As a group fitness instructor and a specialist Pilates PT, I have over the course of many years witnessed a very interesting trend, specifically amongst my male clients.
They would almost never attend group classes (unless reluctantly dragged along by their girlfriends), but would always schedule in 1-1 sessions or hit the gym alone.
When questioned why, the response tended to be along the lines of “group classes are for girls”, or “there’s just too many females in the room”. And while they are dead wrong about the first statement, the second rings true. With nearly 70% attendance of group classes being female dominated, it’s no wonder the dudes are feeling a little intimidated by all that estrogen!
What these guys are missing out on though in such presumptions, is the killer mix of variety, motivation and atmosphere that is totally unique to the group class format. Group classes are tailored specifically to their niche, are insanely high intensity and reward you with full body results that can skyrocket your gains.
So, if you’re just a regular gym bro, read on, and let me change your mind about scheduling in a group sesh…
Are you an average gym going, vanilla, kind of guy? Noticing a drop in energy or a plateau in your results? Nothing kickstarts your muscle building and fat burning bodily functions more than including variety in your workout. Group classes bring with them an endless array of diversity, so you can test the flavour of the day and match your workout to your mood.
To reach new heights with your fitness, it’s not negotiable – you have to incorporate both strength and cardio components into your workout schedule. Yes, low-intensity cardio like walking or jogging on the treadmill is an option, but where you’ll really see a difference is incorporating HIIT into your routine, which is easily done when you can find HIIT, boxing, Muay Thai and bodyweight workouts all offered in the group format. This added variety helps you fast track results and skip the dreaded plateau, with a constant recruitment of different muscle fibers and cardiovascular systems. So you get more gains with less pains. Sounds good, right?!
Utilise overlooked muscles
Think Pilates, Yoga and Barre are just for the ladies? Think again bud. These somatic body practices target very specifically stabilising muscles that are absolutely essential for control, balance, precision and posture. Too often, these smaller muscles are neglected in favour of hitting the dominant counterparts (hello quads!), which tends to lead to overtraining, muscular imbalances and the potential risk of injury. These styles of workout also require a higher cognitive level of mind-body connection, so you can work on those somewhat “lacking” multi-tasking skills at the same time.
Scheduling in some of these slower, but much more technically focused, workouts will additionally help you advance your speed and agility skills. And trust me, they are packed with small movements that deliver maximum muscle burn, you’ll be feeling the workout days afterward. C’mon man, train like a girl…
I hate to stereotype, but unfortunately, I’ve spent many an hour in the gym and seen the same thing go down – guys loading up the guns and skipping leg days. When it comes to group classes, the primary focus of the workouts, regardless of their format, is on balanced programming.
Whether that is to target your equal muscle opposites (upper or lower body focus) or the style of fitness system targeted (aerobic or anaerobic), group classes are designed to focus on balance and defining equilibrium throughout the body for well-rounded results. So next time you’re thinking about yet another session of isometric bicep curls, try hitting the group class scene instead.
If there’s one thing that really gets a guy going, it’s a little healthy competition. With a studio loaded with testosterone, the group atmosphere will fuel you with the motivation to push further and hit intensity and/or strength levels you might fail to reach when training on your own.
The team environment of group classes gives you drive and momentum on the days when you otherwise would be flagging and offers support to help nail a new skill or hit that long-awaited PB. IF you consistently find that it’s motivation you’re lacking, try signing up for a shot of competitive spirit in a group class instead.
It’s easy to cancel on yourself at the end of a long, stressful day. But throw in things like late fee’s, an instructor whose class has a waitlist a mile long and a reminder that will ping an hour before things kick off, you’ll soon see that group classes have a knack for keeping you accountable.
Helping you to stick to your schedule of pre-booked workouts ensures you stay on track and don’t quit on yourself, which leads to progression in the gym, further gains in strength and physique and a sense of personal accomplishment for getting sh*t done!
Great for meeting badass babes
Let’s get one thing straight from the get go, generally, girls despise dudes trying to hit on them at the gym. But it must be said, as the general minority at group classes, hitting up some sweat sessions can be a great way for guys to meet like-minded individuals who may be open to getting to know you post-sweat.
Often, these fit chicks are some badass babes who you may just get along with. Just make sure you don’t get in their way (or openly drool over them) during the workout… trust me, it won’t do you any favours!