GroupX Class Misconceptions & Schedule for the Week of April 17, 2016

Wooo!!!!  I am still on a natural high from Sunday’s P90X Live class.  They really came out and was ready to work.  I guess if they were going to brave the rain, they were going to put in the work.  Way to show this Round who is boss, my Sunday peeps!!!  Now we have this week’s schedule…

It’s THAT week.  On Tuesday, it is party time!!!  One year ago, this week, we started the Tabata class at the Texas Family Fitness Plano – East gym.  Does it seem like a year?  Time flies when your going hard for twenty seconds, huh?  Just kidding.  As we do “Syl Style” we have to throw a party!  No, there will not be beer, wine or FOOD…  But there will be loads of fun….  AND SWEAT!  Yes, we will be working it out; in fact, we will be bringing the 80’s back!  We have an hour (if I can cut the playlist down) of 80’s music and some of your favorite moves over the past year!  Whether you have joined this class or not, come and party like it’s 1989!

Tabata Zumba with Abby
A group of my Tabata students invades and tries out Zumba.  Somebody REALLY got into it!

Have you stayed away from Group Exercise classes?  Are they not your “thing”, but you haven’t tried them yet?  Why?  There are the standard reasons I hear from most people…  “I like to workout alone.”  “They are just for women”  “I don’t like to dance, and that is all that those classes are.”  “There are never any good classes that fit my schedule.”  Obviously, I can rebut any of those reasons at anytime.  No, I don’t try to get into an argument with anyone.  I understand that there are many misconceptions about Group Exercise (or GroupX, GX) classes  and just want to help people understand that those misconceptions are just that.  If you haven’t worked out in a group setting, how do you know if you don’t like working out in this setting?  GroupX is more than dance fitness, take a look at your gym’s schedule.  I tell people how many men come to my classes.  Also, if you don’t attend a class, how do you know if it is any “good”?

Today, I was at an athletic apparel store and one of the associates, we will call her Linda, asked me about my job.  She does pre-choreographed fitness formats at home (think: PiYo, Insanity, TurboKick, etc.) but not at her gym.  There is a format that she has been eagerly wanting to try.  You could see the excitement in her eyes when she talked about the class.  I asked why she had yet to try it, and her response was one that I had not heard quite often.

“I’m afraid to go to Group classes because I feel like the same people go over and over and know all of the moves already, so I will be the only one that doesn’t know what’s going on and will be lost.”

Is this you?

033116_CarmenAbbyAbs3
GroupX  classes are a great way to create relationships that make working out more enjoyable!

First of all, let me say that if an instructor is doing the same routine over and over and over…  And over so that the students have the routine memorized and he or she is not cueing which would cause a person to be lost (which is what Linda is visualizing).  Said instructor is just a DJ for that class and the students probably have left the “challenge zone.”   Even when I teach pre-choreographed classes, I make sure to switch it up every week as to prevent that de ja vu feeling.

Secondly, as an introduction to class, most instructors will ask if there are any new students.  They will use this time to tell you what to expect, let you know that modifications and “water breaks” are always ok.  We don’t scold you for listening to your body.  We do however, encourage you to challenge yourself.  A lot of times, instructors do know who is a first timer, because our regulars do start to feel like friends and family.  When a newcomer comes in the door we will try to welcome them and answer any questions beforehand (if we aren’t already doing so with another student).  Remember, we were a first-timer once as well.  We also take other instructors’ classes if there is a new format that we become interested in learning more, so we still have those moments.

Thirdly, and lastly, CUEING!  There are some formats that require non-verbal cueing of the movements, but in most Group X classes the instructor will verbally cue the movements as well as any form alignment cues.  If able, the instructor will move around the room and help position student to ensure that they are using proper form to prevent injury.  So, in Linda’s case, the instructor will say “Take it to the floor while we work on our abs!  We are going to roll our shoulder blades together and bring our elbows down to the ground, hands resting on the floor.  Keep those abs nice and tight.  Neck soft, no tension!  Knees are bent, touching and in so they are above your hips at a 90 degree angle.  We are going to rotate our legs clockwise and counterclockwise.  Are you ready?  Rotate those knees to the right slowly 1…2…3…4.  Bring it back down the other direction…, etc.”  Linda’s instructor will provide other cues during the remainder of this exercise:  form cues, motivational cues, timing cues, etc.  These should be so that beginner to advanced members of the instructor’s class are clear as to how to perform the moves.

040516TFFPE2
Look at that smile!  Was it something I said?  Or is he just enjoying class?

I cannot remember the last time I left one of my classes without smiling.  Is it because I love what I do…  Sure!  However, I also see how it affects the lives of the people who attend the classes.  Relationships are formed, beginners get stronger, lives are transformed, people find their voices….  Literally!  They find their voices!  The meek ones that get scared by a fly are now saying, “I hate you,” because they have never sweated as much when they wander aimlessly on the gym floor alone.  Do they come back the next week?  Absolutely.  With a smile on their faces ready to do it all again!  The accountability you get from these classes are more than you could expect.

There is a gym that shall remain nameless that bashes GroupX classes and calls those that participate a name that rhymes with “punk.”  I call us a family.  As cheesy as it sounds, we really do start to care, and pick, on one another as such.

So, what’s keeping you from joining a class?

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