I’m an only child so I’m used to playing alone. I crave it even. This carries over into the world of exercise. I prefer to stand by myself each morning in front of my television with Jillian Michaels, or on my Stairmaster, or doing my abs with my lab on the floor. (My dog literally lays on her back in ab position.)
However, I’ve learned over the years there is much value in the collective and exercise is no exception. We are not meant to isolate in the world, but rather we’re created to be interdependent, connected across time and space.
No place is this more evident than group exercise. The energy is palpable. No sooner would I press weights for a solid hour, shifting out my barbells with every set variation, alone in my livingroom. (Imagine how crowded my livingroom would be with a step, 6 boosters, 3 different size discs and 6 of each, along with a bar and weight clips.) But when you throw me in a room of 30 women and one man–there’s always one man–I turn into a weight lifting maniac. It’s a powerful dynamic.
And with a leader like Natalie to your left nudging me to change weights, and everybody moving in the short break between songs, I’m speedier than I’d be otherwise. (Still the slowest in the room, mind you, but speedier than I’d be on my own.) As a bonus, sometimes Natalie even sings along. Group dynamics give me a venue to stay focused and push myself. Plus, it’s fun.
If you haven’t tried it, give it a shot. And to arm you, here’s an insider’s secret. When you clip on your weight, make sure it’s tight. Otherwise, you may be busting out those biceps when your clip falls to the floor, your weight drops off after it, and rolls to the bench of the person behind you. If that happens, just smile and keep lifting, and hope the instructor doesn’t announce the rolling weight to the class. (Hey, if you’re not failing, you’re not trying, right?!)