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Brittany McIntosh
Professor Ashlyn C. Walden
English 1102-031
18 March 2014
Assignment 2: Group Fitness
Have you ever passed a group of people working out together outside or in a fitness class at the
gym? The instructor is easy to spot, giving out instructions, tips and yelling out motivational
slurs. Well these are group exercise classes and they benefit people in more ways than just
increasing physical fitness levels. I have researched these benefits through readings, videos,
interviews, surveys and personal observations. Throughout this paper we will discuss
implications of group fitness and how it is more fun, rewarding, and lends physical, emotional,
and social rewards; however it can also hinder these same aspects of physical and emotional
Group fitness classes are usually held in a gym setting whether a multipurpose room, dance
room, cycle studio, swimming pool or outdoor track. There are classes for people who want to
increase their cardio, muscle strength, overall fitness levels and or lose weight and gain lean
muscle mass. There is a class that will match up to everyones needs, you just have to research
the descriptions and find the one(s) that best suit your preferences and goals. The instructors of
the class must be certified by the American Council on Exercise to teach the classes. The
certification ensures you are getting correct and safe instruction.
Being a member of the YMCA since middle school has given me ample opportunity to benefit
from all kinds of group fitness programs. I have taken aerobics in high school all four years and
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attended group fitness classes at East Carolina University. This may make me bias to the benefits
of group fitness but I like to see it as I can give personal experience and proof to the subject. Ive
taken a class in just about every avenue and participated in well over twenty different group
fitness activities/classes.
Vocabulary Exercise:
Self-Efficacy: The idea and expectation that ones efforts will be successful. (Maisto and Morris
Motivation/Motive: Achievement that prompts goal directed behavior (Maisto and Morris
Intrinsic Motivation: desire to perform a behavior that stems from the enjoyment derived from
the behavior itself (Maisto and Morris 261). In exercise this would be the motivation you get
from exercising because you enjoy how it makes you feel.
Extrinsic Motivation: desire to perform a behavior to obtain an external reward or avoid
punishment (Maisto and Morris 261). This would be if you keep working out with the end goal
of losing weight or getting compliments from your friends for your fit body.
Examples of Group Fitness Classes: Zumba, Cross-Fit, Step- Aerobics, Yoga, Circuit- Training,
Cycling, and Pilates just to name a few to get you in the mind set.
Literacy Review:
Choosing a Class:
Choosing an exercise class should be based on your personal interests for maximum benefit.
According to Dolans article in American College of Sports Medicine website she explains that a
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lot of people struggle with time constraints when it comes to exercise. But this problem can be
eliminated when you choose to participate in an exercise class because the majority of them only
last about 35 to 45 minutes. Dolan and Wolfe make the point that exercise classes appeal to a
diverse crowd of people because you can choose the class that best lines up with your fitness
level and future goals. Frost agrees with Dolan in stating you should, choose a group exercise
class that matches your workout personality for the greatest benefits. If you enjoy a fast paced
workout and loud motivational music you should choose a Zumba or Step Aerobics Class. If you
would rather stay calm and relaxed you may be interested in Pilates or Yoga. If your goal is
cardiovascular improvement and weight loss then dance aerobics, indoor cycling, kickboxing,
or step class are great choices for you to consider (Wolfe). You should read the descriptions of
the different classes to see which one is right for you (Schlosberg and Neporent). Some of the
classes will be more aerobic, others may be meditation and yoga, and others will be more about
strength training a weights. It is all up to your personal preference what class you are most
interested based on the outcomes you wish to achieve. Finally to find the right class you need
to look for an inspiring instructor, a feel-good vibe, a tight community and a super workout
Exercise classes are good for people with limited knowledge about fitness and working with
equipment (Dolan). Wells and Porcari agree with Dolan that it is safer to work out with a
certified professional managing your workout plan. Workout instructors must pass tests to gain
their certification to teach the classes so they prove their knowledge in the field. When you work
out alone you are more likely to hurt yourself than if you are under the supervision of a certified
instructor (Dolan). The instructors are educated on how to use equipment safely which is
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important so you can benefit from the exercises. Having a certified instructor monitor your
workout, decreases your risk of physical injury, in turn increasing your potential for success in
whatever your fitness goal happens to be (Wells and Porcari).
