Nearly every adult I know has a mountain of responsibility – most we’ve chosen for ourselves. I chose to get married, have three kids, work full-time, teach fitness part-time, own a dog, and purchase a home. Maybe you’ve made some of those choices, too. Sometimes I feel like homeownership was such great idea until I couldn’t call my landlord anymore to fix everything that went wrong. Why is it appliances break down in twos?
All of the effort we put into “adulting” can often seem daunting and stressful. Have you seen that cute Facebook post of the pug that reads “I can’t adult today”? We have all felt that way. We have all had those days or weeks or months when adulting was a heavy weight on our shoulders. Sick children, tight budgets, aging parents – you name it. The ups and downs of actually being a grown up can be exhausting.
Finding time to get together with my friends has even become a chore. Of course, I want to get together, of course they want to get together, but between basketball and piano, and work, and all the aforementioned STUFF – making time for friendship can feel like another item on the to-do list.
It used to be so simple. Remember when we got to see our friends every day for recess? Or after school at practice? Remember when we got to sort of float around from one thing to the next while our parents wore those heavy hats of adult-hood? I certainly do.
Enter Group Exercise Class.
45-60 minutes of none of that. There is no stress in group ex. You go. You do. Period. You move your body. You don’t have to “adult” in group exercise class – you just have to show up. Be silly, be vulnerable, but just be there. Put the to-do list down, turn your phone on silent for Pete’s sake, and get your sweat on.
People often tell me they are scared to try a class because they will look stupid or it will be too hard and they won’t finish it and that will make them “less than”. Those are inhibitions that for 45-60 minutes need to be set aside. Every single person in a group exercise class had first class nervousness. EVERY.SINGLE.PERSON.
I am one of the world’s worst steppers. But oh, how I love it. I love to go to step class when my schedule allows for it. I cannot think about any other thing in the world when I am taking step class. I cannot – my brain does not have enough space in it to follow the movements, remember the movement pattern, and consider a deadline or what’s for dinner. So I have to let that stress go and workout. Plus – bonus -- while I’m doing all of this movement, keeping up with the instructor, and not tripping my brain is actually improving.
So, adios grown-up stress and hello stress management improving. Thank you Group Exercise Class.
Socially, group exercise gets five big fat gold stars. Because little did you know…there are friends in group exercise class – and like-minded at that. People who felt like they couldn’t get out of bed today, people who watched too much tv after putting the kids to bed because it is their only “me” time, people who had too many glasses of red wine the night before, people who have lost their parents, people who have a broken heart, a boss with very little respect for their time, a kid with cancer, a mountain of debt, and who, like you, don’t want to always talk about it but definitely need to be around other humans to make things more bearable. (And who sometimes want to talk about it.)
For me, those people in that class were the ones who got me out of the funk of post-partum depression. Truthfully, they didn’t even know it. But the simple act of going to the class and making some group ex friends, created a sense of accountability for me to show up. Then eventually it led to the text messages when I didn’t show up and those text messages became bigger friendships until I realized group fitness was getting me through it.
And then I started teaching group ex!
Teaching group ex is like ring-leading recess. What can we do today that is fun, challenging but attainable; and what are we going to listen to while we do it? I get to consider the variety of humans with all their road blocks and stressors, all their injuries and struggles – I get to plan fun for them all. I get to build them up. I get to tell them jokes. I get to play their favorite song. I get to teach them how to lift weights and feel strong. I get to encourage them to nurture their body and treat themselves well. I get to tell people – take time for you. I get to help others feel better, strong, and smile more. It’s like being a cheerleader for the success of people who just want to be themselves and be well.
Group Exercise is the heart of the fitness industry. It is where adults hit the playground again to mix and mingle and sweat it up. It is the adult version of recess. Gone are the days of after school sports and monkey bars. Gone are the days of playing until the street lights come on. In Group Exercise class, we can feel like we’re just kids having fun with our buddies for a bit and it really makes life better. Teaching group exercise helps people in so many way – if you aren’t teaching group ex yet --- YOU SHOULD BE.
In Good Health,