The Group Thing
I hate group fitness.
I said it.
I can breathe my own air, which has not been combined with anyone else’s air, or sweat, or bad vibes or grunting, or sneezing, etc.
No, I’m not a grump. If you know me, you know I’m quite the opposite. No, I’m not antisocial: I actually love my friends and have an extremely social job. I just hate group fitness and I’m finally ready to admit it. I came to this realization while testing out a gym with an open environment where the classes and training are all set up for small groups of 8 or fewer. It was eye-opening. It was the opposite of motivating. I kind of wanted to punch more than just the heavy bag and when we had to high-five each other at the end? All I wanted to do was run down the line with a face slap for each and every person there. It’s not them, it’s me. It’s 100% not personal, except that it is.
My workouts and my fitness are 100% personal to me and no matter how many trainers tell me that a team atmosphere is SO FUN, I don’t find it to be and I’m ok with that. I find groups distracting and I lose focus very quickly. Case in point: I LOVE Zumba and Body Jam. I dance (really well) all the time but I need extra concentration to pick up choreography. If there’s even one person who’s rhythm is off (including the instructor), then I’m thrown off the entire time. Strength workouts are the same. The last thing I want to do during a deadlift is lose focus with 300 lbs in my hands. The other thing I’d rather not do? Have someone keep pace with me when I know they want to go faster, heavier, lighter, slower…
I never played on any sports teams as a kid, so I didn’t socialize around play in that way. My best physical education grades in high school? Archery. Yep. Archery. As in just me, the bow, the arrow, and the target. As an adult, I’ve done personal training with one partner and even that was very specific — my partner was a good friend and when she moved away I tried another partner but it just wasn’t the same. It was this friend who had told me she preferred practicing yoga on her own. I was surprised because it never occurred to me that a solo practice could be so different. Then it clicked for me — you set your own pace, your own environment, your own intentions, and create exactly what you want. What works for me now is to focus on myself, so mostly that means that I mean mug in the weight area and wear huge noise cancelling headphones. If you see me, wave and just know that if I don’t wave back that it’s me (and my time and my workout and my personal space) and not you. It’s not personal (unless it is). Otherwise, I may see you in Zumba class and I’ll be the one having my own personal JLo music video moment in the mirror.