When I go to the gym, the majority of my work-outs are Group Ex classes. For those who don’t know, Goodlife offers Les Mills group exercise classes at all gyms, at various times during the days. Aside from learning basic things like how to do a plank, how to do mountain climbers properly or how to endure 60 minutes of sweating, there are “soft skills” that Group Ex has given me. They are listed below in no particular order:
1) How to work in a group – this one should be something I learned in elementary school, but I always avoided groups and I abhor group work in university. However, when doing a group class, you end up working together with the people around you. In BodyCombat, you do alot of moving around and shuffling to the right or left. You have to move together with the people next to you or you end up hitting each other (I’ve been kicked in the face before, it hurts!). You end up being able to work together with the ones around you.
2) How to follow directions exactly – when you do a group ex class, the movements are constantly changing. You either 1) memorize the track or 2) listen to the directions the instructor is giving you while you’re moving. It’s surprisingly hard to follow what the instructor is saying while you’re doing a high knee run or a walking plank, etc. You get really good at listening while doing something else. It increases your abilities to multitask (listening, doing, and wishing it was over).
3) Awesome time management – if you go to the gym to do activities like weight-lifting, running on the treadmill, etc., you are only bound to working out during the hours the gym is open. When you do group ex, you have to be there during the time the class runs. So, if you get off work at 5pm, and want to go to a 5pm class, you can’t. Instead, you have to make a work-out schedule that can suit your life. I’ve gotten really good at making a work-out schedule around the group ex class schedule at several gyms, and ensure I do a variety of classes. This sort of leads into my next point…
4) Respect for other people’s time – the instructor shows up on time, YOU show up on time. You don’t arrive a few minutes late and sneak into the back of the class and make people nearby move around to accomodate you. No, you respect the instructor’s time and you make it there when you’re suppose to. It’s actually a pet peeve of mine for people who continually arrive late at classes that are already a bit crowded.
5) How to connect with total strangers – I’m not the most social person, but at the gym I find it’s so easy to connect with the people in my class. I have several friends in every class (I couldn’t tell you half of their names) and it makes it feel like a more close-knit class. The people I connect with are of all ages (anywhere from teen to 60s), and various races and languages (most of them have poor English skills). It makes the class more social and more fun with you can connect with those around you.
6) How to inspire others – this seems a little self-indulging, but I always have newbies coming up to me and telling me how awesome it was that I helped and encouraged them through the class for the first time. Since I’m a bigger girl (well, a size 12), it seems that people are more comfortable asking me something rather than asking the skinny, Lululemon wearing girl. I’m okay with that 🙂
7) Speak in front of groups – I hated speaking in front of groups or others, but now it doesn’t bother me. I have no problems being front and centre in a class. I have no problems speaking in front of them if a question is asked. I am less shy in general, and that has been carried to other areas of my life. Public speaking doesn’t scare me anymore.
Group Ex isn’t for everyone, and for the first year I was a member, I avoided most of the classes. I was shy and thought others would judge me, but that was an unfounded fear. I’ve increased endurance and have become more outgoing and confident. Annnnnd have lost weight on the way 🙂