Doing It Together: Why Group training can encourage those who struggle

By Salon Gold on February 18th, 2020

With the incredible range of equipment available in the modern gym, it’s easy for anyone to plan a preferred routine to stick to, and adapt, over time. Also, with so much information available on what to eat, how to train and which supplements will help you to achieve your goal, it’s now easier than ever to implement a genuinely effective exercise strategy and stick to it. However, there are three immediate pitfalls to working towards a goal with such precision. One is that not everyone will know exactly which combination of the above will work for them. The second relates to that old saying: “familiarity breeds contempt” – the avid gym user might not continuously feel the benefit of sticking, rigorously, to one routine. This could lead to a loss of interest or a struggle to find a new, fresher routine to replace the old one. The third pitfall applies to people who need more guidance from the beginning. Given that not everybody knows exactly what to do when they first hit the gym or they may struggle to achieve results, group training is an alternative that could help to spur them on. Eager to explore the benefits of this increasingly popular activity, we indulged in a little research and discovered the following.

It has proved more effective than going solo

A newsletter published by Healthline focused on several bodies of research that investigated the benefits of group training when compared to solo exercise. The first research article followed a 12-week study in which different groups undertook a range of activities: solo exercise at least twice every week, 30-minute group work at least twice a week, and no exercise other than cycling or walking to and from home. Measuring perceived stress levels, and the mental, physical and emotional quality of the participants’ lives, the study led all of the group exercisers to see genuine boosts to their quality of life as well as reductions in stress levels. In contrast, the solo exercisers cited no reduction in stress levels, only improved mental quality of life. The third group, meanwhile, perceived no change whatsoever. The other study in the newsletter was based on people exercising on rowing machines. By the end of 45-minute sessions, those people who had rowed with others and synchronised their movements had a higher pain tolerance than solo rowers. Therefore, if you have members who are struggling with mental focus, stress outside of the gym and the physical demands of their exercise regime, group training could be the path for them to take.

Why does group training work?

The article cited above described the concept of ‘behavioural synchrony’ – a process that also occurs during dance, play and religious rituals. Essentially, being around other people, all focused on the same activity, can help boost performance through not only competition but also forming a positive social bond throughout the group. In fact, during a broader sociological study published in the Journal of Social Sciences, it was discovered that people who exercised together became motivated to mimic the behaviour of people around them. However, this study also found that people who exercised alone felt calmer, due to training away from the perceived extra element of competition in group training. Crucially, though, the research concluded that individuals with a lower level of fitness benefitted from group training far more than those already in peak condition. Therefore, while group training can certainly become more competitive, the feeling of social inclusion spurs people on for better results. For people who struggle to train effectively on their own, this could be vital.

What else can group training achieve?

With an increased sense of camaraderie amongst members of your group training classes, it’s likely that word of mouth will encourage a few more people to join at least these classes. Unless membership is already mandatory, the very least you can expect is for more people – particularly those who need this kind of guidance – to start turning up at the sessions. For you, one perceived downside could be that fewer people sign up to one-on-one PT sessions while developing a taste for the group training option. However, given that people tend to benefit less from group training the fitter they get, this could be exactly where your individual PT services become enticing again. Besides, throughout your gym, you’ll have people more knowledgeable on good form and personal limitations, and taking more accountability for their own fitness regime. Hence, when you do start to train these people individually, they’ll be used to pushing themselves and others, and could be more willing to really test their endurance while you monitor their progress. Although the people in your gym who really are struggling won’t realise it just yet, group training could be the first step towards a happier, healthier life. An article published on ScienceDaily noted that group exercise participants experience a 26.2% reduction in stress levels. Therefore, if their exercise struggles are stressing them out, your group classes could be just what they need.

Where Fitness Gold gym insurance can help

With you and your staff organising equipment, room bookings and fitness programmes for your eager group trainers, you’ll need to make sure you have the most comprehensive gym insurance package around. Having people run circuits and practise short bursts of intense exercise in close quarters can, after all, too easily lead small accidents to happen. Whether it’s damaged equipment or injury to a gym member or member of your staff, the problem can be met by your gym insurance, which will protect the business from potential financial damage. With specialist wide activity covers as standard, you can apply all of your knowledge and expertise to your programmes without worrying about any damaging fallout. For more information, or to get a quote for your gym, call our team today on 020 8655 0444. We group-train our own staff to become hardworking experts in the insurance packages that work just as hard for you. Rest assured that you can be thoroughly protected with our help.

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