourself in this environment at the age of 40 or even 50+ pulsating to the rhythmic beats. Hey maybe that works for you and that’s cool but if your goal is to start the journey and be in some way held accountable then this one probably ain’t going to cut it. No one cares if you turn up to the sessions each day as long as the credit card keeps pinging away in the background, but make sure if you do turn up that your fashion is on point or you really might just get noticed.
Group fitness gripe number 3 or is it simply fitness business envy? You decide. Now this chain saw the inevitable issues coming from the scenario described in gripe number 1 and so they came up with a slightly watered down version. And when I say, slightly watered down I mean only slightly. These guys combined this with the DJ style atmosphere from gripe number 2 to encourage the good vibes which music brings, which of course I have no real argument against except maybe for their usual choice in the music itself but ahh yes you can never please everyone with this kind of thing! This business depends on large numbers committing (or not, it works just as well if you don’t continue because man is it popular and there is always another punter waiting to step up) to a training regime that even ‘fitness types’ have trouble maintaining. Can you do it for 3 months? If you are from the aforementioned group, sure but is high intensity training delivered daily in 4 session times in the morning and 3 at night possible to stick with long term? Well I think you know the answer to that. The business I have in mind here has had numerous copy cats come out since it’s barnstorming debut a number of years back because that original has become the most popular fitness franchise in the world, born in Australia no less too (can you spot some envy in that statement? Even bloody Marky Mark has got involved. I would have loved to hang out with him!) But seriously what about those who are on the north side of 40? or 50, 60 or even 70 who haven’t exercised for a long while or perhaps have never really exercised? (gasp! Is this even possible asks the newby trainer who has never stopped exercising in the entire 19 years on the planet) What about that vast majority of normal people then who want to partake in all the good exercising regularly can bring?
Most people we come in contact with, at some point in our initial conversation get to the immortal statement that is more about “how I feel than how I look” which brings me to mega of all gripes (of the fitness industry in general this time). You probably saw a hint of this evident in the last sentence of the last paragraph.
When are you going to get it that not everyone wants to be like their hero trainer who is carved out granite and loves nothing more than ‘clean’ eating and a monk like existence when it comes to self discipline around fitness, Mr or Mrs Fitness Industry? The average person just wants to start the journey in a non-intimidating way, feel better immediately and see where it leads them. They have the sneaking suspicion that if exercise is done right they will feel better not worse, look forward to it and not dread it and probably get results that are proportionate to how long they can stick with it. Fitness is not supposed to be punishment (take note my catholic teaching football coaching brothers of old) and it is not the vehicle for ego enhancement that Instagram seems to showcase. It is in the end, meant to help us interact with our world better and really enjoy the things that count, including time with our families, a quality ageing experience and fulfilling activities that we enjoy, so the slog of work and life dissipates with each day of improving health.
So to summarise;
If you don’t want to be injured whilst performing a power lifting move that takes years of coaching to do well in the best of supervised environments, led alone doing them super fast against the watch whilst trying to beat so other poor smo next to you
If you don’t see yourself being part of a vacuous group of 20 year olds jumping around mindlessly whilst an admittedly tight tush occasionally bounces off the wall.
If the thought of going from zero to 100 in 3.2 seconds metaphorically when it comes to your new fitness training regime doesn’t appeal.
Then maybe you would like to be part of Brisbane’s safest outdoor training option?
We are putting something together for early 2021. Put your name down below and I will personally keep you informed or you can join our 6 week challenge coming up where this assertion will be put to the test. It might just be what you have been looking for – A down to earth crew, intelligent choice of activities, containable group number (no more than 10) and dare I say an intelligent and fun vibe.
I think it is possible for us to deliver something that just makes sense.