Are you spending a lot of time in group exercise classes but still struggling to see results? It could be your fitness instructor's fault!
If you're a beginner who doesn't know how to use the machines at the gym (or sort of know, but aren't really a fan of lying in a pool of someone else's sweat), you likely assume that there is a huge gap between what you know and what's going on in the group exercise room next door. Attending fitness classes taught by certified professionals probably seems like the best way to get results when you're starting a fitness routine. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.
While certified fitness instructors know more than true beginners, many don't design their classes using this knowledge. Why would they do that? As a certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer who has taught at facilities across the country, I can tell you that it all comes down to numbers.
In most gyms you can't keep your class if your participation numbers aren't consistently high. Instructors whose routines don't stand up to popular fitness knowledge aren't very popular with participants, and sooner or later they aren't teaching their classes.
Is your fitness instructor preventing you from seeing results by giving into participant pressure? Find out with my list of five signs that your fit class is aimed at pleasing participants instead of being based on current fitness facts:
1.) Your group fitness studio's weight selection is limited to dumbbells weighing less than 10 pounds.
Your purse weighs more than that 2.5-pound dumbbell that you use for ALL of the exercises in your fitness class. This means that shopping is more strenuous than your fitness class right now. Exciting? Maybe. Helping you reach your goals? Not so much!
2.) The instructor often shouts out "just another 25 repetitions to go" or "we'll do this move for five more minutes."
A strength training routine that helps you tone up will have you stopping at 10-12 repetitions because you've selected a weight that requires you to take a break at that point. Anything that doesn't meet that criteria isn't challenging your muscles. And no, you're NOT going to bulk up! Remember, your purse and most babies weight a lot more than that 2.5-pound dumbbell that you can lift indefinitely. Ditch it and get those results you're after!
3.) Your strength class only focuses on common "trouble areas" -- triceps, booty, and abs trump all other muscle groups.
Just as you didn't and can't select how your body distributes fat, you can't get rid of fat in a trouble area by only working that area. Your routine should include exercises for all of your muscles so they are all helping you burn more calories after your workout. Exercises that work major muscle groups are a must (a good reason to add in push-ups, which use your core and tone your triceps in addition to your chest and shoulders) for targeting any and all trouble spots.
4.) Push-ups are reserved for the end of class.
Push-ups (and any exercise that targets a larger muscle group) should be completed at the start of your routine. Otherwise, your form will be less than stellar. Even worse for your weight loss goals, you won't get the maximum post exercise calorie burning benefits that working a larger muscle group, like your chest, will give you. Put push-ups first and you're a lot more likely to enjoy them and get better results and a more toned body overall!
5.) 90 percent of your ab work is some type of crunch.
The crunch is just not a very effective exercise. It's popular in fitness classes but not the most efficient way to tone your tummy. Add in planks and planks with movement to tone your abs and keep only dynamic crunches like the bicycle crunch, which activates your abs more than twice as much as its basic brother.
Now that you know why your group exercise class might be the reason you aren't seeing results, what can you do?
First, ask your fitness instructor if he or she can make some changes based on the latest and greatest research. They've probably been dying to share their actual expertise. Once your instructor knows that their participants want to change with the times, they will likely jump at the opportunity to update their classes. Help your instructor out by supporting them as they make changes and staying positive even if you hear other participants complain.
Feeling more daring? Talk to your gym's manager. Believe it or not, most fitness center directors only attend instructor classes once -- during an instructor's audition! Ask your gym's owner if they can bring in instructors who implement updated fitness knowledge or have their current instructors held to higher standards. Suggest that current instructors take time to explain to their classes why things are changing so both participation and participant results are high.
Do you have a fitness instructor who is guilty of giving into participant pressure? What's the craziest thing you've seen in a fitness class? I'd love to know and I'd love to hear how you're going to take action this week to demand a group exercise class that gets you results. Tell me your plan by leaving a comment below.