A Hidden Benefit of Group Fitness Classes
Spoiler Alert: You may be surprised at what I call out as a hidden benefit of group fitness classes.
You are probably expecting me to say that when you take a group fitness class, you will find camaraderie, accountability, commitment, and the opportunity to meet others with similar interests.
You will also get stronger, build your endurance, improve your flexibility, and further define your muscles.
You’ll be better equipped for the activities of daily life, and you’ll perform better in other sports including but certainly not limited to running, tennis, soccer, volleyball, strength training, basketball, cycling, and obstacle course racing.
You’ll increase your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Your body will change for the better. Your clothes will fit better. You may even have to buy smaller sizes.
And you’ll experience all of this at a lower price point than personal training.
Yes, yes, yes, yes. This is all true.
But there is more than that.
There are what I term “soft benefits”.
Similar to hard costs and soft costs, hard benefits are those described above. They are tangible. Soft benefits are the immeasurable ones, or those you can’t quite quantify yet you know they exist.
This came to light after watching a pre-recorded webinar given by Andy Crestodina, the Co-Founder and Strategic Director of Orbit Media. One of his discussion points was the importance of building your referral network.
When I heard this, I paused the video and thought about how it affects my life now, not when I worked in the corporate world where networking opportunities were abundant and often times planned by organizations I was a member of.
It didn’t take me long to realize that group fitness classes are a safe and comfortable environment to network in because the focus is not on networking. We aren’t dressed in suits and dresses, huddling in a group of people from our own office, or watching others awkwardly approach us, or walking around donning a name tag and handing out business cards while we give our well-rehearsed elevator speeches.
Networking is a hidden benefit of group fitness classes!
Networking during exercise is actually simple and painless. You just be yourself. There is a natural ebb and flow of conversation before and after class where we talk about situations from work and at home, our plans for the weekend, movies we want to see, events we want to attend, and other everyday “stuff”. Sometimes a person comes to class with a pre-determined question to ask everyone for feedback on, but more often than not we just stumble onto a topic. Either way, we come away knowing each other better, and on a no-pressure personal level. We are being ourselves without any pretense. We are just “us”.
Think about it – you’ve just sweated, grunted, and struggled with a group of like-minded individuals – everyone has made the conscious decision to actively take this step to improve their health, their bodies, their self-esteem, and their self-confidence. They have set aside one hour of “me time”. This creates an unspoken bond.
Now factor in social media and you quickly understand this goes well beyond face-to-face classes. For instance, in addition to my business facebook page Catalyst 4 Fitness which is public, allowing anyone to post, like, and follow it, I also administer a facebook group called Sore As Hell and Back For More. This private group is only for current clients of Catalyst 4 Fitness. It, too, is a safe environment for users to post questions, vent frustrations, ask for feedback, and the like. It isn’t unusual for some of the participants who have been actively communicating with each other to have never met because they work with me through Online Nutrition Coaching, Workouts To Go, or take Personal Training sessions, or they simply attend different classes. Yet they have become friends and sometimes confidantes.
Taking it a step further, many classmates invite others to join their LinkedIn networks. As soon as this connection occurs, they have access to a whole new group of professional acquaintances. And boom – they’ve just successfully networked and simply because they wanted to get into better shape and signed up for group workout classes.