Before 2017 I had never attended a group exercise class. Ever. However in 2017 they have become my favourite form of workout where I really feel I’ve pushed myself and actually starting to see some physical changes too. What I have noticed is that nearly every class, of every type is dominated by women; whether its running, treadmill, floor, core, cardio and even strength.
I have no idea why that is and I strongly recommend these classes to any men that are wanting to try these or have heard about them an wondered what they’re all about. They work you very, very hard and I’ve found the smaller, more intimate classes to be more beneficial as the coaches spend more time pushing you, upping your weight or correcting you’re form. Not only that, you actually meet like minded people who are there to train hard and in turn push you further as well!
Here’s a few examples of the group exercises I take part in and what they’re all about.
Nike running – speed work mainly on a track or taking on some of the hills around London. The session varies every week led by Rory and Omar. It really is for all abilities and usually attracts 50+ people. People seem hesitant to sign up to this thinking they won’t be quick enough… false! Everyone I know that has attended has really enjoyed these sessions. I’ve found them very beneficial in correcting my form and a vital part of marathon training too. Duration 90mins, Price free.
Ministry Does Fitness – Ministry varies depending on what day you attend; Monday – Cardio, Tuesday – Strength, Wednesday – Endurance, Thursday – Core, Friday/Saturday – Showcase. It’s a small studio with a max number of participants at 28. There are 7 different stations that you work around and this can include; treadmill, battle ropes, squat jumps, situps etc. They’re HIIT workouts where the coach and assistant really do push you in each one. I’ve found every class very challenging yet very enjoyable. Duration 45 mins, Price £14
Barry’s Bootcamp – So I may have only attended on Barry’s session but EVERYONE talks about it, and well even David Beckham attends these classes, and I am not arguing with him. Again these vary depending on what day you go, from a full body workout, to arms & abs, butt & legs etc! The class I attended was half treadmill work with varying speeds and incline, then half floor work including bicep curls, sit ups, burpees and mountain climbers. Another sweat fest, these are great fat burners and you really feel like you’ve pushed your body afterwards. The shakes are great too! Duration 60 mins, Price £20
HIIT classes at EasyGym/Virgin Active/Nuffield Health. I have only taken part in a few of these but I’m sure everyone that regularly attends the gym will have seen these. They vary in difficulty, in activity and in duration. If you don’t feel pushed when you attend the gym on your own then enquire or try one of these. They’re great quick workouts for burning all the calories and usually have plenty to choose from. Duration varies, Price free (with membership).
These are just a few of the many available group exercises that are very easily available to anyone. I’m intrigued to try more and really glad I decided to give them a go this year. Men – If you haven’t tried these for whatever reason then I really do suggest you give one a go. They can work great as part of any fitness plan and working out with others does tend to push you that little bit more. http://www.menshealth.co.uk/fitness/ultimate-guide-to-hiit is a great article on the specific benefits gained from HIIT if you are still unsure.
In the past week I have attended 4 of these classes (3 @ Ministry, 1 @ Barry’s) and in total there have been only 5 other males in the class. I was on my own for 2 classes – a core work out and an endurance session.
“With 48 percent of club members male, one would think that participation in group exercise classes would also be split down the middle. Surprisingly, according to the latest IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, only 38% of group exercise participants are men.”
This has made me think about why I never tried a session before this year. I found a few reasons why there’s an uneven split and I can definitely relate to these myself;
- Titles and descriptions of the offerings: words like “booty,” “toning” or “sculpt” are just not enticing to men.
- Instructors: it is predominantly women who teach, so that may be off-putting to men. And, with the majority of class attendees women, words of encouragement like “come on ladies” may come out without the instructor realising it, thus souring men from joining.
- Group dynamic: women tend to like to work out together and feel like they are part of a community, while men, at the club at least, are more apt to go in, do their thing, and leave, often not engaging with others.
- Music: men may shy away if they think the class is set to a Katy Perry or Ariana Grande soundtrack
I’m intrigued to know from both men and women why they think this is. Do you feel they are targeted to women more? Do you think they benefit women more? What would make you more inclined to try a HIIT or group exercise?
I for one will definitely be using these as part of my Berlin Marathon training plan!