I know what you're thinking. Yes, your workout can be the perfect "check out" time. That daily run or lifting session in the gym is your chance to pop your headphones in and block the world out. Believe me, I get it. As a mom, escaping the noise and needs for even 20 minutes can make for a much-needed recharge. Some days, my workouts are not just improving my fitness, they are preserving my children's lives. Except, where results are concerned, research suggests working out in a group can help you better achieve your fitness goals.
I've witnessed it, time and time again. Sharing a workout is very powerful. Maybe it's the smell of sweat in the air. Maybe it's a little friendly competition. Maybe it's seeing you're not the only one who has to wear a sports bra under your sports bra these days (thanks babies, for all the breastfeeding memories...) In my work at Belly Bootcamp I've seen firsthand, in the nearly 1,000 classes we hold each year, the effects that group fitness can have on morale, body confidence, and fitness level!
That's why I’m so thrilled to announce I've signed on as one of the trainers for Kick It Up for Kidney Cancer, Canada’s only boot camp fundraising event. The only thing better than getting fit while you socialize is getting fit while you socialize AND raise money for a great cause! At Kick It Up For Kidney Cancer, I will scream at inspire you alongside two of Toronto's top trainers, Michael DeCorte of Jock Yoga, and Brent Bishop of Think Fitness. Between the three of us, we've got a style to match everyone whether you prefer a zen yoga burn, partner exercises, functional moves, or old school bootcamp faves like pushups and lunges! Kick It Up is so unique because it really has something for everyone; it brings together everyone from gym newbies to fitness fanatics to celebrate kidney cancer survivors and support those still battling the disease. Kick It Up For Kidney Cancer is in its 3rd amazing year, and I’ve heard so many great things that I just can’t wait to be a part of this special day. I know how good it will be for both my body and my soul.
Keep reading! We have a FAB ($700 value) Kick It Up Giveaway at the end of this post...
With 200 plus people expected to join and train together as teams - forming one MEGA team when we all come together on the big day -- Kick It Up has me thinking about all the benefits that a little positive peer pressure can have on your fitness goals.
Here are the top 4 benefits to group fitness:
Friends can be coaches, teammates or cheerleaders. Dr. Michelle Maidenberg of Westchester Group Works says that the right workout friends can dramatically improve your fitness success. She urges us to think of our fitness buddies as coaches, teammates or cheerleaders. "A buddy can motivate you to do one more set, continue when you feel like you have just had enough and want to give up, or when you are feeling hopeless,” says Maidenberg. I've seen this in action time and time again, especially during group drills or partner activities. Really, it's amazing what you will do so as not to let your buddy down. A friend or workout partner's influence can truly help you bust through a plateau or attempt something you have a mental block around, or believe you are incapable of. The mind is powerful, and it is social.
Friends keep you and your workout routine in check. As moms, we have a hundred items on our to-do lists every day. Dinner needs cooking. The kids have to be picked up at soccer practice. That Netflix playlist won't watch itself! It’s easy to give these excuses to yourself but harder to say them out loud and expect others to buy in. After all, do you really think you're THAT much busier than everyone else? Dr. Gail Matthews of the Dominican University of California attributes this difficulty to the psychology of accountability. Dr. Matthews found that people who shared their goals with a friend were 33% more likely to accomplish their goals than those who simply set them. When you tell your friends at Zumba you’ll be at the class every Tuesday, you become accountable to them and feel a greater responsibility to show up than if you only made that promise to yourself.
Trying New Things
Kick your fitness up a notch with a new partner or group challenge -- something just like Kick It Up
can create purpose for your workouts, give you a timeline to look forward to and inspire you to add some variety to your routine. Change is good, especially when it comes to your workout. Alternating different types of physical activity can save you from boredom, keep your body from getting too used to an exercise (thereby burning fewer calories), and help you avoid overuse injuries. That same old 5K run and set of crunches you've been doing since university is not the key to a lifetime of fitness...sorry to break it to you. Group fitness activities are a great way to try something new, and bootcamps are one of the most popular group fitness options today. A "bootcamp" doesn't have to involve megaphones and army fatigues. It should have a qualified trainer, a variety of strength training and cardio intervals, and "scaleable" exercises that every body type and size can do to their best potential.
Unlike most charity races, you don't have to be a "runner" or a "cyclist to join me at Kick It Up For Kidney Cancer - it’s a great goal for a group of friends to work towards. Your training could involve doing your own workout together at the gym or checking out a new yoga studio in your neighbourhood. Even climbing around the playground with your kids and doing a few pushups on the bench at your next park playdate can be a fun and friendly way to train for Kick It Up. Then on June 7 you get to sweat it out, have fun with a crowd and raise money for a great cause. You'll be fitter, you'll be motivated, and you'll be giving back.
OH – and did I mention the International Artist and Canada’s Queen of R&B Jully Black will be there for a butt-kicking with us?
Sense of Community
Apart from getting to try something new and getting a good sweat out of it, group fitness activities are prime venues for making new friends. Some might find the idea of group activities intimidating. What if everyone does so much better? Will I look out of place? We hear these questions all the time at Belly Bootcamp from new clients, and we offer a free trial class for just this reason -- so mommies can come and see they are very much in the same boat. Everyone's baby cries, everyone hasn't worked out in a while, and everyone makes funny faces when they do shoulder exercises. Soon, they are lingering after class to have lunch with their little ones or arriving early just to chat and exchange phone numbers. So, throw those fears away. Joining group fitness classes allows you to become part of a community with a common goal: get fit and stay healthy. Meeting new people can be tough on the nerves, but without meeting new people, you'd never MEET NEW PEOPLE. Get out there and enrich your life and your social circle.
So if your workout needs a boost and a little (or a lot!) of company, grab a couple of friends and sign up for Kick It Up! You can create your own team or you can join mine by signing up as an individual participant and searching for the Belly Bootcamp team. Hope to see you there!
* GIVEAWAY! *
Kick off your spring fitness routine and get ready for Kick It Up for Kidney Cancer with this amazing prize pack (valued at more than $700)
- a Herschel backpack
- a resistance band to help train for Kick It Up
- a Kick it Up for Kidney Cancer branded sweat towel
- free registration to Kick It Up for Kidney Cancer
- 5 private bootcamp classes for you and up to 10 friends with a Belly Bootcamp trainer in your fave local park (Toronto only)
Here's how you can enter to win: SIMPLY comment below this post with your favourite bootcamp move!
You have until 11:59 p.m., E.S.T., Wednesday, May 13, 2015 to enter. You must be a YMC member and please be sure you've registered your email address in our commenting system so we can contact you if you win.
Yummy Rules and Regs: You must be a YummyMummyClub.ca member to win. Click to sign up!
It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries accepted until 11:59 p.m., E.S.T., Wednesday, May 13, 2015. Contest open to Canadian residents (excluding Quebec). Bootcamp prize and KIU registration prize only redeemable in Toronto. Winners will be picked using www.random.org. See full contest rules.
Good luck! See you at Kick It Up!