Want to enhance your workout? Gather in a group …
We all know workout buddies make fitness more fun, even on days those crunches seem unbearable. Evidently, there is power in numbers. Recent studies show the benefits of working out in a group. It sounds reasonable. If one workout buddy is good, then more can be better.
What We Know
One study followed rowers on a team at Oxford University. Physical activity in a team setting allowed the rowers to almost double their pain threshold as compared to when exercising solo. Although strength and overall performance remained the same, they could tolerate more pain during synchronized physical activity.
Researchers believe the synchrony of group exercise is responsible for the increased endorphin rush, which improves mood and lessens pain. Maximize the long-known benefit of exercise-induced euphoria by joining a Group Fitness class or Small Group Training (SGT) sessions. Choose options that incorporate moderate and high-intensity cardio workouts to maximize pain tolerance.
Exercise should never be painful. However, an increased ability to tolerate pain (in this case, discomfort of muscle exhaustion) may allow the stamina to overcome hurdles and advance your workout.
Social Fitness Opportunities
As a Center member, belonging to a fitness community provides a wealth of social fitness options. Beyond Center-curated experiences like classes, workshops, SGT, and group lessons, your presence alone connects you with likeminded individuals. Gather your buddies to create your own social fitness experiences.
Liven up your routine with community goals. Challenge friends, family, and coworkers to boost motivation and maintain your fitness commitment. Personalize it with the group’s wish list.
Challenges to consider:
- Try one new workout a week.
- Manage 1,000 extra steps daily. (Be sure to establish everyone’s baseline.)
- Sample a new Group Fitness class.
- Sleep seven to eight hours at least five nights of the week.
- Be imaginative! Survey the group for their unique aspirations and do them.
Create a timeframe for the challenge. Perhaps set a deadline of four weeks. Establish frequent check-ins to ensure momentum (and taunt the slackers). Sharing goals with others is known to help accomplish them. The support and accountability involved helps you soar.
Split your group into competing teams, and watch the inner winner grow in everyone. Healthy competition usually launches us to higher levels. The enjoyment of sharing the journey combines with the thrill of having to keep up—and maybe even surpass. Contests also can be established between individuals, but teaming up adds an element of competitive camaraderie.
The winning team can be defined as:
- taking the most steps
- cycling the most miles (outside and in the Cycle studio)
- trying the most fitness classes
- lifting the most collective weight
- introducing the most healthful meals
Hold your teammates accountable for reaching their quota, or risk the scorn of those picking up your slack! Remember to synchronize exercises as much as possible to gain the pain-tolerance factor. Give yourself this opportunity to go farther than you would solo!
Nourish fitness with some healthful food options. Challenge each other to healthier eating.
Healthful food contests to consider:
- Most delicious entrée
- Easiest side dish
- Lightest dessert
- Best use of spices over unhealthy toppings like butter and cheese
Take into consideration the healthiest choice as well as the tastiest. Perhaps the top winner gets rewarded with a specially made meal.
Make exercise a group activity to lift out of a fitness rut or simply learn how far you really can go. You may be surprised how you surpass your perceived limitations. A lot gets discovered when a best buddy, or the guy in the cubicle next-door, is on your heels.