I am not a fan of group exercise–I find the adherents more annoying and more persistent than religious canvassers.
Reasons you won’t catch me at a group exercise class:
1. They are tailored for all fitness levels: Isn’t that great? I am doing the same workout as a 70 year-old woman and a morbidly obese man–everyone’s invited and everyone can participate. No. That’s not great–I prefer to have my strengths and weaknesses evaluated and exercise proscribed based on my current fitness needs and goals.
2. Coordination is key: I am not one who easily follows instructions. I get lost easily and I flail my limbs wildly during most choreographed movements. I am too focused on getting the damned steps right and not focused on the muscle groups or the intensity…I’m just worried about looking foolish–which I do.
3. I find the instructors annoying, not motivating. This is self explanatory.
4. Territoriality: some people get down-right zealous about their class…they like a particular piece of equipment or spot in the studio…and they can make it unfriendly and intimidating for others. Likewise, if a smaller group exists within the larger group, it can seem unwelcoming and cliquey. That is completely demotivating for me.
5. I’m going to hurt myself. Some of the classes that I have deigned to attend have really focused on volume…not form. I’m a form fanatic. If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right or not at all. Doing 50 light-weight bench-presses is great…well, unless you’ve got your grip wrong or you have positioned the bar too high or too low to hit your target area…too bad you didn’t get help with your form before you wasted those reps and that time. I’d rather be able to focus on my form and not worry about keeping up with the class.
Now, all that being said, I have joined a group weight-training class. I’ll tell you why though: this class is 2 – 8 people; you are paired with someone of like fitness level (or by yourself if no such person is in your group) and the trainer monitors you at each exercise station. Not everyone is doing the same circuit, it is customized weekly, based on your fitness goals and needs. You will be shown proper technique if you are unfamiliar with an exercise and you will be given a set number of reps and sets, relevant to your program.
Other group fitness I don’t have a problem with: yoga, spin class, running in groups (yeah, I know, it’s not really a class, but I’m counting it).