Regardless of your fitness experience (or lack thereof, just now), this phrase likely elicits a certain type of response. What comes to mind when you read it? Headbands and scrunchy socks with white high tops? (We’re showing our age here, aren’t we). Did it conjure up a lot of bouncing and painfully intense smiling through jumping jacks and running in place?
We hate to ruin the meme-worthiness of it, but this generation of group fitness is not your mother’s cardio tapes.
And what’s more, studies have revealed that working out in a group can actually boost not only your results, but also your quality of life.
But how fit can you be, really
“Burpees don’t like you either.”
— that one shirt that keeps showing up
in your Insta feed
Nowadays, you’re far less likely to see folks in leotards and leg warmers (but if you’re here for it, we got room for ya, in the front row, baby!)… and more likely to see a wide range of ages and backgrounds that are here for the sweat, the challenge, and the camaraderie. From weight lifting, to boxing, to plyometrics and HIIT or mindfulness, “group fitness” now runs the gamut of modalities, which means you’re more likely than ever to find a program you like and that challenges you, regardless of your fitness level and experience.
Today’s group fitness classes are efficient, safe, and challenging for all fitness levels. And fun, did we mention fun?
What’s more, while we’re no longer rocking hi top sneakers, group fitness classes now bring a level of athletic training and purpose to the formats, coupled with extensive education in form, function, and safety. Instructors engage in highly-tuned initial and ongoing training to achieve their certifications, and we’ve partnered with the world’s foremost leader in group fitness education and program development. The “group effect” is a real thing, and it shows in the quality and variability of the programs we offer.
What is the Group Effect?
As it pertains to fitness, the Group Effect, or groupness, is interpreted as the increased sense of enjoyment, exertion, and satisfaction during a group workout. The effects of moving in synchronous movements with a group creates a perception of belonging, and research around the effects of working out in a group suggest that we work harder, derive more self-satisfaction, and enjoy ourselves more when we’re sharing that workout experience with others.
“What our findings show is that we really are social animals when it comes to working out,” says Les Mills Head of Research Bryce Hastings. “When you maximize the group effect, this leads to a high level of what we’ve termed ‘groupness’. And the higher the level of groupness, the more we see increases in a person’s enjoyment, satisfaction and exertion.” The end result? A better sense of your time spent working out means you’re more likely to return for more… meaning it’s easier to build and enhance your exercise habit.
We like doing things together
And the studies show it. While access to fitness equipment seems like it would be the most logical motivator, it was the effect of working out in a group that has been shown to significantly increase the likelihood of building and adhering to a fitness habit.
Some 58% of members report being “highly motivated” by the social aspect of a workout class. But don’t just take our word for it, there are study results that add credence to the psychological and physiological effects of working out in a group.
Group workouts are efficient
Traditional methodology has been more along the lines of “cardio” through aerobic activity and machines (think treads, ellipticals, cycles) and “strength” achieved on the weight floor. Group workouts are often structured in such a way as to combine the effects of both — as anyone who’s done a quick 10 – 15 squats can tell you, it’s a huge bump to your heart rate. By combining body weight moves and metabolic intervals (burpees, for example), as well as agility and of course, high-rep/lighter weight sets, you can double and triple up your efforts in the same 45 – 60 minute workout. The pace is quicker, but your calorie burn and glucose management is unparalleled as compared to a more traditional cardio or strength workout.
Cardio Peak Training is the HIIT-Steady State hybrid you never knew you needed. Multiple group workouts are structured around Cardio Peak Training — unlike HIIT workouts, which push you to 85 – 90% of your maximum heart rate before dropping you back to a full rest period, Cardio Peak Training ranges from your aerobic base of 60 – 80% of your maximum heart rate before pushing you to 85 – 90%. You then return to your aerobic base. This structure allows for more consistent application in your workout week — overtraining is less of a concern with this style of workout.
Body Combat is an ideal example of Cardio Peak Training, combining a mix of martial arts,
boxing, and kickboxing fundamentals with body weight metabolic intervals. Plus, it’s great for your core!
Group workouts make us feel better
Researchers at University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine recruited 69 medical students, with the understanding that those students’ quality of life were ranked as poor, and their stress levels as high. Participants were asked to self-select the option to workout in a group one time a week, or to workout as individuals for the 12 week duration of the study.
Those participating in group exercise spent 30 minutes at least once a week in CORE, a core strengthening and functional fitness training program. At the conclusion, survey results indicated significant improvements in all three quality of life measures: mental (12.6 percent), physical (24.8 percent) and emotional (26 percent). They also reported a whopping 26.2 percent reduction in perceived stress levels. By comparison, those working out individually were allowed to choose any workout modality they preferred, including running and weight lifting, with the caveat that they worked out alone or with no more than two partners. The individuals reported no significant change in stress reduction or physical quality of life, but did report an 11% improvement in mental quality of life, despite having worked out twice as long as their group workout counterparts. A control group that did not workout during the study reported no significant improvement in quality of life or a reduction in perceived stress.
Group fitness has undergone an extensive makeover to become a modern, engaging and fun method of encouraging your workout habits AND developing well-rounded results. With hybrid Cardio Peak Training, or high rep strength training, and effective blends of yoga, Pilates, and more, (there’s even Barre, a sneakily challenging ballet-inspired workout that you must try at least once, if only to appreciate how strong dancers really are) you’ve got unlimited options to expand your workout experience.
• Download the VENT Fitness app. It’s got instant access to our most up-to-the-minute schedules for RIDE, MOVE, AQUA, and STUDIO. Plus, you can chat with a trainer anytime* using our in-app chat feature.
• Register for a Body Pump class. It’s “the world’s most popular group barbell class” for a reason. With music that’s perfectly timed to get you on the beat and completing up to 1,000 reps per class, it’s been shown to be ridiculously effective at toning (not to mention it can be a great introduction to moves that are also found on the weight floor).
• Register for Open House Week We’re opening up our classes to all, for FREE, April 9 – 15, 2022 to give everyone a taste of the fun, excitement, and effectiveness of our group exercise programming. New moves, new music, amazing instruction and a sweaty good time!
See you in the clubs!