The best workout regimen is one that both benefits your health and brings you excitement. The type of exercise that achieves this combo varies from person to person—but, for many people, some sort of group fitness class helps make the magic happen.
Whether you’re looking for something new to complement your gym sessions or want to completely overhaul your routine, group fitness classes may be worth giving a shot. Here, trainers break down some of the biggest signs you won’t regret testing them out.
1. You Want Some Instruction
Costing an average of $40 to $70 per hour, it’s possible that hiring a personal trainer for one-on-one coaching just isn’t within your budget. Since they typically cost a fraction of what individual sessions go for, group fitness classes give people access to the high level of instruction of a personal trainer, without the barrier to entry.
Most group fitness studios put their instructors through an intensive training process in which they learn form, cues, and mechanics, as well as how to deliver that information to a room of people. In many group fitness classes, for example, “instructors will clearly demonstrate a move at the front of the room and then move throughout the studio to correct clients until it’s time to highlight the next move,” says Dilan Gomih, a group fitness instructor with Barry’s Bootcamp.
The benefit of this level of coaching can’t be understated. “Working out with poor form is counterproductive to your goals and dangerous,” she says. “Rather than strengthening your body and improving your progress, poor form can lead to (or exacerbate) an injury.” And if you’re injured, it’s pretty tough to take strides towards your fitness goals.
2. You’re Not Into Planning Your Own Workouts
Another benefit of taking a professionally-led fitness class: The expert takes care of planning your workout for you, “which is great for people who don’t want to have to think about what to do,” says Gomih. “It can be a great feeling to know that someone else has designed the next 45 minutes of your life.”
Beyond saving time and energy, this can also be better for your body. Unless you’re also a fitness professional yourself, odds are you don’t have the prerequisite skills needed to create a workout program that is truly as effective as possible. “The certified instructor in the group fitness class is responsible for planning a smart class,” says certified exercise physiologist Rachelle Reed, M.S., Ph.D., senior director of health science and research for Orangetheory Fitness. “That means that all you have to do is show up and enjoy it.”
3. You Enjoy A Variety of Modalities
If you enjoy everything from lifting weights to jogging to HIIT, the variety of training styles and modalities accessible to you via group fitness training might appeal. Most studios that offer group fitness classes have a variety of class formats, giving participants a selection of different types of classes to choose from, says Cindy Sites, CEO and founder of Greenwich Barre Studio.
At a CrossFit box, for example, you might have access to an endurance workout, Olympic lifting class, or weekend yoga class, Likewise, at most yoga studios, you’ll have the option between 45-, 60-, and 75-minute classes, as well as classes with different focuses (think power versus restorative).
Additionally, group fitness studios give participants access to a wide variety of instructors, each of whom brings their own personal flair to the session—yet another way to mix up your routine.
4. You Get Bored Easily
On a similar note… group fitness programs are a good option if you often get bored at the gym or following along with YouTube videos.
Why? For starters, “things are constantly moving during class,” says Gomih. “You have to pay attention so you don’t wind up doing bicep curls when everyone else is doing lunges,” she says. No opportunity to zone out here!
Not to mention, well-trained group fitness instructors are secretly the best DJs, which means they know that switching tunes constantly is key. “Instructors of group fitness instructors are top-notch at ensuring that the music varies every few minutes,” Gomih adds.
Most even use the beats-per-minute to help inform clients when to go hard. For example, “when I want clients to sprint or do mountain climbers for 30 seconds, I match the beat drop to that moment,” says Gomih. No doubt, it’s pretty tough to feel bored with a quality playlist (and not the same old five songs you play on repeat) blaring in the background.
5. You Are Competitive
Are you the reigning champ of your family’s annual Monopoly showdown? Is your college jersey enjoying a second life as office wall decor? Does the idea of winning get you going? If you answered yes to one or more of those questions, you might enjoy a group fitness class, you competitive thing you.
Not only does sweating in a group setting itself turn on that competitive nature, but many group fitness classes also offer you opportunities to chase top leaderboard standings, according to Sites. Cycling studios, for example, usually allow you to opt into a live tracking feature so that you can compare your resistance, speed, or total output to those of other riders. Similarly, most CrossFit boxes invite members to enter their scores into an app all box members have access to, which does double-duty by encouraging individuals to track their progress over time and fostering friendly competitive camaraderie.
6. You’re A Social Butterfly
Even group fitness classes that leave you too out of breath to chit-chat during the actual workout offer the opportunity to socialize. Before and after class, you’ll get to know the people in your class, as well as the instructors and studio staff. “Group exercise studios offer the opportunity to connect socially with the trained coaches and staff, as well as your peers working towards a common goal,” says Reed.
Plus, because most people choose to exercise at the same time every day, you have a real opportunity to make acquaintances and actual friends as you become a regular, adds Sites. For extroverts having a hard time adjusting to work-from-home life, this routine could make all the difference.
Of course, if you don’t want to make any new friends, you could also sign up for a studio with an already-established pal. “It’s incredibly common for best friends to sign up together, or for parents to sign up with their children,” according to Sites. Workout classes are a fun, healthy way to connect with your favorite people.
7. You Need Some Mental Motivation
Having an external source of motivation is always good news for sticking to your routine, so if you struggle to feel ready to rock and roll on your own, a group workout setting can provide just the encouragement you need.
“Group fitness classes are perfect for anyone who is looking for an accountability buddy,” Gomih says. In addition to knowing you’ll be walking into an environment that’ll get you going, you’ll also find a built-in support system that’ll hold you accountable for showing up. In fact, the pals you make—and even instructors you become close with—might even reach out should you go MIA.
8. You’re Struggling to Meet the Minimum Fitness Recommendations
It might sound obvious, but group fitness classes are a great way for people to inch closer to the recommended minimum movement requirements set forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (They recommend that adults participate in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity and two or more resistance training sessions each week.)
“When performed at those recommended doses, exercise functions like medicine, helping lower your risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease,” says Reed. “There are also additional health benefits of engaging in physical activity beyond the minimum recommended amount.” What specific additional benefits you reap may vary depending on the type of exercise program you choose, so make sure to select a fitness studio that aligns with your goals.