From the gymnasiums of ancient Persia to the first commercial gyms run by French strongmen in the 1800s, the concept of public group fitness has been part of human history for thousands of years. And, while modern big-box gyms cater less to gladiators and bored French aristocrats, the fundamental idea remains the same: exercise is better when you don’t have to do it alone.
Today, group exercise is one of the cornerstones of the fitness industry and accounts for billions in annual revenue. In surveys and online reviews, whether or not a gym offers high-quality group classes is a leading factor in which membership customers ultimately choose. But what are group fitness classes, and do they deserve all the pomp and circumstance?
In this article, we’ll go over the hard facts surrounding group fitness classes, what benefits they offer, and how to find the best classes near you.
How Do Group Fitness Classes Work?
Most group exercise classes are run by a highly-trained instructor, though larger classes may use a team of instructors to provide more individual attention to each member. Throughout each session, these instructors guide you through workouts and movements designed to boost cardiovascular health, strength, and endurance while also providing a fun, inviting atmosphere.
This combination of fun and function offers many benefits, including things such as:
Proper form is key to improving fitness in a healthy, injury-free way. Rather than muddling through new movements or exercises on your own, a group fitness class can provide the guidance you need to perform every part of your workout routine with perfect form.
It can sometimes be difficult to find motivation and stay dedicated when working out alone. In a group class setting, staying motivated is much less of a struggle due to the high-energy atmosphere, encouraging coaches, and occasional friendly competition with other class members.
Fitness can often be intimidating, and many gym-goers hesitate to experiment with new workouts or exercises out of concern they may not “get it.” By joining a group of other members with similar experience levels and fitness goals, you remove much of the pressure and start building confidence that you can carry with you long after the class is over.
As we mentioned earlier, community has been central to fitness for thousands of years. What many people don’t know, however, is that the benefits of group workouts extend far beyond how much you enjoy exercise. Specifically, many studies have found that people who work out with others experience better physical, mental, and emotional health, with a 26% reduction in stress levels on average when compared to those who exercise alone.
Group Fitness Classes vs. Personal Training: What’s the Difference?
When debating whether to take the leap and start working out with others, most people question whether group fitness classes or personal training would be best. To help, we’ll break down the differences between each.
Level of Attention
With a personal trainer, you generally receive one-on-one attention for the duration of your session together. This means that you have the time to ask as many questions as necessary to fully understand an exercise or the reasoning behind your workout routine.
In group classes, you receive less direct attention but gain the benefit of being able to watch other class members to double-check form or tempo.
When you begin working with a personal trainer, the two of you will typically sit down to discuss goals, different styles of workout programs, and what kind of coaching approach you prefer. This way, you get extra control over every aspect of your training.
For group classes, customizability comes in the form of class selection. With gyms like Crunch that prioritize a large, diverse class list, you have the freedom to choose between various classes and physical activities to find the ones that interest you most.
Because you’re working one-on-one with an instructor, personal training usually costs between $50.00 and $100.00 for a standard session. Depending on your gym and membership, the cost of group fitness classes can vary widely. With a so-called “boutique” fitness class, you may pay upwards of $40.00 per class.
For Crunch’s Peak and Peak Results members, however, classes are included in their monthly membership fees.
What Kinds of Group Classes Does Crunch Offer?
The classes offered by each Crunch Fitness location vary depending on member preferences, the experience and qualifications of instructors, and any special deals or campaigns happening. Still, Crunch members can expect every location to include classes in the following categories:
While most people think of squat racks and heavy weights when they see the phrase “strength training,” the truth is that strength-based classes have come a long way from the days of strongmen and oversized dumbbells. Today, classes like Pilates or Barre offer a more approachable experience for beginners.
That said, some Crunch classes also offer a more traditional experience, with instructors walking you through one exercise at a time while you learn to use a wide array of equipment, such as free weights, resistance bands, and battle ropes.
Although high-intensity interval training can improve cardiovascular health, build strength, and reduce stress, just like the other categories on this list, the unique structure of these classes means they deserve their own section.
With HIIT classes, instructors run participants through fast-paced circuit training designed to push them to their limits with a full-body workout. While this can prove more challenging than some other classes, it’s also an excellent way for ambitious gym-goers to bring their health to the next level.
Yoga classes are unique in that they offer a well-rounded balance between exertion and relaxation. With Crunch’s Mana Flow Yoga, you may move calmly through spiritual, centering poses designed to reconnect you with your body and the world around you. In Vinyasa Yoga classes, instructors guide you through more athletic, physically-demanding movements meant to improve muscle tone.
Regardless of which you choose, many types of yoga have been shown to reduce blood pressure and stress, build core strength, and protect against injuries common in everyday life.
Perhaps the most diverse category of group fitness classes, group cardio workouts range from indoor cycling to dance choreography and martial arts-style routines. While the number of options may seem daunting at first, it also means a near-endless supply of new and exciting ways to get your heart rate up.
In one class, you may be sweating it out to hip hop in a Rhythm cycling class. The next, your neon-spandex-clad Retro-Robics instructor might be guiding you through an 80s-inspired dance routine. Either way, group cardio classes are one of the best resources for building a fun, healthier lifestyle.
How Do I Find Group Fitness Classes Near Me?
If you’re ready to add group fitness classes to your personal fitness journey, you’re in luck: Crunch Fitness maintains one of the largest and most diverse lists of classes you’ll find anywhere in the fitness industry. Even better, attending a class is as easy as heading over to our group fitness class list and choosing one that interests you. Then, simply show up ready to exercise, and our instructors will take it from there.
For current Peak Results members, unlimited access to all classes is included in your monthly fees; Peak members enjoy similar benefits, though they may have limited access to small-group training sessions. Members on our Base Plan do not currently have access to group classes but can upgrade for a small increase in their monthly plans and join our group classes immediately!
Finally, Crunch offers a complimentary class trial pass to help you decide once and for all whether group classes are right for you. Just sign up, stop in, and take advantage of three days worth of premium group fitness classes.
Crunch’s group fitness classes promote a culture of fun with no judgments. It’s an environment for all types of individuals with various goals. Find a Crunch gym near you to try our free trial membership, or join Crunch now. Your goals are made to be crushed. With Crunch, you’ll have the tools, resources, and support to make it happen.