Social and Emotional Benefits:
The social and emotional benefits to working out in a group setting fit together, as Wagner
states; social interaction in general is good for your emotional health, so when you add it to
exercise there is a win-win outcome. When evaluating benefits of group fitness, Cheskin says,
A group approach to weight loss typically benefits everyone involved and working out with
friends provides a level of accountability, which helps you carry through on your commitment to
enhance your fitness and health. When people group together sharing the same goals they can
encourage each other in the fitness arena. Wolf agrees that by attending group classes you will be
surrounded by people with similar life styles and fitness goals thus encouraging you to make
friends. Humans thrive on social interaction and so we are more likely to have fun exercising in
a group than working out on your own (Wolf). Group fitness offers social companionship that
solo training doesnt (Wagner). Schlosberg and Neporent say an advantage socially is that, you
meet interesting people of all ages and from all walks of life whom you may not have had the
pleasure of knowing otherwise. Becoming a part of a new fitness activity is a great way to
widen your social circle and you will find you have things in common with people you may
have never realized. Frost agrees classes or working out with a partner may, serve as a
foundation for long-lasting friendships or a stronger bond with people you already know that are
going into the same group exercise situation. A lot of people these days are strapped for time, so
combining exercise and social interaction is beneficial to emotional health. Overall exercising
and socializing are both important to humans emotional health, another words group fitness is a
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way to integrate the two together. And in the busy world we live in any chance to kill two birds
with one stone is valuable.
Motivation and Commitment:
Motivation and commitment are the key factors to decide if you are going to be successful in a
workout program. If you are lacking in motivation you are not going to try very hard in class if
you even make it there. And if you are not committed you will not show up on time or you may
choose do go to the mall instead of sticking to your commitments to work out. Having a partner
can help keep you motivated and committed to your workout plans. Shawn writes about this
when she describes the accountability factor for working in groups. This means that people are
more likely to show up to work out if people are counting on you to meet them, and you are
more likely to stay committed through the workout in a class setting (Shawn). Cheskin states that
people sharing the same goals and experiences gathering together end up supporting one another
and keep each other goal driven. He includes that, working out with friends provides a level of
accountability, which helps you carry through your commitment to enhance your fitness and
health (Cheskin). As for commitment Frost says its easier to stay committed to exercise when
the class is at a certain time every day or week. Even if you are working out informally with a
friend or a group of friends, you are more likely to stay committed because they are counting on
you. Motivation is increased when working out with other people or in group fitness classes
because there is the aspect of friendly competition that comes into play (Frost). This
encourages you to keep going so you can beat your friends or the other people in the class. Frost
writes, When you feel the urge to quit, your exerscise partners provide the motivation to
continue. When you work out alone you only have intrinsic or personal motivation instead of
extrinsic too from the other people in the class. The more motivation you have when exercising
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the stronger and faster results will appear. Schlosberg and Neporent agree and go on to explain
that, sometimes the strongest motivation to stick with your workouts comes from other people.
Time goes by faster when you are taking to a friend as you exercise and if you make plans to
workout with someone instead of just yourself you have better chances at staying committed
(Schlosberg and Neporent).
Workout/Entering the Conversation:
There is an immense amount of research about how exercising in a group is beneficial to people
emotionally, socially, physically. It has also been proven working with others, humans
motivation and commitment increases on average versus working solo. However I must address
the population who may feel inferior in a large group if they are new to exercising. Some people
would rather work out alone because they feel uncomfortable because they do not know the
steps, or how to use certain equipment or they feel self-conscious about their bodies. I have
several ideas how to solve these issues so everyone feels comfortable and can reap the benefits of
working out in groups.
People who are uncomfortable in large groups could choose to work out under a personal trainer
with only one other person. You would still have an instructor to oversee your workout and keep
you as safe as possible. Plus the cost of the personal trainer can be split at most gyms which is
always positive. Some people feel self-conscious in group settings so making the group smaller
in this case would help them ease into working out with other people and build their confidence.
To avoid these issues at a gym the instructors could offer smaller classes for beginners. This
would enable people to get used to the group dynamic and they would have more one on one
instructional time with the teacher. In these small group classes the instructor can focus on the
basics of the class and work at a slower pace to include all the members. It would be easier for
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people to get to know each other in a smaller setting and to build friendships. Once they have
learned the basics and are ready to move up in the classes they will already know people in the
class. This will make them more comfortable entering a larger class.
