I aint taking cash payments for these reviews.
The good. The bad. The down-right ugly: group fitness.
Group fitness (aerobics if you’re living in the 80s) – is exactly that, a large group of people lead through exercises by a single instructor. The moves are usually choreographed to music and there are different genres of classes like cycle, dance, abs etc.
Variety. There are heaps of styles of classes of varying durations: 30 minute stretch class – sure. 60 minute dance class – Yeah cool. 45 minutes of a weight lifting class – why the fuck not? The price is pretty sweet too as you’ll find this variety of classes in normal gyms in their group fitness studio; for a decent place that could be around $20/week – that’s as opposed to a boutique studio that offers just the one style (say cycle classes only) for double that price.
The good, the great, the amazing of group fitness, is that for the $20 you pay/week, there are instructors out there that will literally change your life (the flip side is some will make you want to end your life – see below). This quality of instructor is hands-down the best money you will ever spend in the fitness-black-hole.
The quality of instructor varies so wildly I literally cannot think of a suitable analogy t o demonstrate the chasm between a fucking awful instructor, to an instructor that is a demi-god worth their weight in white-gold (is white gold really expensive? I digress). If you get a bad instructor I guarantee you this: you won’t go back. And if you do? The fuck is wrong with you?? They were shit. And it’s even worse when that instructor is on the timetable at literally the only time you can get to the gym. I’m sorry but that is a one way ticket to your sofa – and I don’t even blame you.
Because workouts are in a group and the ratio of instructor to participant can be up to 1:100, you will understandably not get a personalised experience. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that your experience of the class is at the mercy of your ability to understand an instruction yelled over a million decibel Skrillex, mentally computing whether this instruction applies to you, deciding it does apply to you, physically making the change (hopefully you’ve done it correctly?), trying not to run in to the person next to you, and not dying at the same time.
The down-right ugly
Group fitness classes are a lucky dip. When you walk in to a group fitness class for the first time – I can’t even begin to promise you the kind of experience you will have. Yes you should expect a minimum standard – but if we’re looking at the human-race as an average here – some people are jerks and sometimes they decide to become an instructor.
Don’t always expect the best-of-the-best facilities in a group fitness room either. While some gyms throw tens-of-thousands of dollars upgrading a squat rack that will inevitably be used as a bicep rack or a row of weird-bendy-treadmills-where-the-momentum-of-your-lower-body-propels-the-belt (I’m sorry – do you mean similar to the way the normal Homo sapien gait works?) the cash seems to dry up when it comes to an upgrade of the group fitness studio.
As Pink famously belted “you gotta get up and try. Try”.
Try all the styles of group fitness classes – the dance ones, the yoga ones, the punching ones. And try them more than once. The first time you will hate it because you will be the one facing the back while everyone is facing the front. The second time you will face the same way as everyone else and hate it a little less. The third time you can make an informed decision whether this particular class is for you.
If you are apprehensive about trying group fitness because you think people are watching – know this: they’re not. They are in their own private hell trying not to face the wrong way too.