How to Start Your Own Fitness Group
By Tim Olszewski, MS RD LDN
Ask anyone who has successfully lost weight, a healthy lifestyle is easier to achieve and maintain when you’ve got support. This is simply because many people struggle with motivating themselves to exercise. Some commercial gyms and health clubs offer group classes, such as Zumba and Pilates, but often times, individuals who work out alone find it difficult to self-start. One of the easiest ways to stoke the motivational fire for exercise is to create a fitness group.
If we can successfully use the group support concept with book-lover’s clubs and art appreciation clubs, why can’t we create a support group for those who want to lose weight? The group can consist of people with like-minded fitness habits, similar activities and lifestyles, or those with a passion for competition.
There are many ways to form a fitness group, whether it happens by teaming up with friends, spreading the news by word-of-mouth, gauging interest at support groups, or finding members on social media platforms. Even if you don’t plan on getting your exercise with others in person, online support and general interest groups have their positive benefits and can help you remain accountable for getting your workouts in.
If you do plan on forming a group, it is important to have a set schedule of times and places you will meet, what days of the week you plan on exercising, and specifying the nature of exercise you are planning. Some people enjoy walking and running groups to keep them motivated, but others may find it more enjoyable to vary their type of exercise. One example of this may be a group that walks on Mondays, plays ultimate Frisbee on Wednesdays, rides bikes on Fridays, and does yoga on Saturdays. The type of exercise can be set or flexible, depending on the group’s opinion and interests.
When starting or joining an exercise group, it is important to keep personal and group fitness goals in mind. Your goal may be related to weight loss, weight maintenance, duration or frequency of exercise. Having a set goal for yourself and group members is a good way to measure the effectiveness and impact of your team.