Another idea for people who are unsure about working out in groups is to do individual activities
as a group. The instructor could hold a class where there is circuit training so there is less
organized instruction but the group elements are still present. I witnessed classes like this in high
school where people would work on their weight lifting as a class with a teacher, but on their
individual machine. You can even eliminate the parts a person is reluctant about group fitness. If
it is the loud exciting music you could direct them to a different class like Yoga. There is a class
for everyone people just do not realize the extensive choices there are. I mean the YMCA has
over thirty different choices of group exercise from cycling in the black out room, to water
aerobics in the pool, triathlon training around the track or even dancing in Zumba class in the
Multipurpose room.
Personally I enjoy working out with other people and during observing group fitness classes at
the YMCA I found that other people agree with me. When I observed the classed I saw people
encouraging each other and enjoying the music the teacher played. The social aspect of group
fitness was obvious when I was observing. People would talk to each other on the way into class
and socialize appropriately throughout class with smiles and grimaces on the hard exercises. Ive
found I workout longer when I am in a group because I do not want to be the first person to stop.
Motivation is high in a group setting and I would recommend it to anyone because it is a fun,
beneficial way to exercise and make friends at the same time.
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Everyone can find a class to get involved in depending on their interests and fitness goals. I have
recorded examples of what classes you should take depending on what you are interested in. As
for people who are not interested in group fitness for whatever reason Ive given ways they can
try it out. Making smaller beginner classes or sharing a personal trainer are two good ways to
ease people into group fitness. Through my research of the benefits to group fitness I am
confident people will enjoy working in groups if they give it a try. There is such a wide range of
classes to attend it makes it easier for everyone to be included. From people who want extreme
competition like in cycle class or Cross Fit, to people who want to work out in the dim lights and
calm environment of a Yoga class. As a global community working with other people is an
extremely important and something everyone has to learn to do in professional settings. Learning
to prosper in group settings will help you become successful in all aspects of life.
So go out to your local gyms and see what group fitness classes they offer and what class speaks
to your wants and needs. Throughout this paper I have shown all of the amazing benefits and
attractions of group fitness which completely outweigh any drawbacks. I am confident everyone
can find at least one class that will fit their workout personality and keep them committed to
Through this research paper I have explored the benefits and slight potential drawbacks to group
fitness. I found it is both socially and emotionally beneficial, important for safety, motivational
and physically beneficial. I personally love group fitness which is why I choose to observe and
research the different facets of it throughout this semester. Good luck on your exercise adventure
and focus on your goals and motivation for success!

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Works Cited
Angle, Sara. "Team and Partner Workouts Are So Trendy Right Now:" Self Content.
Self Magazine, 16 Dec. 2014. Web. 25 Feb. 2014
Cheskin, Larry, MD. "How Can Group Exercise Classes Benefit Me?" - Fitness Psychology.
N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Dolan, Shawn, Ph.D., R.D., CSSD. "Benefits of Group Exercise." ACSM | Articles. N.p., 20 Jan.
2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Frost, Shelley. "What Are the Benefits and Importance of Exercising in Groups?"
LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 20 July 2011. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
Group Fitness Instructor Manual: ACE's Guide for Fitness Professionals. San Diego, Calif:
American Council on Exercise, 2000. Print.
Hockey, Robert V. Physical Fitness: The Pathway to Healthful Living. St. Louis, MO: Mosby-
Year Book, 1993. Print.
McIntosh, Brittany C. "Observation Assignment." (15 Feb. 2014): n. pag. Print.
Morris, Charles G., and Albert A. Maisto. "Chapter 8: Motivation and Emotion." Understanding
Psychology. 10th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2008. N. pag. Print.
Schlosberg, Suzanne, and Liz Neporent. Fitness for Dummies. 4th ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley,
2011. Print.
Wagner, Gina DeMillo. "Group Effort." Experience Life. N.p., May 2011. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.
Wolfe, Lisa M. "The Advantages of Group Exercise Classes." LIVESTRONG.COM.
LIVESTRONG.COM, 07 Feb. 2012. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.