Gym based Classes, do they actually do more damage than they do good?
What probably came to mind when I said ‘gym based classes’ was jumping around, getting hot and sweaty... a variation of High intensity interval training (HIIT).
They’ve become increasingly popular in these past couple of years and portrayed as this magical ticket to transforming the body for those who are short on time.
Gyms the world over incorporating different concepts, practices and equipment in their studios to make their classes seem more edgy and appealing to prospective members.
But are these classes actually beneficial for us?
Thinking objectively, why do we exercise?
To improve our health.
Now dependant on the person, improving our health can mean one of many things; a mental release, losing fat, increasing strength, improve the efficiency of the cardiovascular system, increase mobility and flexibility… you get my point.
Fundamentally we head to the gym to become a better functioning human!
Unfortunately, I regularly have consultations with individuals due to them being injured and needing someone to fix them... and a lot of the time, what is their exercise history? Classes.
Now, I don’t want this to seem like I’m bashing classes, far from it, because classes do have a hugely beneficial proponent to them... the average class is going to raise the heart rate so that any participant will benefit from improved cardiovascular function. They will no doubt benefit from the emotional release that intense exercise brings, as well as the social aspect of working as a group. And for a gym novice, they are undoubtedly going to work harder in this class than they would on their own.
BUT... The huge problem I have with every single class, wherever you are in the world is this... there is not a single person out there that is the exact same, with the same needs and requirements as you!
A class instructor is in front of a group of people who in all likelihood are a bit unsure of what to do within the weights section/the gym in general, due to a lack of knowledge which has lead to a lack of confidence.
The lack of knowledge and confidence which has built up over time because they just haven't spent the time to get to know their own body... know their strengths... know their weaknesses. Weaknesses that should be addressed and improved upon through a specific training program designed to balance out their body! So they head to see mr enthusiastic gym guy in his tight shorts for a beasting!
SO... the average class is asking extremely demanding things of body's/minds which are untrained and potentially incapable of handling the load/pounding of HIIT.
It's like putting a Smart car in to a Formula 1 race... yeah... a recipe for disaster.
Exercise is a result of brain signals being sent to our muscle fibres which then allow movement... if we are taught how to send stronger signals and then we repeat this again and again, we become a lot more efficient at moving. When we become more efficient, we move better, we become more mobile, we become stronger and in time, our muscle mass will increase.
This is why structured resistance training is promoted by myself to the high heavens, and I will continue to do so again and again and again.
We have untrained individuals, who haven't spent time working on these brain signals, learning how to contract muscles properly and how to move more efficiently, doing ridiculously demanding, high impact movements which just isn't going facilitate long term development.
So what happens... these body's break! Again and again!
So yes, in the short term, these gym classes may be beneficial...
- you burn calories which if you maintain a calorie deficit will allow you to drop body fat.
- you benefit from the endorphin rush (the exercise high) of hard and intense exercise leaving you feeling great as you walk out of the door.
- you get the social benefit of having worked as a group to achieve one goal.
BUT... unfortunately in all of my experience from my time in the industry.... it's a ticking time bomb until the untrained body just cannot cope with the CRASH, BANG, WHALLOP of HIIT any longer. The relentless impact on the joints and the lack of any real pre or post class preparation and mobility work leads to the body breaking! Then you're forced to take an extended time off away from the gym because you aren't sure what to do in the gym without classes.
2 months of hard work followed by 6 weeks of visiting different specialists and watching the scales gradually tick up and up as you aren't really sure how to move. It is unfortunately a vicious cycle, which I encounter A LOT.
Take a step back... why do you do it? Exercising really hard for 1, 2, possibly 6 if you're lucky, months followed by time away due to injury ISN'T you improving your health!
Start thinking long term! What is really going to benefit your mind and body 5, 10, 20 years from now?
Take the time and develop the interest in learning about your body. Learn about the how's, the what's and the why's of movement! How to contract muscles to initiate bigger, more powerful movements.
Then, once you've got a really solid foundation and understanding of your body and how it should move, maybe take a step back in to a class... but to be honest, once you've reached this stage, you likely won't ever go back!!!
And this is exactly why I created all of my transformation eBooks! To give EVERYONE the confidence to develop, learn and train by themselves in any gym, anywhere in the world and really achieve!
Go pick up yours now 👉 CLICK HERE 👈
Yours in health