Coach Jerome reflects on the history of Small Group Training, its merits, different varieties and setting YOUR intention with training.
Group training has been an integral part of the fitness industry since it’s big boom in the ’70’s. We’ve gone from Jazzercise and colourful Aerobics classes to simple strength and conditioning in parks and garages. However, with recent additions like CrossFit, F45 and Les Mills, demand has grown, and people are drawn to these premium priced services more and more, often for very similar reasons; they’re a taxing, fun workout and they’re convenient.
In the case of F45, you can walk in literally seconds before the class starts, and whether there is an instructor present or not (there always is), the class would run itself via screens and a strict time scheduling which dictates where, what and how long you work.
Is this great for someone with a busy schedule who just wants to walk in, get told exactly what to do, and walk out? Absolutely. Is it great for business, to have a large amount of people in and out of the doors, with little staff needed to run a class? Undoubtedly! Is it the most effective and safe way to get fit and strong and meet your exercise and lifestyle goals? Not necessarily.
We need to start asking more out of our group training, literally. The Fit Project prides itself on attention to detail, capping our classes at 8 participants. Why? Because we believe that in order for our members to thrive in a group setting, we need to be able to treat them as individuals. That’s very hard to do when you’ve got 30 people in a single class.
The Fit Project’s classes put us all in a very unique position, in that we can really take the time out of a session to discuss individual differences, assess injuries and explore options outside of the prescribed daily class. Everyone’s goals within a class will be completely different when we really dig deep. “Get fit and tone up” might be the surface answer, but if we explore that further, there’s usually variables that need to be met in order for that to be achieved; a stronger press, bigger arms, lose 5 kilos, perform better. Furthermore, the ‘why’ to these goals is just as important; to feel confident, to keep up with my kids, to compete in sport at my best.
With so many variables, a group class is never going to be the absolute ideal way for every member to reach their goal. That doesn’t mean it can’t get close. Communicate with your coach, discuss your goals, your desires, your fears, your weaknesses. Communicate how you’re feeling, question what we are telling you, understand why you’re doing what we tell you to.
Then, we can start to truly get the most out of a group class. Exercises can be regressed, progressed, or exchanged completely. Rep ranges can be modified, intensity and purpose can be tweaked.
While a morning session may be labelled ‘Barbell’ or ‘High Intensity’, it doesn’t limit us from addressing your goals within that framework. If you’re a competitive runner in a Barbell class, your barbell squats might be exchanged for single leg variations to be more specific to the unilateral loading of running. If you’re struggling to touch your toes and in an ‘Interval’ class, perhaps we switch out a weight-bearing exercise for a mobility one.
This is the beauty of SMALL Group Training. It’s personal, and if the communication between coaches and members is efficient, progress can be fast tracked. It means we can achieve our goals by working smarter, not harder.
– Coach Jerome
Want more focus in your training? Drop Coach Jerome a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our FB page.