Learning to Love Group Fitness

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Once I quit playing soccer, I only liked working out on my own - I’d go to the gym by myself or on long runs alone.  From my perspective, other people were either too fast or way stronger than I was or too slow or not strong enough (someone gave me the hilarious imagery of other people being like a rock in your shoe and I really identified with that).  Rarely was someone in the “same” shape as I was, like I was used to when all of my teammates and I were going to the same workouts and doing the same things on a day-to-day basis and, thus, were all more or less in the same shape.

In fact, I was such a lone wolf that when J + C approached me with the idea for “fitcityfamily,” I absolutely hated it.  I wasn’t a social workout-er.  I think my exact words were something along the lines of, “you guys can do that if you want to, but that's not ever going to be me.”  (harsh and I’m an idiot – sorry, C & J)

My routine was to go to the gym, do my own thing, not talk to anyone and go home.  And to this day, frankly I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.  In fact, I was probably in better shape than I am now (which could be due to a variety of things), but I’m also someone who enjoys my alone time and it just worked for me. 

So, instead of saying one is better over the other, what I’m trying to say is I didn’t know I ALSO enjoyed group fitness.  You could say it was an untapped hobby of mine, kind of like hiking for this flatland native.

That is, until CorePower Yoga.

** In addition to being anti-group classes, I was also anti-yoga prior to CPY because the few yoga classes I had ever been to never made me break a sweat (which I understand is not always the point, but is a prerequisite to any workout I do simply for mental purposes; I am from the “show-me” state, after all, and, therefore, need to SEE that I actually worked out).  This is very-much NOT an issue at CorePower’s Sculpt classes (which I love), as I usually emerge looking like I just jumped into a swimming pool.

The great thing about CorePower’s approach to group fitness is that you’re not there to compete with anyone else – there’s really no (defined) way to be “better” than someone else at yoga, and this theme resounds throughout every class, with or without being said, although teachers reiterate this by saying things like, “you have three sets of weights in front of you: light, heavy and invisible” or frame “variations” as strategic vs. greater or lesser (“you can go faster for more cardio or slower for strength”).  As someone who is competitive in most things I do, I can genuinely say I feel no sense of competition when I’m at CPY - only the desire to better myself.  And, frankly, I find that to be very refreshing.

That said, I DO feel a responsibility to support my fellow yogis.  How, you ask?  Well, whenever I think about stopping a few reps short of 8…7…6… or falling out of Warrior II, I think about how that may de-motivate the people around me. 

Groupthink is such a powerful thing.  If the people around me all dropped to their knees or out of pose, I’d inevitably succumb to the “you’re right - this is impossible” mentality.  You see it all the time when the waves of “I can’t, you’re crazy” crash over the room when we finish something really hard and the teacher asks us to jump right into the next thing.  And if everyone would just sit there, the teacher would probably cave and give us a water break.  But, the people who scrape themselves off the floor and pop right back up tell the whole room: “you can do this.”  Knowing this, I always do my best to be one of the first people right back up and onto the next thing. 

One of my favorite quotes goes a little something like this: “If you ever think you can’t… there are 33 other people in this room who think you CAN.”

One CPY instructor the other day even went so far as to say, “do it for your neighbor.”  And it’s true – your persistence, your motivation, your strength all affect the people around you.  So, just because you want to quit today – don’t put that on someone else in the room.

When I say I am the person who hated group fitness, I mean I am the person who HATED group fitness.  But, through CorePower, I was able to find something that feels a lot like a team and now class and even just going to the studio is a lot more rewarding having formed relationships with the instructors and other people in the room.  

Now I'm the person who loves when the teachers tell you to high-five your neighbor after a hard cardio burst or to introduce yourself to your two neighbors before the start of class.  Because yeah – life’s hard and that was hard and you are a bad*ss for simply still being in this room that actually kinda feels like Hades right now (in the best way possible).

Groupthink is a powerful thing. And the energy you radiate DOES affect those around you. My time at CorePower Yoga has taught me just that and, furthermore, how and why group fitness is so fulfilling.

My challenge following this post is this: do something nice for someone else next time you’re at the studio. A stranger maybe:

  • Be the person who picks up a stray mat after class (even if no one thanks you).

  • Be the person who scrapes themselves off the floor and pops right back up when things get hard as if to tell the whole room: “we got this.”

  • Be the person who owns that their attitude and persistence affects those around them.

  • And most of all: be the person who doesn’t quit… because people (your neighbors, namely) are counting on you.

Let’s cheer each other on: join us at CorePower Yoga and click here to get your first week FREE!

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