Group Fitness

Expert coaching and a fun, dynamic workout with great music means more than just results – it means… joy?

Ah Yes... Group Fitness.

What do you think of when you hear the words “Group Fitness?” Leg warmers? Leotards in bright colors? Maybe even those aggressively cheerful competitions that have seen a resurgence in popularity as GIFs on TikTok (**cough**)? As we head into the final days before Launch Week at VENT, we thought it might be the perfect time to give a nod to one of the longest-standing facets of fitness — Group Exercise.

When the Pre-workout kicks in FR

The History of Group Ex

We probably all remember Jane Fonda, right? Maybe Jazzercise? (Are we dating ourselves, here? Those born after 2000 may need to spend a minute Googling. We’ll wait.) The iconic look — headbands, leg warmers, impossibly shiny outfits — was just the beginning. But here’s what you may not know. Not that long ago, the concept of working out in a group was more the pursuit of athletes. Fitness, conducted in a group and for the general purpose and disease prevention wasn’t a widespread notion for the general public. That is, until Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., introduced the concept of aerobic exercise with the publication of his book, Aerobics, in 1968. Cooper, widely known as the Father of the Modern Fitness Movement, encouraged people to exercise, with an emphasis on disease prevention rather than disease treatment.

The very next year, Judi Sheppard Missett founded the eternal phenomenon, Jazzercize, a fitness program based on cardio, strength, and stretching set to current hit music. And from there, new faces and new concepts emerged – the birth of step aerobics can be attributed to Gin Miller, who decided her rehabilitation of increasing leg strength by stepping up and down on a crate could be more dynamic and not so… monotonous. Then, when trying to balance a new baby and a rigorous training schedule, South African cyclist Johnny Goldberg created his Johnny G Spinner bike to allow training to continue indoors. He began teaching his regimen in his garage, and now, you’ll recognize any number of stationary cycling programs that can trace their roots back to Johnny G.


Wood floors make for softer rebounds on sensitive joints.

The Modern Revival of Group Fitness

As we understand more about the human body and how to harness its power for health, longevity and functional fitness, so have modern group fitness programs adapted to embrace these new training modalities. While we won’t discourage anyone from wearing leg warmers, the aerobics programs of old have given rise to a more sophisticated and targeted variety of training concepts to achieve more specific effects.

The Group Effect

There are a few key benefits to working out in a group that can help even the most seasoned athlete push a little further and achieve a little more.

The Group Motivation

The motivation and interest to get up and get moving can be a fickle thing – some days you have it and some days it’s much easier to keep hitting snooze (no judgment here!). But working out among people who are of a similar mindset has been shown to create more momentum and more likelihood you’ll come back. Surrounding yourself with people who – like you – have chosen to workout can have a positive influence on your willingness to workout, which can prove especially handy when your motivation is nowhere to be found.


Fitness classes are an amazing way to jumpstart or supplement your workout routine.

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation

We’re gonna nerd out for a second. Motivation is a complex thing, but we’re going to narrow our scope to two different forms of motivation: Intrinsic versus extrinsic.

Extrinsic motivation is an external reward or incentive you might rely on to compel you to engage in a behavior – like a trainer telling you to exercise, or using a goal like weight loss to ensure you stay active. Eventually, those external factors may shift or evaporate, (or perhaps you’ve achieved what you set out to do!), which means you may not have the same desire to continue the behavior (in this case, exercise) if those factors are no longer there.

By contrast, intrinsic motivation is sort of the best of everything – doing something because you derive enjoyment or satisfaction out of the behavior itself, so much so that you feel compelled to do it without the influence of outside or external factors.

The modern era of group fitness programs have leaned into creating intrinsic motivation — by understanding the neuroscience behind joy, our current roster of group workouts is based around amazing playlists and, by tapping into the entertainment and camaraderie fostered by incredible coaches, modern group exercise programs are built around the enjoyment factor. The results – based on the latest in fitness developments and tactics – are built in to the experience, but by combining fun and … dare we say it… enjoyable elements like great music and awesome coaching, participants are more likely to continue to workout… intrinsically. Winning!

The Takeaway

Modern Group Fitness, although it can trace its roots to the origins of fitness and aerobics, has evolved into an incredible and yes, motivational, genre of workouts that can help keep you engaged. By harnessing your own sense of enjoyment,  fostering a sense of camaraderie and making the experience fun, (and delivering incredible results!) today’s group fitness classes may be the perfect addition to your workout week! 

Interested in experiencing the Group Fitness Effect? Check out Launch Week this July 13 – 19 at all VENT Fitness locations. Your first class is FREE! Check the schedule for details.