“Come join our gym – the community is great I’ve made some lifelong friends! The coaches are friendly, supportive, and the workouts are fun and different every day.”
Quick show of hands – how many of you remember reaching out to join CrossFit Mahwah because you wanted to make some new friends?
That’s what I figured.
I would wager a guess that most adults don’t join a gym because they have a strong desire to make new friends. Yet, as gym owners (especially CrossFit gym owners), we constantly rave about how great our communities are and use that as a reason for why people should join.
And current members fall into the same trap of talking about how great the community is.
The reality is that all of these things are true, but its hard to see it from the outside. And its seldom reason enough to get someone to join a gym. Why? Because people want results – they want to lose weight, look and feel better, have more energy, sleep better, etc. (“I’ve got enough friends” is a popular adage I’ve heard that seems to fit well here…)
Isn’t this post supposed to be about the benefits of group exercise though? Why yes it is, so let’s get to that. Exercise in and of itself has great benefits – and they remain largely the same whether you train 1-on-1 or in a group. However, just like 1-on-1 has benefits that group cannot provide (time offerings, individualized attention and programming), group has benefits that 1-on-1 cannot provide. Here they are:
- Accountability: when you are around a group of that all want to better themselves, it rubs off on you and leads to increased motivation. Getting a message saying “It was great seeing you in class today” just makes you feel good and helps create the small micro habits that lead to the lasting changes you want. Even an “I missed you today” can be the catalyst you need to get up and come in the next day. You also push harder in a group, past your perceived limitations. This is incredibly empowering and translates to more confidence in yourself outside of the gym. Here’s another interesting tidbit: One study found that 95 percent of those who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program, compared to a 76 percent completion rate for those who tackled the program alone.
- Shared Belonging: humans have thrived for millions of years by living in groups. Its hard wired into our DNA to be part of a collective of people; there is an inherent safety that groups provide. Its about being a part of something bigger than ourselves. Together, side by side, is how we move the world forward to a better place. Its been said that “if you want to go fast, go along. If you want to go far, go together.”
- Adulting: parents, this one is for you. Let’s face it, sometimes we just want to have adult conversations. SpongeBob and Dora are great…just not 24/7. Words with more than 2 syllables are welcomed and encouraged. Seriously though, this stuff matters.
- Reliable Referrals: big companies spend millions of dollars each year on marketing their products to us. When the time comes to buy a reliable family car, we all have our inherent biases based somewhat on the marketing we’ve seen over the years. But want to know what is more powerful? A friend that makes a passing remark that “I’ve had nothing but issues with that [common model of car you were considering].” The opinions of those that we spend a fair amount of time with matter to us. Reason? We spend time with those most like us, so it stands to reason that their beliefs and reasons for doing things are similar to ours, so we hold their opinions high. And when it comes time to get recommendations for a new lawn company, primary care doctor, pool service, restaurant to try for date night, even babysitters – the group you see on a daily basis will provide the referral you are most likely to accept.
Think you might want to give group training a try? Click this link to book a free no-sweat intro. We’d like to help you get to the person you want to be.