So many of us really enjoy the dynamic feel of doing group classes. I am totally one of them – I’m a group instructor myself! You feel like there is friendly competition, you are more motivated to keep going until the end, and you feed off the energy of all the others in the room.
Now, why would I elude they could be hurting you? Like I always say, it’s all contextual. Depending on where you’re at, doing a group exercise class could definitely be doing you more harm than good. These are examples of such instances:
1. You are newly post-partum
Yup, you guessed it – I am warning you again to be conservative if you’re a new mom. (If you haven’t already, please read my previous post on what every new mom needs to do before working out again).
Unless your group class is specifically geared for pelvic floor exercises or to post partum women, chances are there will be difficult movements involved that require core stability. In the first couple months post partum, the core is working hard to heal itself. Your organs have been displaced and your core and pelvic floor have had an emormous change in pressure for the past 9 months. This is for anyone, fit or not. If you are jumping, running, doing burpees, doing planks…this can all cause issues such as a diastasis or pelvic organ prolapse, or worsen them.
Please see your pelvic floor physio and wait at least 6-8 weeks before ANY type of training.
2. You are an inexperienced exerciser in an experienced class
If you have never learned to lift weights, an advanced class with 20 people isn’t the place to do it. Even the best instructor doesn’t have the ability to correct individuals one by one, especially for complex exercises.
Learn the basics with a trainer one-on-one before attempting to do it in a group setting.
3. The wrong class for the wrong goals
I used to think I can build and tighten my body by doing just a HIIT class a few times a week…boy, was I wrong!
Classes can definitely be geared towards your general goal and help you get there. What I often see, however, is women wanting to “tone up”/tighten, lose body fat, create shape to their body…and guess what? A cardio class will not get you those type of results. Yes, you burn a lot of calories and you are doing your heart a great favour by keeping it active. But once your body has gotten used to all that cardio, you will need to keep doing that same amount as your metabolism has adjusted…but you won’t be increasing your resting metabolic rate like you would using weights.
Don’t neglect the weight training and jump right on the spin bike and expect to make lasting changes. Think about your goals and program accordingly.
4. You do the same class again…and again…and again
Once you’ve done a certain type of training excessively, you will hit a plateau and your body will no longer respond like it used to. It’s good to switch it up and take a break. Try a different class or do a complimentary type of training in lieu of your regular class.
Are all group classes “bad”? Of course not. You just have to ask yourself if it is bringing you closer to your desired result in a safe and effective way, then decide if that class is right for you.