I think many people looking to improve fitness, lose weight, get healthier etc. end up considering the group class model. This can be compared to or considered along with the personal training/coaching model.
With the rise of CrossFit the group model has never been more popular.
Many people do well in the group setting and experience lasting change and an overall positive effect on their lives.
MANY do not.
I’m gonna tell you something that no one in the “biz” talks about online.
Lots and lots and lots of people have been sold a group membership that should have never set foot in a class experience.
We have done this at our gym! I beg forgiveness for this one and plead ignorance on many occasions. It has taken years for me to reflect on the casualties. All you ever hear about are the success stories right ;).
But I get it. Being a business owner I sympathize – the client will only tolerate the “cheapest” option and you have to put food on the table.
The $75/month spent at Starbucks on drinks that are exacerbating the situation, the $125/month spent on alcohol and the TRUE COST of THOSE things never gets flushed out or broached. No one wants to say it and no one wants to hear it.
I sympathize from the client’s perspective as well. All too often they are not leveled with about what it’s really going to take to affect long term meaningful change and there is no assessment or discussion of their individual needs and circumstance. Some people have VERY unique circumstances and requirements. And some people just don’t do well socially/mentally in a group.
There’s no mention of the inherent limitations of a one size fits all solution.
“Just wear this heart monitor and do this and keep your heart rate in this range and that will be the answer!”.
“Just do this workout on the board, hit it as hard as you can, if you can’t do the group weight just go lighter, and that will deliver you elite fitness!”
I’m sorry but it’s bullshit. And it’s going to let a LOT of people down.
It’s really tough to figure out. I know.
Unfortunately there is no such thing as one size fits all. For many it’s a disservice to be enrolled into that model, even negligent in some instances.
There are lots of reasons this ends up happening. Many facilities don’t have the competency to deliver anything more. Many clients are not interested in real change and the education, focus and commitment necessary to create that. Pills, gimmicks and simple, quick one size fits all solutions are far more palatable for the masses.
Ultimately you have to let people choose for themselves. I have done many a consultation where I’ve advocated a personal 1 on 1 coaching/mentoring experience only to have the client choose the group. Often this decision revolves around price.
And you know what? Sometimes they do well and rise to the setting. And you know what else? Lots of times we lose them. There I confessed.
Often times they will have paid hundreds and hundreds for months of training that they NEVER ATTEND. It drives me nuts and also makes me sad. Like we have failed them.
And so they move on to yoga perhaps or Zumba or something their friend’s friend is raving about and begin the cycle anew.
I will toot our own horn and say that you would be hard pressed to find a gym that delivers better more individualized and accommodating group programming and execution than us.
But so many folks need more: a strong one on one coaching relationship, proper assessment and the individualized program design that goes with that, an intimate understanding of their life and circumstances, comprehensive help and guidance with nutrition and lifestyle. Personal accountability!
So for all of you out there considering the options, consider carefully! Ask a ton of questions. Can you see how the question “how much is it?” contains the LEAST amount of information? (yes I understand this information needs to be disclosed) Engage. Flush out the competency of the person or facility you are considering. Are there options or is it a one “workout” fits all or “just go lighter then” type of deal. Be wary. Inquire about the pros and cons of the group and the possible value of other alternatives. Have your prospective providers worked with someone in YOUR situation before? What was their method and approach?
If someone can’t speak with you frankly and intelligently about this stuff it’s a BIG RED FLAG!
And if the group setting ends up being your cup of tea…AWESOME! Go forward and thrive. It can be a ton of fun.
If not, make sure and ask yourself some hard questions about the value of things, about the value of yourself and perhaps…how best to move towards ending the cycle of starting and stopping and starting something else and stopping and starting…