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Friday, April 10, 2009

Group Fitness Sucks

My boss suggested I start attending the group exercises classes offered at our facility as a way of meeting potential clients. This is a great idea for business, true. But the group fitness classes I have attended in the past focused only on muscular endurance or aerobic capacity and neglect completely muscular strength, speed and power.

When I speak of group classes, I am not referring to training sessions designed by a respectable coach as part of a progressive program, but to the sessions offered as part of a membership fee and usually led by an instructor screaming variations of, "Just two more!" into a microphone while loud techno music plays in the background.

These classes do get people to move about, yes, but do they produce results?

For me, the primary result was an acute increase in lactate and DOMS the next day.

And the long-term results…?

These studies suggest that any form of exercise is better than no exercise at all, but I couldn't find any research on the effects of supervised group training on healthy adult populations.

My gut instinct is that there are more efficient and effective methods to train for muscular endurance and aerobic capacity.

Kettlebells for example. Or sprint training.

And what of my professional image! When I train, I train fast and heavy. Do I really want to be associated with the light weights and high reps found in our group fitness class? Are those the clients I want to work with?

I'm slowly discovering that my body is not designed well for endurance activities and that it responds best to fast, heavy loading parameters. This type of loading, and my current methodology as a trainer, does not lend itself well to the format of a group fitness class. For now, I will stay clear of most of the classes we offer.


Reader Poll: How do you incorporate group fitness into your training program?

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